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Calling citizen scientists for hailstorm research


The University of Queensland is calling citizen scientists to measure hail stones this season for vital research.


Micah Tyler / EyeEm / Getty images

Researchers at the University of Queensland are calling citizen scientists to assist them in collecting vital hailstorm data during the upcoming storm season.

Hail reports and photos are crucial in steps toward creating the next generation of hailstorm warning systems. So, how can you help?

University of Queensland Hail Research
The team is asking citizen scientists to log information or post photos of hail stones with a comparison object such as a ruler. You can upload the information on their website, post the photo on Twitter with the hashtag #uqhail, or connect on their Facebook page.

Head researcher Dr Joshua Soderholm can't stress the importance of safety enough, and asks that people wait until a hailstorm has safely passed before going out to take photos.

The main hailstorm season in Queensland starts in October and continues into late November.

During this time, a UQ storm-chasing team will also be collecting data in South-East Queensland by using mobile weather radar vehicles to collect high resolution imagery of hailstorms, and hail and wind sensors to measure surface impact.

It is hopes that the data collected will enable the Bureau of Meteorology to improve hail and wind algorithms for their weather radars. Coastal storms in Australia are quite unique with extra humidity off the ocean, so more work is needed to improve weather information and reduce the number of false alarms.

Sarah Condie is a freelance writer based in Melbourne.
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