Precipitation Logbook Generator
Authors: Michael Crimmins
Working with Shiny for 1+ years
Abstract: The Precipitation Logbook Generator was developed to generate supporting reference climate information to be used with simple accumulation gauges, often deployed in remote locations. The tool generates a customizable tracking chart that details the climatological rate of precipitation accumulation over a specified period of time for any location in the continental U.S. This reference chart can be used to assess how wet or dry observed rain gauge values are relative to the climatological record at that location.
Full Description: Precipitation is the key variable in assessing drought status and tracking changes in drought conditions. Tracking precipitation, though, can be a challenging task in remote areas. One strategy is to deploy rain gauges that can be checked occasionally by reading the gauge directly (reading depth of accumulated rain) or downloading data collected by a datalogger. An additional challenge is to put these observations into a longer-term context and assessing whether or not they represent drought conditions.
This tool creates a reference precipitation climatology for any location by leveraging a spatially continuous, gridded, long-term dataset of daily precipitation estimates for all locations in the continental United States. The reference climatology can be created for any time frame within the year (e.g. summer season) and produces a chart of the typical (i.e. median) cumulative precipitation pattern as well as extremely wet or dry values based on historical data (1981-2018 historical period). A downloadable, printable table is also produced for tracking and manually recording observations in the field. Together the chart and table create a custom logbook for that rain gauge location. When an observation is made in the field, the entry for that date can be compared to the typical and extreme historical values to provide context and inform a possible management decision. For example, if the reference chart and table indicate that an observation is unusually dry for that date and location it could support triggering management actions specified in a drought plan.
The app also makes the raw data used in the calculation of the precipitation statistics available for exploration on the 'Explore the Data' tab. Individual years of cumulative daily precipitation for the specified season are displayed on interactive plots that can be used to identify extreme years and track near-real-time values. A map that shows the extent of the climate grid as well for reference to the chosen location.
Keywords: Precipitation, climate, drought, data visualization
Shiny app: https://uaclimateextension.shinyapps.io/precipChart/
RStudio Cloud: https://rstudio.cloud/project/1010328