The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory is collecting public weather reports through a free app available for smart phones or mobile devices. The app is called “mPING,” for Meteorological Phenomena Identification Near the Ground. Members of the public become “citizen scientists” by contributing their observations of weather reports such as wind speed, precipitation types, hail sizes, and floods for research purposes.
Weather and flood forecasters often rely on data from weather radars, but these radars do not collect on the ground data. Reports from mPING allow NOAA forecasters to “see” the ground and fine tune their forecasts based on reports from the public.
“Applications like mPING help researchers better understand precipitation events and in turn improve our ability to understand and forecast flood events,” says Witold Krajewski, director of the Iowa Flood Center. Reports from the mPING app are available to researchers across the country, including researchers at the Iowa Flood Center. Krajewski encourages Iowans to engage in citizen science by downloading and using the mPING application.
Visit the following site for more information about mPING including links to download the app and real-time data display: http://mping.nssl.noaa.gov.