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Cell Phone App Delivers Precision Rainfall Information to Public

Climate researchers and weather forecasters get their rain data from a network of precipitation-sensing satellites that orbit Earth. iRain, a new mobile phone app developed by engineers at the University of California, Irvine puts the same precision rainfall information into the pockets of the public.

The free app, available for iPhone and Android devices, provides timely satellite rain data via UCI's globally recognized weather tracking and analysis system. iRain also allows users to enter their own rain or snowfall observations – heavy, moderate, light, none – to join a globe-spanning cadre of citizen hydrologists.

"The beauty of iRain is that it's an access point for an entire system that detects, tracks, and studies precipitation on our planet," says lead developer Phu Nguyen, assistant adjunct professor of civil & environmental engineering. "We process the data from satellites and offer it to the end user, free of charge. As far as I know, we're the only institution offering such a device."

Features of the mobile app include a tool that displays the top 50 current extreme weather events around the world, animations that show varying levels of rainfall intensity and movement, a function to choose different time spans, and a tool to zoom in to a local area.


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