Government Video Website of the Week: NOAA’s mPING App

‘Citizen scientists’ can report rain, hail, sleet and snow to the National Severe Storms Laboratory
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‘Citizen scientists’ can report rain, hail, sleet and snow to the National Severe Storms Laboratory

In February the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration launched a program in which anyone with a mobile device can provide data to the administration’s weather research. NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory has made available a free app—the mPING—for users to anonymously report precipitation from their Apple or Android mobile device.
The mPING app enables users to act as “citizen scientists,” and report rain, hail, sleet and snow to the laboratory in real time. All submissions will become part of the Precipitation Identification Near the Ground research project and be added to a database of tens of thousands of observations from across the United States.
To provide more information on the project, and to illustrate its importance, there is a short video—“Bite-Sized Science: The mPING App”—in which scientist Mackenzie Duffy explains the app, how it works and how the data supplied will be used.
And to illustrate why such a database is important, there are videos showing extreme weather including one called “Very Large Hail,” which is a record of a violent storm in which hail, some the size of a man’s hand, pounds a rural community. The video begins just as the hail starts to drop and the videographer takes refuge in a roadside farm facility. Right next to the facility are power lines, and the hail’s pounding of a line knocks it down, sparks flying. After the storm is over, the videographer finds a small truck that was in the open and is covered in huge dents. The truck’s windshield is completely covered in spider-web cracks. The video also shows injuries caused by the hail.
For using video to explain and encourage participation in its mPING app weather research program, NOAA’s website is Government Video’s Website of the Week.
Click here to access the website.