Your Instagram pictures can help scientists track climate change

Researchers ask snappers to use #iseechange hashtag

Environmental researchers are expanding a program that aims to document climate change by tapping into social media apps like Instagram and Twitter.

The project, which shares its name with the hashtag #ISeeChange, was launched in 2013 by environmental journalist Julia Kumari Drapkin. Now, however, it is expanding across the world with partnerships with Nasa and eight US radio stations.

The concept, which British readers will recognise from the BBC's Springwatch series, is to ask people who notice oddities in nature to film or photograph them. Climate researchers can then use that data in their analysis. If you'd like to help, all you need to do is tag anything strange you see in daily life that could be related to climate change with #ISeeChange.

The idea is to get people to start paying attention to the tiny hints that nature provides in our daily lives, Drapkin told Gizmodo. "It's the little changes—the details we see on our regular walks, in our homes, the small talk at the post office or the corner store—that can add up to big, big differences."

The venture is just one in a long line of research projects to tap into the power of social media. German geoscientists are using YouTube to track water level changes in Saudi caves, and the tweets of Indonesian citizens have been used to monitor flooding in Jakarta.