How apps can help you keep tabs on climate change

• March 22, 2012
Bird Watching

Bird Watching- Creative Commons: Lauren Finkel, 2011

The following six apps and websites allow citizens to collect data from the world around us and contribute to our understanding of how the world looks now and how it is changing.


What You Do: Take pictures of the highest tides of the year, and add them to the California King Tides Flickr Group

How Your Data Is Used: Seeing how the highest tides affect low-lying ares on the California coast helps give us an idea of what’s to come as the sea level rises.

What You Do: Every morning, take precipitation measurements (CoCoRaHS is an ungainly acronym for Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network), and upload your data to the CoCoRaHS website.

How Your Data Is Used: The National Weather Service, among many others, uses the data to improve forecasts, including severe weather warnings. The precipitation data is updated on their website right after you upload it.


What You Do: On this website, created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Audubon Society, keep a checklist of the birds you see, find out what birds are common in your area, and get alerts when rare ones show up.

How Your Data Is Used: Researchers use the checklists to track where bird species are, and to look for trends and changes in population and distribution.

What You Do: Record the species you see using the Project Noah apps for iPhone and Android, or on the website. Upload photos, species ID’s, and location to Project Noah. If you see something you can’t identify, upload it and other project participants will help you out.

How Your Data Is Used: Project Noah’s creators say their goal is to document all the world’s organisms, and in doing so, raise awareness of how they’re all doing. In the meantime, you can get involved in specific “missions.”

What You Do: Like Project Noah, you can use your smartphone to record, upload and share the species you encounter. Browse the website by location or species and find out more about the organisms you see.

How Your Data Is Used: The managers of iNaturalist, a graduate of UC Berkeley’s School of Information and a climate scientist at the Carnegie Institution hope the data collected by citizen scientists will help researchers study populations and extinction.

What You Do: Record when plants sprout leaves, grow flowers and produce fruit. Upload your data either on the Project BudBurst website, or using the Android App. The website has a list of plants to help you identify what you see around you.

How Your Data Is Used: Scientists can use your data to see how plants are responding to climate change. Interactive maps show where and when plants have been identified.

Read more: KQED News>>

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TckTckTck is the online hub for the Global Call for Climate Action. The GCCA represents an unprecedented alliance of more than 400 nonprofit organizations from around the world. Our shared mission is to mobilize civil society and galvanize public support to ensure a safe climate future for people and nature, to promote the low-carbon transition of our economies, and to accelerate the adaptation efforts in communities already affected by climate change.

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