6.5 Citizen Science and Cost-Effective Community-Based Rainfall Measurement in Nepal

Tuesday, 9 January 2018: 2:45 PM
Room 6B (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Suresh Marahatta, Tribhuvan Univ., Nepal, Kathmandu, Nepal; and L. Adhikari, B. Pokharel, B. Giri, A. Dixit, and P. Stahl

The rainfall pattern in Nepal is dominated by the South Asian Monsoon, which provides more than 70% of annual precipitation between June and September. The precipitation varies within short distances (< 20 km) by an order of magnitude due to rapid local orographic changes. However, precipitation measurements are scarce; there are no weather radars, and long-term quality data are very rare. Even though farmers in Nepal depend on summer monsoon rainfall for their farming needs, they lack the knowledge of basic weather and climate and there is no reliable short- and long-term weather forecasting for precipitation which is critical for plantation, irrigation and for the use of fertilizer. The lack of weather knowledge not only increases the cost of farming, but also increases unnecessary water use. This has created even more water scarcity and groundwater depletion and will continue to deplete if farmers are not provided with reliable weather information. Providing information of weather science and training school students and teachers may help to transfer the knowledge to farmers because these groups of people are the most influential in rural areas in Nepal.

The citizen science program, which is called COmmunity based RAinfall Measurement (CORAM), was established with an aim to provide the weather and climate knowledge to high school students and teachers. The objective of the program is two folds; (1) train teachers and students to correctly install raingauges and measure rainfall, and (2) utilize the rainfall data for improving local farming practices. This presentation will focus on the history of community-based rainfall measurement in Nepal. Preliminary results from CORAM pilot project conducted in Kathmandu Valley will be presented. The difficulties and lesson learned from the program and future direction to expand the program in the various part of the country will also be discussed. Spatial variability of rainfall will be analyzed and used to compare with satellite measurements from global precipitation mission (GPM).

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