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Conor McNicholas and Clifford F. Mass


Over half a billion smartphones worldwide are now capable of measuring atmospheric pressure, providing a pressure network of unprecedented density and coverage. This paper describes novel approaches for the collection, quality control, and bias correction of such smartphone pressures. An Android app was developed and distributed to several thousand users, serving as a test bed for onboard pressure collection and quality-control strategies. New methods of pressure collection were evaluated, with a focus on reducing and quantifying sources of observation error and uncertainty. Using a machine learning approach, complex relationships between pressure bias and ancillary sensor data were used to predict and correct future pressure biases over a 4-week period from 10 November to 5 December 2016. This approach, in combination with simple quality-control checks, produced an 82% reduction in the average smartphone pressure bias, substantially improving the quality of smartphone pressures and facilitating their use in numerical weather prediction.

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