Crowdsourcing Climate: Citizen Science and the National Climate Assessment
Citizen science—or the engagement of volunteers in scientific investigations—is a fast-growing field. By collecting data on natural phenomena such as the timing of bird migrations and plant flowering—sometimes from their own backyard—citizen scientists provide essential baseline information about key environmental indicators, in addition to strengthening their own awareness of and connection to their local environment. Citizen science has long been an important component of scientific endeavors and public engagement at USGCRP agencies such as DOI (particularly NPS and USGS), EPA, NOAA, NASA, NSF, and SI. As such, it presents a powerful opportunity for engaging the public in the sustained National Climate Assessment (see Section 2.3).
In cooperation with the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and the Federal Community of Practice for Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science, USGCRP recently held a public roundtable and an expert workshop to explore how citizen science can help to track indicators of