Is It Snowing Where You Are? Scientists Want Your Data

Two projects welcome online submission of snow depth and other atmospheric conditions from average citizens.

What's the Latest Development?

To those about to experience a major snowstorm, take heed: Two new projects from the University of Waterloo and the US government's National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) offer average citizens with Internet connections a way to contribute weather data during a blizzard. Waterloo's Snowtweets project is fairly simple: "All participants have to do is tweet the snow depth measurement from their backyard, some geolocating info like a postal code or coordinates, and the hashtag #snowtweets." The NSSL project, Precipitation Identification Near The Ground (PING), asks for general weather information, including the type of precipitation, air temperature, and wind speed. Interested participants can submit this data on their Web site or by using an iPhone app specially designed for the project.

What's the Big Idea?

Snowtweets and PING are the latest in a series of weather-related scientific efforts involving data submitted from the public. With both projects, the information gathered will help scientists with satellite and radar accuracy and documenting global snow cover. However, if even these requests seem too complicated, there's always the cash option: Writer David Wagner mentions that climate scientist Jason Box is looking for crowdsourced funding for his Dark Snow Project, which involves studying the effects of "dirty snow" on global warming.

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