One of the biggest issues with meteorology and weather forecasting is the lack of information. It seems like you have be bombarded with weather on the 8s or storm updates, and that is certainly true, there simply isn’t enough tangible information for meteorologists the world over.
The information shortage doesn’t come from meteorologists to consumer, but rather in what is taken in through observations. There are vast tracts of the western United States where there simply aren’t any observation points, and the weather and model guidance has a big empty, which looms larger as forecasts are cobbled together.
Now take those issues in the United States and extrapolate those in other places, particularly well populated (though more diffusely so) places like Africa or Asia, where there are many people with many weather dependent industries (agriculture in particular) that have much fewer observations, and as a result, less model or forecast reliability.
IBM is creating software to turn smartphones into their own observation points, specifically calculating barometric pressure innately. It will help not only get a picture of the current weather, but also twill provide needed intake guidance for modeling, which IBM, in conjunction with UCAR, will also undertake.
This will provide a challenge to the more traditional model system, in which models are run by intergovernmental services, but the scope and recent advances in computing power by IBM give this new initiative promise. The association with UCAR is encouraging as well, because it will have a good basis in science.
The increased technological reach is now going to be thoughtfully leveraged by a non-atmospheric science entity. It’s definitely a positive look towards the future, when environmental concerns will likely need technological solutions.