Driving Home the Point about Listening

Crescent City Pedicabbie, the taxi-blogger service here in New Orleans, writes:

The American Meteorological Society is holding their annual conventionin New Orleans this week. Late this afternoon I picked up a convention-goer, and as he settled into the seat, he asked me: “Is it going to rain this evening?”
I started to give him my best guess when I remembered who he was. I whirled around in my seat to look at him in disbelief. “Seriously? You’re asking ME?”
Looking back on the incident, I’m wondering if he was collecting data for the forecast. Maybe they factor the intuition of pedicabbies into it or something.

Well….yes, actually (and we don’t just listen to cabbies with elaborate theories). Take, for example, the abstract for a presentation here at the AMS Annual Meeting on Tuesday, by Marcel Molendijk, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) In the Netherlands, the 35 official weather observation stations provide plenty of density for purely meteorological information, but equally significantly, the density of development in such a small country also means the need for ground truth of weather impacts is equally great. So KNMI has initiated a new weather alerts system that solicits feedback from citizens through an iOS app for mobile devices. The user of the app selects preset conditions and can attach a photo. The software applies GPS location and time stamp and sends the information to the weather forecasters.
So indeed, pedicabbies are now in the weather observation game and their intuition–at least their observations–are much appreciated by the professionals. Thanks for driving that point home, CrescentCityPedicabbie.