Weather information from GPS.
Global Positioning System signals moving through the atmosphere are bent by changes in pressure, temperature, and moisture. This incidental fact has provided a golden opportunity for atmospheric science—a chance to use GPS to sample temperature and water vapor across the globe. UCAR launched a system called COSMIC in 2006 that intercepts GPS signals with receivers positioned on six satellites circling the globe. COSMIC is able to take thousands of inexpensive readings around the world every day, including areas difficult to reach by conventional systems. Depicted here: the launch of the COSMIC satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. (Photo Courtesy of Orbital Sciences Corporation.)