Tracking Weather through Citizen Science!

Tracking Weather through Citizen Science!

In this digital age we have information at our fingertips…everything from the latest world news to the cutest cat video. Checking things like the daily weather is as quick and easy as picking up your phone without even getting out of bed. Most of this information comes from dedicated weather monitoring stations placed all around the globe, but did you know there are ways for you to participate in collecting and monitoring weather data? Today we want to share some citizen science projects, so you can join in the fun and be a citizen scientist.

The first is PurpleAir, an air quality monitoring project that anyone can participate in. We have several PurpleAir monitors in our area, and the data can be viewed on this map. These devices record information on temperature, humidity, airborne particulate matter, and other factors that impact the quality of our air. The fun thing about PurpleAir is that anyone can purchase a monitor and get accurate, real-time data about the quality of the air around their house and even inside of it. In addition to educating yourself you will be contributing to the larger pool of data, helping us all understand our environment better.

Another fun weather-related citizen science project is Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow Network, or CoCoRaHS for short. On this project, citizens can apply to be precipitation collectors and record their data on the website. It’s as simple as setting up a rain gauge and recording your data on how much it fills with rain, snow, or hail. Then, we can all see these data displayed on a country-wide map and get a glimpse of the precipitation on each day!

The last citizen science project we want to share with you today is an effort backed by NOAA called Old Weather. On this project, citizen science volunteers have transcribed archival accounts of weather conditions going back 180 years! These data are then run through a modern weather model to give us a glimpse of the weather conditions of the past. This project truly brings the past to life, showing us the daily conditions of the past, which were previously a bit of a mystery.

We hope you enjoyed learning about these projects and we encourage you to participate in these or any other citizen science projects available. Remember, any citizen can be a scientist!

Feature image by NOAA from Unsplash.