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The National Eclipse Weather Experiment: an assessment of citizen scientist weather observations

Barnard, L., Portas, A. M., Gray, S. L. and Harrison, R. G. (2016) The National Eclipse Weather Experiment: an assessment of citizen scientist weather observations. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 374 (2077). 20150220. ISSN 1364-503X (themed issue: Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse)

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2015.0220

Abstract/Summary

The National Eclipse Weather Experiment (NEWEx) was a citizen science project designed to assess the effects of the 20 March 2015 partial solar eclipse on the weather over the United Kingdom (UK). NEWEx had two principal objectives: to provide a spatial network of meteorological observations across the UK to aid the investigation of eclipse induced weather changes; and to develop a nationwide public engagement activity based participation of citizen scientists. In total NEWEx collected 15606 observations of air temperature, cloudiness, and wind speed and direction from 309 locations across the UK, over a 3 hour window spanning the eclipse period. The headline results were processed in near real-time, immediately published on-line, and featured in UK national press articles on the day of the eclipse. Here we describe the technical development of NEWEx and how the observations provided by the citizen scientists were analysed. By comparing the results of the NEWEx analyses with results from other investigations of the same eclipse using different observational networks, including measurements from the University of Reading’s Atmospheric Observatory, we demonstrate that NEWEx provided a fair representation of the change in the UK meteorological conditions throughout the eclipse. Despite the simplicity of the approach adopted, robust reductions in both temperature and wind speed during the eclipse were observed.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:65896
Additional Information:Theme issue ‘Atmospheric effects of solar eclipses stimulated by the 2015 UK eclipse’ compiled and edited by R. Giles Harrison and Edward Hanna
Publisher:Royal Society Publishing

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