mPing 2015-03-14

No permission to buy ($0.01)
As a, the Precipitation Identification Near the Ground project (W-PING) needs you, the Citizen Scientist, to watch and report on precipitation.

PING is looking for volunteers of all ages and backgrounds to make observations - teachers, classes, families, everyone and anyone! This app and associated web pages are your portal to providing observations to the research meteorologists at NSSL that will help us develop and refine algorithms that use the newly upgraded dual-polarization NEXRAD radars to detect and report on the type of precipitation that you see falling. To do a good job, we need tens of thousands of observations form all over the US. We can succeed only with your help.

PING volunteer observers can spend as much time as they want, from a little to a lot, making observations. The basic idea is simple: NSSL will collect radar data from NEXRAD radars in your area along with sounding data from our models during storm events, and use your data to develop and validate new and better algorithms. We have two focus areas: winter precipitation type, such as rain, freezing rain, drizzle, freezing drizzle, snow, graupel, ice pellets, mixed rain and snow, mixed ice pellets and snow and even observations of “none” when the precipitation has stopped, even if only briefly.

Why? Because the radars cannot see close to the ground at far distances and because automated surface sensors are only at airports. But the people affected by winter weather are everywhere so we need you to tell us what is happening where you are.

But we need more than winter weather details: when there are thunderstorms, we need to know if hail falls and, if it does how big it is. Measuring with a ruler is best but, whatever you do, stay safe.

All you need to do is use this app to select the precipitation type. Tell us what is hitting the ground. NSSL scientists will compare your report with what the radar has detected and what our models think the atmosphere is doing, and use it to develop new technologies and techniques to determine what kind of precipitation such as snow, ice, rain or hail and its size is falling where.
Steve Miller
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4.50 star(s) 2 ratings

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A basic app, but one that fills an important niche in the meteorological community. This allows citizens to report what is going on wherever they are, allowing forecasters to see what is really happening on the ground. This is very important, as even the lowest tilts of a radar beam will reflect conditions a little different than on the ground, and the rain-snow line can be hard to find. This app allows users to determine the rain-snow line and, when combined with radar data *cough* RadarScope *cough* allows the diagnosis of virga and other precipitation that does not appear on the radar (say, light snow far from the radar site, as happens in rural Montana. There should really be more publicity for this app to encourage its use and make the data more useful to meteorologists.
The mPING app is not only good for weather enthusiasts, but and excellent way for citizen scientists to contribute to weather research. Few citizen science weather projects exist (which I've always thought was quite odd) and mPING is at the top of my list of recommendations.