It’s that time of year when I am making an extra effort to check the weather report everyday because I never know if there’s going to be a frost, so I need to bring some plants inside, or if the day will be unusually warm, so I need to pull out some T-shirts for my boys. This is why I am happy to help the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) with their Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground (mPING) project.
That may be a mouthful of a project name, but it’s actually quite simple. The NSSL created an app called mPing so that everyone, including you, can quickly report the weather in your area. The information you send is completely anonymous. This is helpful because weather radars cannot see the ground level. According to their website, these reports are used by the NOAA National Weather Service to fine-tune their forecasts, and the NSSL uses them to develop new radar forecasting technologies and techniques.
I downloaded the app onto my smartphone, and I was happy to see that it’s very easy to use. You simply tap “Report Type,” and pick the appropriate report, such as “Rain” or “Hail.” You may be asked more specific questions such as the approximate size of the hail, etc. After that is done, you simply tap “Submit Report.” This is especially helpful to do before, during and after a storm.
For more citizen science project ideas, click here!