ISU Seeks Weather Watchers for National Observation Program

July 31st, 2007

AMES, Iowa — Researchers at Iowa State University and the National Weather Service are looking for weather observers to help track precipitation in Iowa as part of a national weather observation network.
The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network has more than 3,500 volunteer observers in 18 states. Volunteers are weather observers working together to measure and map local precipitation.

"Anyone can help, regardless of age or education," said Daryl Herzmann, assistant scientist in the agronomy department at Iowa State and CoCoRaHS co-coordinator for Iowa. "The only requirements for observers are an enthusiasm for watching and reporting weather conditions, and a desire to learn more about how weather impacts our lives."

Observers use low-cost measurement tools and an interactive Web site to provide the data to the National Weather Service. Participation takes just a few minutes a day. Volunteers learn to install instruments and measure precipitation at free local training sessions. Training is also available on the Internet.

Data are used for natural resource, education and research applications. Climatologists, meteorologists, city utility managers, farmers and teachers are just a few examples of those who use these data. Iowa State researchers use the data to monitor drought, heavy rainfall and precipitation patterns.

The network originated with the Colorado Climate Center at Colorado State University in 1998. The National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and several other contributors provide funding for the network. Learn more about CoCoRaHS at http://iowa.cocorahs.org .

Contacts: 

Daryl Herzmann, Agronomy, (515) 294-5978, akrherz@iastate.edu
Melea Reicks Licht, Agriculture and Life Sciences Communication Service, (515) 294-8892, mreicks@iastate.edu