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Web Weather 2.0: Improving Weather Information with User-Generated Observations

Introducing web weather 2.0, this paper suggests that active participation by civil society may arise through sharing of environmental data through observations of weather and other measurable variables in the environment performed by individuals. Collecting data from individuals is here suggested for improving weather data currently used by weather research centers and practitioners. Extending these current sets of weather data by using web 2.0 may address some issues stated by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) regarding spatial and temporal resolutions of meteorological data including knowledge on different processes between the air and other environmental systems. To test the concept of web weather 2.0, the usability of weather data collected from individuals and the expected quantities of such data need to be determined. In addition, collection methods should be developed. Aiming at the design of an artifact that can meet these needs, this paper presents some important steps of the design process of a “share weather” system, including several demonstrations and experiments performed on different user groups, i.e. school children performing weather observations as a part of their daily tasks and education, and adults interested in weather due to their daily dependence on traffic conditions. This paper provides new knowledge about user-generated observations of weather, including quality and motivation to contribute, and guidance on how future systems for collection of environmental data from individuals may be created. After testing the feasibility of the designed “share weather” artifact, we conclude that the potential role of individuals in producing valuable information beneficial to society should be considered within several branches of environmental sciences as well as policy-making.