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Weather

Less than four months after lift-off, testing on NASA's Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory is complete, and science operations have begun. The data recorded by the mission, which will give rise to more accurate weather forecasting, will now be subject to a year of validation against existing measurements.

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Great news if you're planning a visit to exoplanets Kepler-7b or HAT-P-7b. An international team of astrophysicists has identified daily weather cycles using Kepler telescope data on these and four other far off worlds. The nightly news isn't about to start reading extrasolar weather reports, but this new knowledge will help improve our understanding of the Earth's place in the cosmic puzzle.

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The European Space Agency's Aeolus mission, designed to study the world's winds, is on track for a 2016 take-off. Following a troubled development process, the two lasers central to the project are now complete, allowing the team to ramp up testing ahead of launch. Read More

If you see a tornado in Tulsa, Oklahoma, you'll want to find shelter pretty quickly. In a considerable display of chutzpah, local firm Kinslow, Keith & Todd (KKT) has unveiled a plan to build a novel tornado-shaped tower in its home city that includes a revolving restaurant and weather research station. Read More

A US Air Force weather satellite exploded in Earth orbit on February 3, scattering debris along its path. In a report by Space.com, Air Force and space officials indicated the breakup of Defense Meteorological Satellite Program Flight 13 (DMSP-F13) was due to a malfunction of its battery system rather than a collision with a foreign body. Meanwhile, The European Space Agency (ESA) has released an assessment of the hazard posed by the debris. Read More
MIT researchers have developed a method of analyzing data from NASA's Keplar space observatory, that allows for the detection of clouds present in the atmosphere of distant exoplanets. Whilst such work may seem like blue sky science, the research has potentially profound implications for determining the habitability of distant worlds. Read More
Even the most dedicated bicycle commuter could be forgiven for taking a look at the weather outside every now and then, and deciding to drive the car to work instead. LeafxPro aims to cater for such occasions with what's most easily described as an umbrella for your bike. Read More
Weather forecasting is a notoriously inexact science. According to San Francisco-based tech startup Spire, this is partially because there are currently less than 20 satellites responsible for gathering all of the world's weather data – what's more, some of the older ones are using outdated technology. Spire's solution? Establish a linked network of over 100 shoebox-sized CubeSats, that will use GPS technology to gather 100 times the amount of weather data than is currently possible. The first 20 of those satellites are scheduled to launch later this year. Read More

There have been several attempts to improve upon the basic umbrella in recent years – the Rain Shield, which offers shelter from the wind; the Air umbrella, which uses a fan to stop the rain; and Nubrella, which is worn like a space helmet. Now, we have the smartphone-connected Kisha. Read More

NASA has announced that it is going forward with its Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON). Scheduled to launch in 2017, the orbital mission aims to study the effects of the lower atmosphere on the ionosphere and its impact on the Earth’s surface. Read More
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