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Filling observational gaps with crowdsourced citizen science rainfall data from the Met Office Weather Observation Website

Lookup NU author(s): Tess O'Hara, Dr Fergus McCleanORCiD, Dr Elizabeth Lewis, Professor Hayley Fowler



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2023 IWA Publishing. All rights reserved. This paper demonstrates the potential for crowdsourced rainfall data to infill gaps in the official rain gauge network and to provide new datasets for use in research. We use data from the Met Office Weather Observation Website (WOW) over 10 years (2011-2020) to generate two open-source datasets for Britain; multi-parameter raw data in an easy-to-use format; and an hourly rainfall dataset. We have compiled and prepared the data and detail here station selection, rain depth calculation, and data resampling to hourly intervals to create a consistent dataset for further processing (including statistical quality control) and application. Mapping the new rainfall dataset establishes that WOW observations fill spatial gaps in the official ground-based rain gauge network over Britain, particularly in urban areas. This could be particularly useful for post-event analysis of rainfall that results in pluvial flash flooding. Here, we focus on Britain but due to agreements with meteorological services in Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand, Sweden, and the Republic of Ireland, plus many citizen scientists globally opting to share data via WOW, there is potential for the development of similar datasets using these methods around the world.

Publication metadata

Author(s): O'Hara T, McClean F, Herrera RV, Lewis E, Fowler HJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Hydrology Research

Year: 2023

Volume: 54

Issue: 4

Pages: 547-556

Print publication date: 01/04/2023

Online publication date: 28/03/2023

Acceptance date: 06/03/2023

Date deposited: 13/06/2023

ISSN (print): 1998-9563

ISSN (electronic): 2224-7955

Publisher: IWA Publishing


DOI: 10.2166/NH.2023.136


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