Friday, December 21, 2012

Help Your Fellow Weathergeek Know What's Falling From The Sky

This would have come in handy earlier today with the windswept rains but the National Severe Storms Laboratory is looking for ground truth observers to report precipitation types in real time as part of the PING Project.

No, it's not merely to report the ping, ping, pinging of sleet pellets on your window, but PING in this instance stands for Precipitation Identification Near the Ground.

 The goal of this project is to refine radar algorithms based on ground level observations, so what may look like sleet or snow falling on radar overhead would actually be just that and not a mere chilly rain, or vice versa.  Your observation would be ingested into a database that technicians would compare to what the radar showed at that given moment to see how accurate the radar depiction is and see what, if anything, needs to be changed.

Volunteers would sync their phone to their GPS to provide a real time location and then submit reports based on what's falling overhead at a given time.   The project relies on volunteer providers to report snow, sleet, icy rain, rain, or some combination thereof by selecting "select precip type" and then submitting the report.

Comments can't be included via mobile technology at this point but if you want to refine and add information to your observations the PING project managers will accept them via email.

The app is free and available on both Google Play and on the Apple app store.