NOAA launches app to gather anonymous precipitation reports


To improve weather forecasts, a new mobile app from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration allows users to anonymously report precipitation from their mobile devices.

Using reports from the Precipitation Identification Near the Ground app, NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory hopes to build a database of observations from across the country, NOAA says in a Jan. 10 briefing. Researchers will compare the reports with what radar systems detect and then use the information to develop new radar and forecasting techniques to determine whether snow, rain, ice pellets, mixtures or hail is falling.

The app is available for iOS and Android devices. Precipitation reports can be viewed on the National Severe Storms Laboratory's website in real time as the lab receives them.

The NSSL developed the app in partnership with the University of Oklahoma--not the first time they have teamed up to leverage mobile technology. In August, NOAA announced that the university's Center for Applied Social Research in Norman, Okla., would lead a project that examines how Twitter messages can be tapped as a source of local weather observations and used to share weather updates.

For more:
- read the NOAA announcement 

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