The Weather Company, an IBM Business collaborated Thursday with air quality sensor manufacturer PurpleAir to expand the availability of hyperlocal air quality and pollution data for the general public. As a result of this agreement, owners of PurpleAir devices now have the ability to contribute data from their units to Weather Underground, a consumer division of The Weather Company, which will display sensor readings and maps on its website to provide one of the most granular pictures available of air pollution within the United States.
Through this alliance with PurpleAir, millions will gain access to local air pollution data within cities and neighborhoods via the Weather Underground website.
According to the World Health Organization, exposure to outdoor air pollution has been linked to roughly three million deaths a year worldwide. Because air pollution is not an immediate, high-profile disaster like a tornado or hurricane, many people don’t realize its effects.
As federal funding for environmental monitoring and reporting diminishes, individuals and organizations are looking to the private sector to provide accurate, reliable air quality data. As part of its dedication to climate science, Weather Underground is expanding its environmental sensor network to help fill in those data gaps.
With over 250,000 personal weather stations across the world, Weather Underground is able to provide millions of people with real-time weather data. In an effort to provide the public with localized air quality information, Weather Underground will add PurpleAir sensors to its network and offer the data on its website, wunderground.com. Weather Underground is a global community of people connecting data from environmental sensors like weather stations and air quality monitors to provide rich, hyperlocal data. The future of weather is personal, hyperlocal, and smarter than one can imagine.
“We’re incredibly excited to work with PurpleAir to provide the public with free access to reliable air quality data,” said Kourosh Karimkhany, head of Weather Underground. “Knowing the level of air quality in their city or neighborhood enables people to make more informed decisions about daily activities that may directly impact their health and well-being.”
The Weather Company also recently announced a plan to help improve weather prediction globally via a new collaboration with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), a federally funded research and development center for the atmosphere and Earth’s geospace systems.
The alliance will aim to develop models that will run on next-generation IBM supercomputing technology by bringing together meteorological science from The Weather Company, high performance computing expertise from IBM Research, OpenPOWER-based supercomputing systems, and NCAR’s community weather model. This effort will also capitalize on advanced science and technology to work towards the creation of the first rapidly-updating, storm-scale model that can help predict weather events at local scales.
Existing operational global forecast models predict weather patterns down to regional-scale weather events, such as snowstorms and hurricanes. The new model could improve weather and climate forecasting by better accounting for the small-scale phenomena, such as thunderstorms, that can impact the weather.