Network of Autonomous Weather Drones to be Deployed in Norway

Working with the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE), Meteomatics will install 30 of its autonomous weather drones, or "Meteodrones," across Norway to forecast weather accurately By Joe Macey / 05 Jun 2024
Autonomous Weather Drones to be Installed Across Norway
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Weather intelligence and technology company Meteomatics has collaborated with the Norwegian Research Centre (NORCE) to install autonomous weather drones across the country.

Through the multi-million euro project, Meteomatics will deploy 30 of its “Meteodrones” across Norway as part of the country’s work to future-proof itself against challenges to its economy, people, and infrastructure.

Severe weather conditions around the world are significantly impacting economies, infrastructure, and public safety. In Scandinavia, in particular, strong winter snowfall and storms, heavy rainfall and flooding, and summer forest fires increasingly impact everyday life and the economy. These extreme weather events are only becoming stronger and more frequent across the world. 

To forecast the weather in Norway more accurately, Meteomatics, in cooperation with NORCE, will install 30 of its weather drones, also known as Meteodrones, and their accompanying Meteobases, which enable autonomous flights. 

Meteomatics’ autonomous flight system can fly 6,100 meters (20,000 feet) above the Earth’s surface, enabling it to close a significant meteorological data gap in the lower and mid atmosphere–regions not regularly or accurately observed by traditional weather sensing technology and radar. 

The Meteobases, which will store and launch the drones, will be installed this summer. A team of experts is currently evaluating meteorologically significant locations where the Meteodrones will have optimal access to aspects of weather modeling. The project is expected to be fully implemented and operational by the end of 2025.

Weather models have long been limited by insufficient observations from the atmospheric boundary layer, hindering accurate predictions of local weather phenomena, such as heavy rain, snow formation, or thunderstorms. The only technology currently used for weather data from the lower and middle atmosphere are radiosondes on weather balloons. Because these single-use devices are dependent on the availability of Helium for the balloon, radiosondes are very expensive and unsustainable.

Meteomatics’ Meteodrones overcome the challenges of radiosondes. Meteodrones can carry out several measurement flights in longer time periods, allowing for more extensive data collection compared to radiosondes. While radiosondes are typically used only two times a day, Meteodrones can fly every 30 minutes to collect atmospheric data.

Meteodrones can capture high-resolution, direct measurements of critical meteorological elements such as temperature, humidity, air pressure, and wind speed. The Meteodrone data is injected into EURO1k, the European high-resolution weather model, exclusively developed by Meteomatics. EURO1k is the only model to cover Europe, large parts of the East, and parts of North Africa at a resolution of 1 kilometer and update every hour.

With this project, weather forecasts will become much more accurate in Norway, benefiting the economy and society. Renewable energy, which depends heavily on the weather, becomes more manageable and thus more cost-effective when weather is accurately predicted. Further, increasing its production will help the country meet net-zero emissions goals. Logistics on sea and land also become safer and more efficient when it’s possible to predict weather conditions, moment by moment. Improved weather forecasts also have local and national implications for agriculture, insurance, and emergency services.

The additional stream of weather data delivered by the Meteodrones will help the country to understand the formation of severe weather events. 

Camilla Stoltenberg, CEO of NORCE, said; “NORCE will conduct scientific research to validate the EURO1K forecasts and compare their accuracy with other weather forecasts used by the Norwegian Army for tactical decision-making. Meteomatics shows great confidence by allowing us to validate and share the performance of their weather forecasts. This demonstrates that independent scientific research can significantly contribute to the successful transfer of such technology to Norway.” 

Martin Fengler, CEO and Founder of Meteomatics, added; “We are honored to play a part in Norway’s forward-looking initiative to prepare itself for weather-related challenges. Our 30 Meteodrones and Meteobases will significantly improve the data basis for accurate weather forecasts across the entire country. The technology readiness of our Meteodrones has already been demonstrated in several countries, and we’re excited to see our Meteodrones take flight in Norway.”

Meteomatics’ Meteodrones are already operational and contribute to improved weather forecasting in several countries, including Switzerland, France, Italy, and the United States.

Posted by Joe Macey Connect & Contact