Citizen Science Wind Observations in The Netherlands

10 februari 2020

Early career researchers from KNMI (RDKW and the DataLab), WUR, TU Delft and UU met at KNMI last Thursday to discuss citizen science wind observations in The Netherlands

Citizen science observations are weather measurements that are collected by amature weather enthusiasts. KNMI measures many meteorological parameters, including temperature, precipitation and wind, using methods that comply with World Meteorological Organisation standards. This means that the measurements are taken in a very specific way. For example, for wind measurements, the measurement device must be placed at 10m in an open field that is surrounded by short grass (Figure 1). On the other hand, citizen science observations are placed by amateurs in any number of locations, such as gardens or on a roof (Figure 2). While it is assumed that citizen science data is often of lower quality, the large data volumes from previously unobserved locations (e.g. in between the official KNMI stations or in cities) means that they can be of value for KNMI.

A figure showing the layout of an official KNMI automatic weather station in an open field
The positioning of an official KNMI station in an open field (Photo: Geuko Boog)
A citizen science station that is placed on a roof
The location of a citizen science measurement device on a roof in Utrecht

Arjan Droste is a PhD student who works with Dr Gert-Jan Steeneveld at The Meteorology and Air Quality Group at Wageningen University. He visited KNMI on Thursday to present his work on the quality control and bias correction of citizen science observations in Amsterdam. Arjan shows that after removing unrealistically low values, accounting for errors due to precipitation and bias correction that the amateur observations are comparable to WUR’s urban observing network, the “Amsterdam Atmospheric Monitoring Supersite”.

“Urban meteorology is important. We need to know what is going on in a city and at the moment we don’t because there are only a few observing sites in cities. The Netatmo network can fill an important gaps in our knowledge” Arjan Droste 

Arjan visited KNMI to meet with Jieyu Chen, two of her supervisors Dr Kirien Whan (RDWK) and Dr Kate Saunders (TU Delft), and Dr Irene Garcia-Marti (KNMI DataLab). Jieyu is currently enrolled in the Mathematical Sciences master program at Utrecht University (also supervised by Professor Jason Frank). She is working at KNMI on advanced quality control and bias-correction methods for wind observations from the KNMI’s WOW network of citizen science stations. 

“Preliminary results are very promising and demonstrate that citizen science observations can be useful after quality control” Jieyu Chen.

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