The Snowtweets Project

The Snowtweets Project

Snow and ice researchers at the University of Waterloo, Canada, ask you to tweet snow depths in your area, or wherever you are, as part of the Snowtweets Project. Sign in to your Twitter account (or sign up for an account) and write a message from your laptop, desktop or smart phone that includes the depth, as well as your location.

Measure the snow depth where you live, work or play. Ideally, you can easily do this with a simple ruler by poking it into the snow straight down (vertically) to the ground at a place you think is representative of the snow in your area (maybe in the middle of your back yard or at an undisturbed/undrafted place on the way to work, or in your school yard). There is a section opposite that explains in more detail some of the best ways to measure snow depth.

To view the snow depth measurements (or tweets), we have developed a data visualization tool called Snowbird that lets you explore the reported snow depths around the globe. After you submit your tweet, give the system a few minutes to process the data and you should see your tweet show up in Snowbird.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Richard Kelly, Professor
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: University of Waterloo, Canada
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages

    Log on to (or join) Twitter and follow the instructions on Snowtweets for reporting conditions in your area.

See more projects in FreeFieldworkAll 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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