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Reporting Your Weather Observations Aids NASA in Climate Science Research

ISeeChange partners with NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 mission to ground-truth data from satellites with earthbound observations.

Citizen Science Salon iconCitizen Science Salon
By Caren Cooper, Catherine Hoffman, and Darlene Cavalier
Apr 21, 2020 7:00 PMMar 20, 2023 8:30 PM
Investigate how weather and climate change are impacting our communities and environment. (Credit: Pixabay)


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What does change look like near you? Have you noticed flowers blooming earlier than usual? Has extreme weather and flooding affected your commute? You can join a community of climate and weather journalists with ISeeChange.

It is simple to get started. All you need to do is observe something changing near you or something that just seems unusual. If you’re unsure what to look for, take a look at the featured investigations on the project website that target climate-related trends such as flooding, heat waves and bugs. Some may even be unique to your location.

Join Darlene Cavalier, author of The Field Guide to Citizen Science, on April 21 for a live talk about getting involved in science projects.

ISeeChange partners with NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory 2 mission to ground-truth the data from satellites with observations on the ground. Your observations will be matched with data from that date and time, including temperature, cloud cover and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, which will help scientists see and understand the impact of the changing climate on everyday life. You can also join community investigations that seek specific data in your community. From rising tides to urban heat waves, your data will help communities create climate adaptation plans.

ISeeChange was founded by Julia Kumari Drapkin, a radio, television and multimedia producer who uses her knack for storytelling to share the local and global impacts of climate change. Her team uses the observations contributed to ISeeChange to write in-depth pieces on changes in local environments.

Location: Global

Website: Search “ISeeChange” on SciStarter or visit iseechange.org

Goal: To connect and empower communities to investigate weather and climate change

Task: Create an account on the project website and download the ISeeChange app, if desired. Post sightings and observations, including photos when possible, on how weather and climate affect your daily life. Check back often to help compare and contrast experiences and to find out what others see near you or find developing trends to watch.

Take Part: Report Your Climate and Weather Observations

Outcomes: The ISeeChange community, in addition to having their own localized records of change, has identified environmental trends months in advance of scientists, journalists and government reports; ground-truthed data that engineers and infrastructure designers rely on; provided critical community insights into climate-resilience planning; and provided emergency managers with real-time updates during weather events.

Why we like this: This project is based on the simple premise that everyone talks about the weather and asks questions like, “What is going on with this weather today?” Those anecdotes can provide powerful data about how the changing climate influences your everyday life.

From The Field Guide to Citizen Science: How You Can Contribute to Scientific Research and Make a Difference by Darlene Cavalier, Catherine Hoffman and Caren Cooper. Copyright © 2020. Reprinted by permission of Timber Press.

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