Select your localized edition:

Close ×

More Ways to Connect

Discover one of our 28 local entrepreneurial communities »

Be the first to know as we launch in new countries and markets around the globe.

Interested in bringing MIT Technology Review to your local market?

MIT Technology ReviewMIT Technology Review - logo

 

Unsupported browser: Your browser does not meet modern web standards. See how it scores »

{ action.text }

Calmer Skies

In-flight turbulence is hard to predict and the leading cause of injuries on airplanes. Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, CO, have developed software to improve turbulence prediction. When flying through storms, pilots use onboard Doppler radars to scout for drier areas, assuming that these will be calmer. But turbulence can still strike. Algorithms in the new software reduce noise in the radar data; warning algorithms then analyze the data to find the amount of movement in the tiny bits of water and ice found even in “dry” areas. The wider the spectrum of velocities among the droplets, the more likely an encounter with turbulence. In flights on a NASA test plane, the software detected about 80 percent of turbulence with at least a minute’s warning-enough time to seat passengers and flight attendants and clear aisles.

0 comments about this story. Start the discussion »

Tagged: Computing

Reprints and Permissions | Send feedback to the editor

From the Archives

Close

Introducing MIT Technology Review Insider.

Already a Magazine subscriber?

You're automatically an Insider. It's easy to activate or upgrade your account.

Activate Your Account

Become an Insider

It's the new way to subscribe. Get even more of the tech news, research, and discoveries you crave.

Sign Up

Learn More

Find out why MIT Technology Review Insider is for you and explore your options.

Show Me