How’s this for timing?
With a major snowstorm bearing down on the northeast in the coming days, the NOAA National Storms Laboratory, in partnership with the University of Oklahoma, has launched a free app for users to anonymously report precipitation from their Apple or Android mobile device, the agency announced.
Called mPING, the app lets the user select the type of precipitation that is falling at his or her location, and press submit. The user’s location and the time of the observation are automatically included in the report.
All submissions will become part of a research project called PING – Precipitation Identification Near the Ground. NSSL and OU researchers will use the mPING submissions to build a valuable database of tens of thousands of observations from across the United States.
“mPING gives the public a unique opportunity to act as citizen scientists, allowing them to report their observations of precipitation — such as snow, rain, ice pellets, or a mix — in real time,” said principal investigator Kim Elmore, Ph.D., research meteorologist with the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies (CIMMS) at the University of Oklahoma.
She continued, “Because this nation-wide information will be instantly available from one website, we believe it will be useful for not only researchers, but a variety of groups, including students and teachers, forecasters, TV meteorologists, members of the transportation and aviation industries, city managers and law enforcement.”