CISA Integrating Climate Science & Decision Making in the Carolinas

CISA: Carolinas Integrated Sciences and Assessments, A NOAA RISA Team

Citizen Science Condition Monitoring in the Carolinas

two women checking a rain gauge
A. Farris and J. Davis with the CISA
Team CoCoRaHS rain gauge

CISA is working with volunteers throughout the Carolinas to improve our understanding of how drought impacts ecosystems and communities. Using tools developed by the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail, and Snow (CoCoRaHS) network these citizen scientists take daily rainfall measurements and submit weekly condition monitoring reports to share information about how recent rainfall, or a lack thereof, has affected the plants, animals, and people in their area.

Regular reporting helps us to identify expected seasonal changes versus changes caused by unseasonal wet or dry weather conditions. Reports can also reveal the onset, intensification, or recovery from wetter or drier than normal conditions. The information volunteers submit is used by the state climate offices, National Weather Service offices, and others to help inform drought-related decisions.

Building on the success of the pilot program here in the Carolinas, CoCoRaHS released the condition monitoring report form to its national network of 20,000+ volunteers in October 2016. Since that time, over 12,000 reports have been submitted for observers throughout the United States.

In order to improve access and usability of the reports, the CISA team developed a condition monitoring web map. The web map allows users to view individual condition monitoring reports spatially and in conjunction with other contextual information, such as the US Drought Monitor Map. If you access the web map, please also consider providing feedback about your interaction with the map to help us continue to improve its functionality. CoCoRaHS has also created a new webpage to provide summary charts which display information provided in condition monitoring reports to document changing on-the-ground conditions over time.

The links on this page provide additional resources to learn more about the project including a slideshow tutorial and training animation. We have also created regionally-tailored guidance documents to support condition monitoring reporters in different climates and geographies around the country.

Be sure to check out our monthly newsletter to get the latest news and updates about the project.

This project is supported by the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS).

If you are interested in becoming a condition monitoring observer, sign up online at the CoCoRaHS website.