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Geospatial Analysis of Monsoon Precipitation Data from Citizen Reporters

Presenter(s):  Gabe McGowan

Abstract: 

Half of annual precipitation in southern Arizona falls in convective thunderstorms associated with the North American Monsoon season (June 15 - September 30). Monsoon precipitation varies widely over distances equal to or smaller than the spacing of institutional rain gauges and the resolution of precipitation raster products. A more detailed spatial characterization of monsoon precipitation data is desirable for emergency responders and flood planners.  Denser point precipitation data for Arizona are available through the Rainlog citizen rain gauge network. A geospatial comparison of these data to institutional rain gauge data and a widely-used raster dataset was conducted using open-source tools to determine the fitness of Rainlog data for direct comparison with institutional data. Despite key differences in the datasets, the Rainlog data were found to represent a valuable supplement to institutional data that can be merged with institutional datasets for analysis.

Key Takeaway: Citizen science data represent a growing and valuable source of data for GIS analysts. It is key to understand quality control concerns and reporting patterns in such data prior to incorporating them in your analysis. Storage and analysis of large datasets can be accomplished efficiently using open-source tools.

Intended Audience: data analysts, programmers, emergency planners, flood or water resources planners, climatologists, meteorologists

About the presenter(s):

Gabe is a staff hydrologist and GIS specialist at Hydro Geo Chem, Inc, a Tucson-based environmental consulting firm. He also works as a research assistant for the Climate Assessment for the Southwest research group at the University of Arizona. He received a MS in Geographic Information Systems Technology from the University of Arizona this year. Previously he graduated with a MS in Environmental Sciences & Engineering from the University of North Carolina.