When you are a kid you often stumble upon these stories of pirates seeking a hidden chest in a remote island. The pirates embark on an adventure full of perils to find the treasure using the coordinates of a worn map. I always found fascinating how these numbers, degrees, minutes and seconds, could pinpoint a location on Earth’s crust and provide the pirates with a valuable bounty. Reality is a bit more prosaic and over time, geographers have sophisticated the way we represent geographic information.
If you reached here by chance, just be sure of reading the first part of the post first, in which we explain why a Drought Monitor is necessary. In this second part, you can find a longer description of the technical aspects of the development of this prototype.
Technicalities This section does not intend to be an exhaustive description of the processing required to develop the prototype, but to provide a high level description.
The Netherlands is a country in a constant battle with increasing water levels, especially since the 14th century. Canals, dykes, and polders are part of the landscape and intrinsically rooted in the Dutch culture. You would expect that rainfall is ensured in this northern European country, that is why everything is so green and shiny, right? Well, this might (gradually) not be the case anymore, because climate change seems to have altered the regional precipitation patterns that have showered this country for centuries.
I am working in a project in which I am using the weather observations produced by the WOW-NL network of citizen weather stations (CWS). The goal is to assess whether these CWS produce high-resolution weather observations that can contribute to the official workflows for weather forecast. Only for the province of Utrecht, my first pocket-size study area, observations are produced by the millions. Literally. Three years of sampling conform a set of 11.