CycloneCenter.org: Citizen Science, tropical cyclones and climate

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 12:00 AM
226C (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Kenneth R. Knapp, NOAA/NESDIS/NCDC, Asheville, NC; and C. C. Hennon, C. J. Schreck III, J. P. Kossin, and S. E. Stevens

Cyclone Center is a crowd sourcing project that engages the general public in helping us to produce a refined global tropical cyclone record. A website presents users with homogeneous infrared tropical cyclone (TC) centric imagery, asks questions about the images, and records responses. A consensus intensity is then determined by processing user responses.

The global TC intensity record, even in modern times, is uncertain because most storms are not directly observed. Heterogeneities are also introduced into the historical record with changes to operational procedures, personnel, and observing platforms. These uncertainties impede our ability to identify the relationship between tropical cyclone intensities and recent climate change. A global reanalysis of TC intensity using a few experts is impractical because of the sheer number of storm images. Crowd sourcing provides us with the manpower required to acquire multiple classifications for each of the nearly 300,000 storm images available over 32 years (1978-2009). We have recorded over 340,000 individual classifications from several thousand citizen scientists with little or no meteorological background. Simply designed questions, online help, tutorials, discussion forums, blogs, and a Facebook page enable our users to provide us with the necessary data to address the discrepancies in these storms and provide a solid starting point to better understand how tropical cyclones have changed.

This presentation will describe the conceptual design and implementation of the Cyclone Center interface and its educational components that can benefit students and educators, particularly those at secondary schools and colleges.