Invisible Labor in Weather and Climate Infrastructures by Citizen Weather Observers

Authors: Jude Ntabathia*,
Topics: Political Geography, Environment, Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: weather, citizen science, STS
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 12:40 PM / 2:20 PM
Room: Empire Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Citizen weather observers and weather observation groups have had a long history of collecting, sharing and visualizing weather data. Such citizen weather observers are a vital cog within global knowledge infrastructures though removed and alienated from weather and climatic modeling procedures(Edwards, 2013). Despite their alienation, the rise of platform capitalism through platforms such as Weather Underground or Aeris Weather have provided another avenue through which weather observers can participate(Srnicek, 2017). The provision of alternative forecasting models, visualization techniques amongst other functionalities by such platforms draw in weather observers in exchange for collecting weather data. Through this paper, we highlight the invisible labor by participants as they navigate across these different platforms and the motivations as to why they may use some platforms over others. Through interviews, we explore how the specific obstacles of computation friction, data friction, and metadata friction affect weather observation labor practices and how they navigate such challenges(Edwards, 2013). Such studies can help us understand relations between citizen and environmental infrastructures.

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