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Advances in Science and Research Contributions in Applied Meteorology and Climatology
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Volume 15 | Copyright
Adv. Sci. Res., 15, 71-76, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/asr-15-71-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  18 May 2018

18 May 2018

Crowdsourcing of weather observations at national meteorological and hydrological services in Europe

Thomas Krennert, Georg Pistotnik, Rainer Kaltenberger, and Christian Csekits Thomas Krennert et al.
  • ZAMG, Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geodynamik, Hohe Warte 38, 1190 Vienna, Austria

Abstract. National Meteorological and Hydrological Services (NMHSs) increase their efforts to deliver impact-based weather forecasts and warnings. At the same time, a desired increase in cost-efficiency prompts these services to automatize their weather station networks and to reduce the number of human observers, which leads to a lack of ground truth information about weather phenomena and their impact. A possible alternative is to encourage the general public to submit weather observations, which may include crucial information especially in high-impact situations.

We wish to provide an overview of the state and properties of existing collaborations between NMHSs and voluntary weather observers or storm spotters across Europe. For that purpose, we performed a survey among 30 European NMHSs, from which 22 NMHSs returned our questionnaire. This study summarizes the most important findings and evaluates the use of crowdsourced information. 86% of the surveyed NMHSs utilize information provided by the general public, 50% have established official collaborations with spotter groups, and 18% have formalized them. The observations are most commonly used for a real-time improvement of severe weather warnings, their verification, and an establishment of a climatology of severe weather events.

The importance of these volunteered weather and impact observations has strongly risen over the past decade. We expect that this trend will continue and that storm spotters will become an essential part in severe weather warning, like they have been for decades in the United States of America. A rising number of incoming reports implies that quality management will become an increasing issue, and we finally discuss an idea how to handle this challenge.

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