The ISeeChange Tracker app, which was created in collaboration with NASA, will help communities document weather and climate trends and link them to new satellite-view visualizations of carbon dioxide provided by NASA’s OCO-2 satellite.
“We’ve made something utterly unique,” says ISeeChange’s Julia Kumari Drapkin. “It’s a way to combine stories and CO2 data that puts communities in charge of their own climate records.”
ISeeChange is asking users to do things like document heat islands, help count and report on trees or simply take pictures of their favorite landscapes or street flooding.
“Not every change is climate change,” Drapkin says. “But the more people document what’s happening in their backyards year to year, the better we’ll be able to establish baselines, see trends and target solutions to deal with it.”
Currently, NASA’s OCO-2 satellite is collecting carbon dioxide measurements across the planet—up to a million times per day. Now, as the satellite passes over certain areas of the country, ISeeChange app users will provide observations on their current environment. These photos and data are relayed to scientists, providing context to the satellite data, which may help them flag environmental inconsistencies and study complex climate trends.
“2015 ranked as the hottest year in recorded history, and some researchers think that we have entered the era where we will not see atmospheric carbon dioxide fall below 400 parts per million,” says Karen Yuen of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory Mission. “Along with NASA’s OCO-2 and our aggregation of data from users on the ground, we are providing that crucial data baseline to better document how the Earth is responding to increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”
ISeeChange will be partnering with community groups in Harlem, New Orleans and Los Angeles to pilot investigations using the new app. But anyone can download it and contribute to the project.
Want to see how ISeeChange works? As part of the project, we’ve partnered with citizen scientists across Pennsylvania to tell a number of stories about our changing weather and climate. Check out how climate change may be impacting the spread of Lyme disease, causing big spring temperature swings, or providing new habitat to species like black vultures.