Social media may help scientists better catalog and understand climate impacts at the local level, a new paper demonstrates.
Research published this week in the journal Nature Communications shows that sunny-day flooding in major cities along the East and Gulf coasts of the US could be happening more frequently than tidal gauges suggest.
To gather the data, researchers monitored complaints of flooding on Twitter. They found that user tweets about tidal flooding filled in the gaps left by gauge stations and helped identify flooding that the stations may have missed.
“Most of what we know about coastal flooding is how it affects people through major disasters. We know less about nuisance floods, recurring, short-duration floods,” lead researcher Katherine Mach told Quartz. “Understanding how high-tide floods directly impact people is a really challenging issue that has been intractable so far.”