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Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)

Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS)

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail & Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is a non-profit, community-based network of volunteers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow). By using low-cost measurement tools, stressing training and education, and utilizing an interactive Web site, the network's aim is to provide quality data for natural resource, education and research applications.

Volunteers post their daily observations on the CoCoRaHS Web site. Observations are immediately available on maps and reports for the public to view. By providing high quality, accurate measurements, the observers are able to supplement existing networks and provide useful results to scientists, resource managers, decision makers and other users.

CoCoRaHS came about as a result of a flash flood that hit Fort Collins, Colo., in July 1997. A very localized storm dumped more than a foot of rain in several hours while other portions of the city had only modest rainfall. The ensuing flood caught many by surprise and caused $200 million in damages. CoCoRaHS was born in 1998 with the intent of doing a better job of mapping and reporting intense storms.

As more volunteers participated, rain, hail, and snow maps were produced for every storm showing fascinating local patterns that were of great interest to scientists and the public. By 2010 CoCoRaHS became a nationwide volunteer network.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) are major sponsors of CoCoRaHS.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Nolan Doesken, Climatologist and Senior Research Associate
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Colorado State University
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    CoCoRaHS relies on volunteer network of backyard weather observers of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation (rain, hail and snow) in their local communities. Training is provided to teach new observers how to install their instruments, properly measure precipitation and send in reports.

    To sign up fill out an online application or contact Nolan Doesken, nolan@atmos.colostate.edu

See more projects in FreeObservationAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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