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Henry W. Reges, Nolan Doesken, Julian Turner, Noah Newman, Antony Bergantino, and Zach Schwalbe

Abstract

The Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network (CoCoRaHS) is a large and growing community of volunteers measuring and reporting precipitation and is making this information broadly available for the research and operational community. CoCoRaHS has evolved through several phases since its beginnings in 1998, first starting as a flood-motivated local Colorado Front Range project, then through a 5-yr nationwide expansion period (2005–09), followed by five years (2010–14) of internal growth and capacity building.

As of mid-2015, CoCoRaHS volunteers have submitted over 31 million daily precipitation reports and tens of thousands of reports of hail, heavy rain, and snow, representing over 1.5 million volunteer hours. During the past 10 years, there has been wide demand for and use of CoCoRaHS data by professional and scientific users with an interest in its applicability to their different areas of focus. These range from hydrological applications and weather forecasting to agriculture, entomology, remote sensing validation, city snow removal contracting, and recreational activities, just to name a few. The high demand for CoCoRaHS data by many entities is an effective motivator for volunteer observers, who want to be assured that their efforts are needed and appreciated.

Going forward, CoCoRaHS hopes to continue to play a leading role in the evolution and growth of citizen science while contributing to research and operational meteorology and hydrology.

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John L. Campbell, Lindsey E. Rustad, Sarah Garlick, Noah Newman, John S. Stanovick, Ian Halm, Charles T. Driscoll, Brian L. Barjenbruch, Elizabeth Burakowski, Steven D. Hilberg, Kristopher J. Sanders, Jason C. Shafer, and Nolan J. Doesken

Abstract

Ice storms are important winter weather events that can have substantial environmental, economic, and social impacts. Mapping and assessment of damage after these events could be improved by making ice accretion measurements at a greater number of sites than is currently available. There is a need for low-cost collectors that can be distributed broadly in volunteer observation networks; however, use of low-cost collectors necessitates understanding of how collector characteristics and configurations influence measurements of ice accretion. A study was conducted at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in New Hampshire that involved spraying water over passive ice collectors during freezing conditions to simulate ice storms of different intensity. The collectors consisted of plates composed of four different materials and installed horizontally; two different types of wires strung horizontally; and rods of three different materials, with three different diameters, and installed at three different inclinations. Results showed that planar ice thickness on plates was 2.5–3 times as great as the radial ice thickness on rods or wires, which is consistent with expectations based on theory and empirical evidence from previous studies. Rods mounted on an angle rather than horizontally reduced the formation of icicles and enabled more consistent measurements. Results such as these provide much needed information for comparing ice accretion data. Understanding of relationships among collector configurations could be refined further by collecting data from natural ice storms under a broader range of weather conditions.

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