‘The Crowd & The Cloud’ to feature CoCoRaHS citizen science

crowd and cloud logo

Updated June 12, 2017: Rocky Mountain PBS will air “The Crowd and the Cloud.” On Thursday, June 15, Episodes 1 and 2 will air back-to-back at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Mountain Time. Episodes 3 and 4 will air Thursday, June 22 at 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. 

A new, four-episode public television series, “The Crowd & The Cloud,” will highlight the Colorado Climate Center’s signature citizen science movement, the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network – better known as CoCoRaHS. The Colorado Climate Center is part of Colorado State University.

“The Crowd & The Cloud” will air on public television’s World Channel at 7 p.m. Mountain  (9 p.m. Eastern), Thursday, April 6. Check the World channel website for local availability. Starting April 1, all episodes will be available online. CoCoRaHS will be featured in episode 1. 

Hosted by Waleed Abdalati, director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at University of Colorado-Boulder, the series explores and celebrates the revolutionary power of citizen science. Together, average citizens collecting data en masse can help efforts to combat flooding, drought, pollution and more. Watch a trailer.

Gauging rain

CoCoRaHS, a network of more than 20,000 precipitation spotters, was founded by the Colorado Climate Center in 1998 following a devastating flood in Fort Collins. To participate, citizens young and old use backyard rain gauges to report daily measurements on the CoCoRaHS website. The data collected by CoCoRaHS observers have been used by meteorologists, natural resource planners, farmers, fishermen, insurance adjusters, and many more.

“CoCoRaHS started as a local effort to help scientists study storms and precipitation patterns here in northern Colorado,” says Nolan Doesken, Colorado State Climatologist and CoCoRaHS founder. “It has since expanded into an international program with thousands of passionate, dedicated citizens, and together we have had a real and profound effect on publicly available weather information and how we understand everything from floods to drought.”

All “Cloud & Crowd” episodes will stream on the series website starting April 1, and the show’s social media team will live-tweet during its April 6 premiere using #CrowdCloudLIVE. Join producer Geoff Haines-Stiles, series host Abdalati, Doesken and other CoCoRaHS staff on Facebook at 8 p.m. Mountain (10 p.m. Eastern) for a post-premiere roundtable discussion.

Short videos

Producers of “The Crowd and the Cloud” created short videos to support CoCoRaHS’ “March Madness,” campaign, in which states compete for the largest numbers of new observers.

CoCoRaHS educator coordinator Noah Newman explains the basics of precipitation monitoring. 

Colorado Climate Center researcher Zach Schwalbe explains how CoCoRaHS observers report hail. 

The story of a longtime CoCoRaHS observer in Midland, Texas.