One Drop at a Time

Dr. Tamlin Pavelsky, associate professor of global hydrology in the department of geology, has built a career on measuring rivers and lakes. With support from NASA, he is teaming up with our Environmental Resource Program to combine his data with citizen scientists to gain a more accurate picture of water storage in lakes across North Carolina. He hopes to create a prototype citizen-science program, enlisting North Carolinians to help collect height measurements on 15 lakes in the eastern part of the state. These measurements will help discern regional water-storage variations and illustrate how water moves through the Earth’s systems. If the prototype succeeds, NASA will fund worldwide implementation.

“By tapping into people’s interest in science all over the world, we get a lot more data that can validate assumptions,” said Kathleen Gray, director of the Environmental Resource Program. “The beauty of the citizen science model is you have many more data collectors. We are no longer limited by one researcher and what his or her team can do.”