4A.1 Drought Information Supported by Citizen Scientists (DISCS)

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 8:30 AM
Room 17A (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Andrew L. Molthan, NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA; and M. Maskey, C. Hain, P. Meyer, U. Nair, C. Handyside, K. D. White, and M. Amin

Each year, drought impacts various regions of the United States on time scales of weeks, months, seasons, or years, affecting agricultural production and driving irrigation requirements, which in turn leads to a need to document these impacts and inform key decisions on land management, use of water resources, and disaster response. Mapping impacts allows decision-makers to understand potential damage to agriculture and loss of production, to communicate and document drought impacts on crop yields, and to inform water management decisions. Current efforts to collect this information includes parsing of media reports, collaborations with local extension offices, and partnerships with the National Weather Service cooperative observer network. As part of a NASA Citizen Science for Earth Systems proposal award, a research and applications team from Marshall Space Flight Center, the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and collaborators within the National Weather Service have developed a prototype smartphone application focused on the collection of citizen science observations of crop health and drought impacts, along with development of innovative low-cost soil moisture sensors to supplement subjective assessments of local soil moisture conditions. Observations provided by citizen scientists include crop type and health, phase of growth, soil moisture conditions, irrigation status, along with an optional photo and comment to provide visual confirmation and other details. In exchange for their participation, users of the app also have access to unique land surface modeling data sets produced at Marshall Space Flight Center such as the NASA Land Information System soil moisture and climatology/percentile products from the Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center, assessments of vegetation health and stress from NASA and NOAA remote sensing platforms (e.g. MODIS/VIIRS), outputs from a crop stress model developed at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, recent rainfall estimates from the NOAA/NWS network of ground-based weather radars, and other observations made by their fellow citizen scientists. This presentation will highlight development of the application, data collected to date, feedback from participants, and opportunities to use the collected information in support of addressing science questions such as verification and validation of modeling and remote sensing data sets.
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