They help us stay connected, but could your smartphone also help weather forecasters predict a coming storm?
New research suggests that cell phones carried around in pockets and purses could be used by meteorologists to improve weather forecasts.
“We could potentially have 100 or 1,000 times more surface reports than we’re getting today,” said Cliff Mass, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Washington in Seattle.
Seismologists often describe the San Francisco Bay Area’s Hayward fault zone as a “tectonic time bomb.” Among the most dangerous faults in the country, it is expected to produce at least a 6.7 magnitude earthquake within the next 30 years.
The last major quake on the fault occurred in 1868 and devastated the region at a time when it was sparsely populated. Now, more than 2 million people live on or near the approximately 45-mile fault.
Given the potential doomsday scenario, you might be surprised to learn that earthquake scientists don’t quite know what to expect when the next Big One strikes.