Increasing resiliency and preparedness for weather and climate extremes now and in the future across the South-Central United States
Have you ever wondered how the weather relates to the world around us? Our measurements can tell us a lot about balance. Is there enough rain or too much? Is the hailstorm big enough to cause damage? How is the snowpack doing and what will that mean for next year's water supply? But to truly understand the relationship between weather and our landscape, nothing beats a set of eyes.
In 2012, SCIPP, CoCoRaHS, and the Earth Observation and Modeling Facility (EMOF) launched a "Field Photo Weekend" project to create a national picture of our landscape. We invited CoCoRaHS and others to participate in taking pictures at roughly the same time - pictures of water bodies, fields, forests, or any other facet of our environment that you believe represents the conditions around you. It could be a picture of your favorite fishing hole, a nearby farmer's field, or a nice secluded spot amongst the trees. All of these landscapes are affected by rainfall, or the lack thereof.
So why are we doing this? First of all, it is wonderful to be able to appreciate nature's beauty and to be able to see the world around us. But having everyone taking pictures at approximately the same time allows us to see this landscape as it relates to the things we measure - how it compares to the amounts of rain that have fallen or if it looks like we might expect according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. Is the land around you as green as the satellite seems to think?
Even if the weather around you may seem normal this year, these photos might give you (and us) a point of reference for what is maybe different next year or in another season. There is no obligation to participate in future Field Photo Weekends, so we encourage everyone to give this one a try and see how it goes.
So what makes a good picture for a project like this? Photos should tell the story of the field or landscape, anything that you feel is representative of the world around you. Just as you do not find the deepest snowdrift for your snowfall measurements, you should not find the vegetation that is in the worst condition for your pictures. We want to see what it may look like walking through a field, where some things may be in better condition than others. So if you see a dead tree, a bunch of trees that are dropping some leaves, and a heavily watered tree with lush green leaves, we want the picture showing the ones dropping leaves.
Photos can be of any of the following:
All you need is a camera. Any old camera will do, but if you have a camera with GPS capability or a smartphone, that would be even better.
If you are using a SmartPhone or GPS camera, make sure "location services" is turned on. This will automatically encode the picture's latitude, longitude and direction you are looking. To turn on location services, go to your phone's settings and you should see "Location Services" in the menu. When you select this, you will get a list of applications that use location services, each with an on/off switch. Make sure camera and compass are both turned on. If you feel better not having your phone know where you are, you can turn these off again after taking the pictures. The embedded latitude and longitude will help us from having to estimate from a map, which could save us hours in processing time.
Simply e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org and SCIPP will do the rest. The photos will be uploaded to the EOMF website, www.eomf.ou.edu/photos. We do need a little information from you so that we can place them properly on a map:
If you prefer to upload and manage your photos directly, visit the EOMF website and register for an account. This will let you set privacy settings, edit your photos to provide additional detail, or upload other photos from other locations or times of the year. The more photos that are in the EOMF archive, the better will be our ability to ground-truth all of the weather and environmental data that we collect.
Please add #CoCoRaHSSep13 to any photos in the Field Notes section so we can identify those related to this project.
Note that your name or e-mail address will not appear with the photos or on any website. SCIPP will provide a list of those who contributed to CoCoRaHS and will not maintain any records themselves. So your e-mail is safe.
As we upload the photos, they will appear on the, EOMF website. For this round, we've made it easy, just go to http://www.eomf.ou.edu/photos/cocorahssep13/ and a map will come up with all photos with the tag #CoCoRaHSSep13. You can also view the previous events:
We are working our way backward to add the tags, #CoCoRaHSFeb13 and #CoCoRaHSSep12 to the earlier photos, so not much may show on those earlier links just yet. If you want to see all of the photos we have uploaded, go to the EOMF Photo archive, change "Users" to cocorahs and submit. Anything from this project - any of the four weekend events - will come up.
If you have questions along the way, please e-mail SCIPP at email@example.com SCIPP will help clarify any questions about taking, uploading or viewing photos.
We want this to be a fun experience for everyone and give everyone a chance to see what it looks like near where we all take our observations each day. We hope that you will be as excited about participating as we are in hosting this.