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New smart phone app lets public report rain, hail, sleet and snow to NOAA

New smart phone app lets public report rain, hail, sleet and snow to NOAA

Public reports will aid weather research

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Contact: Keli Pirtle, 405-325-6933

It's now easier than ever to be a part of NOAA's weather research. The NOAA National Severe 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.

With the mPING app, anyone can send a weather observation on the go. The user simply opens the app, selects the type of precipitation that is falling at his or her location, and presses submit. The user’s location and the time of the observation are automatically included in the report.

VIDEO: Bite-Sized Science-The mPING App.

VIDEO: Bite-Sized Science-The mPING App.

Credit: NOAA

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. "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."

Screenshots from the mPING app.

Screenshots from the mPING app.

The new mPING app for Apple and Android mobile devices lets users report rain, hail, sleet and snow to NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory. Credit: NOAA

In addition to reporting winter precipitation, mPING users can report observations of hail occurrence and hail size during the summer months, Elmore added.

All reports in the PING database, both past and real-time, can be viewed on the project's web site. This allows anyone to see all observations in time and space to better identify the locations where hazardous forms of precipitation exist.

To further analyze the data, researchers will compare the reports with what radars detect and use the information to develop new radar and forecasting technologies and techniques.

The apps are available on iTunes or Google Play for use on both phones and tablets. They were developed by OU under the CIMMS agreement and are owned by OU.

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on FacebookTwitter, and our other social media channels

On the Web:

NSSL's main PING page 

PING reports in real-time

mPING  iTunes app

mPING Android app

 
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