by Elizabeth Lewis, Geoff Parkin Tessa Gough, Newcastle University
This DARE pilot project addresses the Digital Technology/Living with Environmental Change Interface by supporting communities at risk of flooding to utilise emerging technology to play an active role in collecting and sharing data to aid flood response and to sensitize communities to climatic changes by providing an enhanced understanding of their environment.
The project is engaging with potential citizen scientists to use Private Automated Weather Stations (PAWS) to gather rain data and share those data to online platforms where they can be accessed by the public, forecasters, flood managers and researchers. Engagement activities are being run promote citizen science participation and to better understand the motivations and barriers to rain data collection.
Workshops have been hosted in Newcastle museums over the school holidays to share information on the risks of flash flooding, natural flood attenuation, checking rain data online, operating a weather station and interpreting rain gauge data. Games illustrating the key concepts were available; along with posters, demonstrations and discussion with participating climate scientists from Newcastle University. Over 800 people interacted with the games and demonstrations over 4 days. The cost of weather stations was cited as a reason for not collecting rain data, along with not knowing it was possible. The workshops raised awareness among people who had not previously considered participating. Participants were directed to a website (https://research.ncl.ac.uk/cspaws/) and support email address that we have developed for this project to support citizen scientists with any issues around installing a weather station and contributing their data to the Met Office Weather Observations Website (https://wow.metoffice.gov.uk/).
A presentation was given to 42 teachers in the North East to encourage schools to get involved with the project. A workshop will be held with 25 children age 9 – 13 years old at a local school to look in detail at how weather stations work, and, the impacts of wild weather globally and locally. Further workshops with the schools are planned.
Images in order from left to right: Promotional Poster; Elizabeth Lewis at a workshop in a museum in Newcastle; A game at the workshops