April is Citizen Science Month, and as such we will be highlighting various citizen science projects, tips, tricks and resources for the next four weeks! To kick off our celebration of citizen science we want to share an exciting opportunity to work with archival documents from "across the pond"to predict sea level rise - the UK Tides Project.
In the mid-1800s, on a small island called Hilbre Island, off the coast of England, lifeboat rescuers kept records of the tides every 15 minutes.These almost 200 year old handwritten ledgers are now a potential source of data for climate scientists seeking to predict how sea levels may rise. According to an NPR article, "sea level rise is accelerating around the globe, likely to displace millions of people who live in coastal communities. Forecasts show between 3 and 6 feet of rise by the end of the century, or potentially more, depending on how much heat-trapping pollution humans emit." This is a huge problem for many coastal communities, including our own home, Hawai'i.
In order to make these hardcopy data sheets more accessible to the scientists all over the world there is an ongoing effort to digitize them headed by Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL), British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC), and National Oceanography Centre (NOC). The over 16,000 pages of tidal data proved to be too much for this small group of scientists to complete in a timely manner, and computer transcriptions of old handwriting can be hit or miss. As a result, these organizations decided to post on Zooniverse, a "people-powered research" hub that engages anyone and everyone in citizen science projects. More information about the UK Tides Project and how to get involved can be found on the Zooniverse website. Get out there and do your part!