Check out how NOAA is organizing and communicating with local people and businesses to collects weather data and fight consequences of weather anomalies.
This a transcript of the video.
So often people will read and hear and learn and see about other people’s experiences with climate extremes and anomalies, but until they experience it themselves, they are not so prone to taking action.
The 1997 flood was deadly. It changed Fort Collins forever. For those who study climate extremes, it was a wake-up call for better data and tools. Looking back to 1997, we really thought we were ready. We had new technologies in place. The new weather service radar- NEXRAD – had just been deployed. We had no idea that we were having 14 inches of rain. Radar was maybe saying 3 or 4. People had no warning for the flash flood because radar hadn’t picked up the intensity of rainfall. So the city built a high-tech early warning system to prevent another tragedy in the future. And Nolan had an important realization: people could play a crucial role in building resilience.
People really wanted to help, and we launched the following year a network of citizens with rain gauges in their yards with internet connectivity to communicate intense rainfall as it fell and total rainfall at the end of each day. You’ve picked up on climate variability. The project has subsequently grown nationwide with literally nearly 20,000 volunteers helping us bring in rainfall data.
More to read: How To Use Rain Guge To Collect And Share Data
When people are involved, they think about it. They think about the risks. They think about the hazards they are facing and how their information can be helpful. Data is the key, and the state climatologists are the vendors of the climate information, taking raw data and converting it into useful information and communicating it at the grassroots level throughout their states.
NOAA data – the automated surface observing system, the cooperative observer network, the climate reference network, NOAA satellite information– this is all critical to both real-time weather prediction but likewise to climate science.
A state climatologist’s main function is to monitor the climate of our state. We work closely with water managers, farmers, business operators, Dairy Queen! You’d be amazed at the businesses who are very sensitive to climate variability. I want people to again pull out historical documentation so they can see what our current experience, how that fits into a longer-term perspective.
Climate is a huge natural resource. It’s always going to challenge us with its variations and extremes, and it may take us in a direction that we’re not totally ready to go. As state climatologists, we are going to monitor it closely. We are going to put it in historic perspective. We are going to communicate it as honestly as we can. We are not climate change advocates, we are really monitors delivering the message of what we are seeing and how that fits with what has been observed in the past and what’s projected for the future.
If you want to find more info on meetinng the challenges of a changing climate, visit the U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit website.