OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

Oregon Volunteers Sought to Measure, Report Precipitation Around the State

11/26/2007

CORVALLIS, Ore. – A growing national community-based volunteer group – whose goals are to create more accurate precipitation data that will help farmers and other users, as well as encourage interest in meteorological science – is expanding to Oregon beginning in December.

And the statewide effort, which will be coordinated by the Oregon Climate Service at Oregon State University, is looking for volunteers.

The “Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network” originated at Colorado State University. The grassroots volunteer network of backyard weather observers includes members of all ages and backgrounds working together to measure and map precipitation – whether it falls as rain, hail or snow. Using low-cost measuring tools, the volunteers provide a valuable service, according to George Taylor, who manages the Oregon Climate Service.

“A limiting factor in analyzing weather patterns and creating precipitation maps is that we simply don’t have enough recording stations spread around the state,” Taylor said. “In a state like Oregon, with dramatically different land features and proximity to the ocean, this is especially problematic.

“By enlisting a number of volunteers, it should lead to more accurate data, which will help a variety of end-users as well as encourage education and outreach efforts,” he added.

The data collected will be used on an interactive website that will be maintained nationally, with support from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Among the users, organizers say, are meteorologists, hydrologists, emergency services personnel, engineers, ranchers and farmers, outdoor recreation enthusiasts and educators.

The network – known loosely as CoCoRaHS – already has 25 states collecting and reporting data. In December, Oregon will become the 26th when the Oregon Climate Service begins enrolling volunteers.

The only requirement for volunteers, Taylor said, is “an enthusiasm for the weather.” Training will be provided.

Persons interested in becoming a volunteer should e-mail George Taylor (taylor@coas.oregonstate.edu) or Cadee Hale (hale@coas.oregonstate.edu) of the Oregon Climate Service, or call the OCS at 541-737-5705.

For more information on the network, visit its website at http://www.cocorahs.org/.