The citizen science project for British Science Week 2019 is Operation Weather Rescue, led by researches from the University of Reading and funded by the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS) and the Natural Environment Research Council.
The project is calling upon members of the public to enter historical weather information into an online database so that meteorologists and climate scientists will be able to make predictions about future climates.
It is hoped that the help of the public in digitising these records will go someway towards addressing the challenges faced by researchers when analysing historical weather patterns. Currently millions of pages of historical weather data are held in archives across the world that are not easily accessible to researchers. Digitising them, with the public’s help, will allow researchers to interpret more historical weather data than ever before, and in turn, lead to better understandings of past climates.
The project is a brilliant example of how the contributions of the public to science projects can make a very positive impact on scientific research. Without the public’s help it would take the team at Reading University many more years to digitise all the data needed. Thanks to volunteers, however, researchers will be able to drawn conclusions on changing weather patterns a lot sooner, which will inevitably benefit us all.
You can find out more about the project and how to get involved here.