Researchers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes and Monash University School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment have developed a new app, WeatheX. Available on IOS and Android, WeatheX aims to engage citizen scientists to report and photograph observations of hail, strong winds, tornadoes and flooding.

The very nature of storm events often makes them difficult to precisely forecast, and sparse observation networks seldom capture the full picture as they unfold. Climate and weather models struggle to reproduce regional rainfall because of the lack of detailed observations to help inform our understanding of cloud physics.

The app records information including the location and type of weather event, and photos with identifying features such as number plates removed. Researchers say that simply getting these observations from a network of citizen scientists will help climate researchers tackle some of the biggest challenges in the field.

Information collected by the app is collated into a database where researchers can analyse the movement, development, changes and impact of an observed storm system as it happens.

Image: Measuring hail diameter following a severe thunderstorms for the WeatheX app.
Credit: Joshua Soderholm.