Lake Observations by Citizen Scientists & Satellites (LOCSS) is an effort to better understand how the volume of water in lakes is changing over time.  This NASA-funded project is a collaboration between the Department of Geological Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill, the UNC-Chapel Hill Institute for the Environment, University of Washington Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Tennessee Technological University Department of Computer Science. We have also sought advice from experts at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and the Wisconsin Citizen Lake Monitoring Network to set up this project.

We are working with a network of citizen scientists who are reporting lake height by reading simple lake gauges.  We are also using satellite images to determine the surface area of the lake. By knowing the changes in both lake height and lake surface area, researchers can understand how the volume of water in a given lake is changing over time.

There are tens of millions of lakes in the world, but probably only a few thousand of them are monitored.  This project presents and opportunity to harness the power of volunteers to gather data that a single research team would be unable to obtain.

We recently completed the prototype phase of this project, focusing on large, natural lakes in Eastern North Carolina.  We recently received additional funding to expand the project to new lakes and we need help from volunteer citizen scientists. Learn more about how you can Get Involved.

To learn more about the LOCSS team, visit our Contact Us page.