A New Era for Cyclone Center

It’s June 1 again, which means two things.  First, it’s the beginning of what is called “meteorological summer” in the Northern Hemisphere.  And second, it is the official beginning of the tropical cyclone season in the North Atlantic Ocean.  So it’s one of the featured days on weather geeks calendars, and for hurricane fanatics, it’s time to prepare for what’s coming at us this season.

Today also marks a special day for the organization that hosts our Cyclone Center project – Zooniverse.  They announced the launch of their 100th citizen science project, a space-based endeavor called “Galaxy Nurseries”.  You may not know that Cyclone Center was the 13th project launched by Zooniverse back in September 2012.  You may also not know that we still need your classifications, now perhaps more then ever.

cropped-sinlaku.jpgOur project has been identified as a potential contributor to a global “reanalysis” of tropical cyclone strength.  Basically, it is impossible to get a true measurement of the winds in these storms, so agencies who track them sometimes come up with very different estimates of what they are.  This leads to numerous inconsistencies in historical records, which makes studies of issues like how storms react to climate change difficult.   A “reanalysis” is a project which re-evaluates all of the data available for all of these storms to arrive at a common wind speed.  Cyclone Center has been identified as an potentially important part of this effort, since we have been calculating tropical cyclone wind speeds for storms around the globe for the last 5 years, thanks to your help.

We will share a good example of this in another post.  For now, we really need to increase our efforts to complete our analysis of global tropical cyclones.  So far, we’ve collected nearly 700,000 classifications.  We need approximately 2,000,000 total to complete our data collection and be ready to contribute to the reanalysis.  Please help us out by doing just a couple dozen classifications each day.  We’re standing by to interact with you on the site and answer any questions you may have about the process.

Thank you!

-Chris

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