IceWatch USA

IceWatch USA

IceWatch USA, a program of nonprofit Nature Abounds, brings citizen scientists the opportunity to help professional researchers study how our climate is changing. In as little as 10 minutes, citizen scientists can report information that will help to analyze how climate will change in different regions of the United States, and how ecosystems are reacting to the change. IceWatch USA is modeled after and a proud partner of Ice Watch Canada.

Due to the increased emissions of greenhouse gases, among other factors, the climate is changing. Accurately recording and analyzing "ice on" and "ice off" events (also known as ice phenology) as well as other factors like snow depth, air temperature and wildlife observations offers a practical way to learn how climate change affects our environment. Even if you live in a Southern State that doesn't experience ice, your winter observations are still important for the "big" picture, including air temperature, precipitation and wildlife viewing.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Melinda Hughes-Wert and James Wert
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • LOCATION: - United States
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    To become an IceWatch volunteer, first fill out an online registration form. Once Nature Abounds receives and processes your application, you will receive a "Welcome to IceWatch USA " e-mail with instructions for getting started. Choose a location to observe over the winter, like a nearby lake, bay, or river and fill out your site description form. Then start recording your observations, and report your observations to Nature Abound via mail, e-mail or Web site submission form. Your information will be entered into a database, compared to other reports and shared with interested scientists.

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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