Effect of The Great American Solar Eclipse on Local Weather: A Study on The GLOBE Citizen Science Data Set

Authors: Md. Ishfaq ur Rahman*, University of Toledo, Kevin Czajkowski, University of Toledo , Yitong Jiang, University of Toledo, Kristen Weaver, SSAI, Inc. & NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Topics: Climatology and Meteorology, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Citizen Science, Eclipse, Meteorology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/3/2019
Start / End Time: 2:35 PM / 4:15 PM
Room: Jackson, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The Great American Solar Eclipse passed over the United States on August 21, 2017. The first Total Solar Eclipse to be observed from American soil in more than 40 years. This extraordinary phenomenon was anticipated to make a significant impact on public’s interest in science. At the same time, this large-scale participation of public in scientific endeavor during this event opened a window of opportunity for a deeper understanding of the effect of solar eclipse on local weather; specifically, in the case of air temperature and changes in cloud. During the event, students and citizen scientists in Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment (GLOBE) program collected air temperature, cloud cover, and land surface temperature data prior to, during and after the eclipse on August 21. Over 4000 individuals participated in collecting over 100,000 observations throughout the day. The paper seeks to analyze the data set, especially in the case of cloud coverage, air temperature and surface temperature changes that occurred temporally and spatially in response to the eclipse. At the same time, the paper undertakes rigorous data validation scheme which is crucial for the advancement of future citizen science endeavors. Using the air temperature data set of the 2017 Eclipse, we compared the 700 GLOBE data with the data from 65 weather stations. It covers almost all GLOBE air temperature data that were within 15 km of a National Weather Service weather station between 15:35 and 19:35 UTC on the day of the eclipse.

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