Citizen Science Impacts

Eyes of the Storm: How Citizen Scientists Contribute to Government Forecasting and Risk Communication

Brooke Fisher Liu, Anita Atwell Seate, Irina Iles, Emina Herovic


Since the 1970s, the National Weather Service has trained citizens to collect, confirm, verify, or supplement radar and other data to contribute to a weather-ready nation. This study examines citizens who volunteer as weather spotters through a case study of an award-winning network. We uncover what motivates citizens to become involved in government science projects. Through the lens of relationship management theory and the related network approach, the study provides some of the first evidence on the benefits and drawbacks of citizens serving as amateur scientists and risk communicators and how these citizen scientists sustain their relationships with government scientists.