Citizen science is key to rainfall monitoring this monsoon season

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M&A’s Gary Woodard was featured in an October 6 article on rainfall in the Arizona Daily Star. The article, “Read the Map and Weep: The Rain Didn’t Fall Where Most of Us Live,” describes our recent monsoon season in Tucson as “a bust.” Average precipitation is about 6 inches between June 15 and September 30; this year, however, we saw less than 4 inches in town, despite persistent cloud cover and raging storms in the northern part of our state. Fortunately, rainfall conditions were better regionally.

The rainfall data discussed in this article was collected using Rainlog.org, an online tool that relies on volunteer input.

Woodard, who now works with our Water Policy & Economics group, helped develop Rainlog.org during his stint as Assistant Director for Knowledge Transfer at SAHRA. This innovative program demonstrates the benefits of citizen science. Volunteers with rain gauges installed at their homes report daily total rainfall amounts through an online form. Data collected through this network supports watershed management activities, weather reporting, hydrologic research, and drought planning, among other activities.

Click here to read the article online.

Click here to download a PDF (6.7 MB) showing rainfall totals for Tucson during the 2013 monsoon.