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Publication Date
6 September 2022

Feasibility of Adding Twitter Data to Aid Drought Depiction: Case Study in Colorado



The use of social media, such as Twitter, has changed the information landscape for citizens’ participation in crisis response and recovery activities. Given that drought progression is slow and also spatially extensive, an interesting set of questions arise, such as how the usage of Twitter by a large population may change during the development of a major drought alongside how the changing usage facilitates drought detection. For this reason, contemporary analysis of how social media data, in conjunction with meteorological records, was conducted towards improvement in the detection of drought and its progression. The research utilized machine learning techniques applied over satellite-derived drought conditions in Colorado. Three different machine learning techniques were examined: the generalized linear model, support vector machines and deep learning, each applied to test the integration of Twitter data with meteorological records as a predictor of drought development. It is found that the integration of data resources is viable given that the Twitter-based model outperformed the control run which did not include social media input. Eight of the ten models tested showed quantifiable improvements in the performance over the control run model, suggesting that the Twitter-based model was superior in predicting drought severity. Future work lies in expanding this method to depict drought in the western U.S.

Mukherjee, Sarbajit, S.-Y. Simon Wang, Daniella Hirschfeld, Joel Lisonbee, and Robert Gillies. 2022. “Feasibility Of Adding Twitter Data To Aid Drought Depiction: Case Study In Colorado”. Water 14: 2773. doi:10.3390/w14182773.
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