Americas space agency wants you to head for the mountains with a smartphone and a measuring stick.

NASAs earth science arm is funding research that recruits citizen scientists on skis Devin Bush Jersey , snowshoes and snowmobiles to measure snow depth in backcountry locations of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

Their measurements will be incorporated into computer models that calculate how much water will end up in the regions rivers and reservoirs.

Early results have been promising.

Our initial model runs show that citizen science measurements are doing an amazing job of improving our simulations, said David Hill, an Oregon State University professor of civil engineering, who is collaborating with Alaska and University of Washington researchers. They received one of 16 NASA citizen science grants for the project.

The snowpack measurements are incorporated into computer models estimating snow-water equivalent, the amount of liquid water contained in snow cover, of a watershed.

In western states, according to NASA, nearly three-fourths of annual stream flow that provides drinking water comes from spring and summer melt.

NASA in February began a multiyear research project to improve the accuracy of its snow measurements with partners in Europe and Canada, trying to solve challenges such as detecting snow through trees.

The grant awarded to Hill, Anthony Arendt of the University of Washington and Gabriel Wolken, a research geologist with the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys, is not directly connected to that project but has a mutual interest, said Kevin Murphy, a program executive for science data systems at NASA headquarters.

We decided about two years ago to start this program, which really looks at how can we harness the creativity and the capabilities of citizens to augment a lot of our satellite or aircraft measurements Diontae Johnson Jersey , Murphy said.

Snow telemetry stations maintained by the U.S. Agriculture Department are another important tool for measuring snow in high-elevation and other hard-to-access places, Hill said. The unmanned stations collect data using a system of automated sensors.

But too few of them exist, Hill said. Theyre expensive to install, theyre expensive to maintain, so there just arent that many.

The citizen snow-measuring program, Community Snow Observations , aims to supplement that with people.

We want to turn the public into these mobile snow telemetry stations, he said. You just need a probe to do it.

The measuring device can be as rudimentary as a yardstick, Hill said, but most people venturing into mountains already carry an avalanche probe, a 5- to 6-meter stick that folds down like a tent pole. After an avalanche, the probes are used to feel for buried people. Probes typically carry measurement markings.

You want to know when you actually find that person how deep they are, Hill said. Theyre really just a big, long ruler.

For the citizen science program, an online tutorial tells participants to find undisturbed snow Justin Layne Jersey , push the probe firmly to the ground, read the depth in centimeters and enter the data onto a smartphone app. Participants are asked to repeat that several times and average the measurements.

The app records the location and time of the measurement and uploads the information. The program accounts for measurements in continental climate locations with light, dry snow or the wet, dense snow of maritime climates.

Initial measurements were made last winter in Alaskas Thompson Pass north of Valdez, where other snow research was being conducted.

I recruited some of the folks from Valdez Avalanche Center. They brought friends along, said Wolken, the Alaska research geologist. That was our first go at getting sort of a grassroots, citizen science team.

The hundreds of measurements collected far outpaced what the scientists could gather themselves. When NASA announced grants for citizen scientist projects, the researchers jumped to apply, Wolken said.

Preliminary calculations have been striking, Hill said, and the subject of a paper written by a doctoral student.

He has results that basically show that the errors in our modeled snow-water equivalent are cut by about 90 percent with this input from public, Hill said. Were thrilled about that.

Other NASA grants in the program will use citizen scientists to collect data on mosquito populations and their breeding environments around the world, water depths in lakes in North Carolina and elsewhere, moisture in soil at various locations Benny Snell Jr. Jersey , changes in giant kelp across the globe, and images of clouds from the ground in Colorado.

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) Theres been so much attention showered on halfback Saquon Barkley, its easy to forget the New York Giants have been getting contributions from some other rookies.Will Hernandez, the second-round pick, has started all 12 games at left guard and helped Barkley get within 46 yards of a 1,000-yard rushing season.The guy who gets overlooked is defensive lineman B.J. Hill, the third-round pick out of North Carolina State who was the 69th player chosen in the draft.Hill, who started two of the first seven games, has been a mainstay in the lineup since New York traded defensive tackle Damon Harrison to Detroit in October.When he came in, the thing that stood out the most, is that hes ahead of his time in terms of his maturity level, defensive coordinator James Bettcher said Thursday.In the meeting room, on the practice field, the way he works Zach Gentry Jersey , the conversation, you can rip his butt, you can coach him hard, lift him up, he can handle all that beyond what many rookies Ive been around have been able to.Bettcher also is impressed Hill is not hitting the wall late in the season. He is actually playing better.A North Carolina State product, Hill had a career game this past weekend against the Chicago Bears with three tackles and three sacks. He has a team-high five sacks, which ties the team rookie record set by linebacker Andy Headen in 1983 and tied by tackle Cornelius Griffin in 2000.Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor had 9½ sacks as a rookie in 1981, but that was a year before sacks became an official statistic, so it is not officially the record.No Giants rookie has ever finished a season leading the team in sacks.It feels pretty good, Hill said of getting a sack, which he compared to a receiver scoring a touchdown. I am not going to lie, especially since we won the game. It was an amazing feeling, especially when you have the guys celebrating with you and congratulating you.Hill is different than most rookies. He is quiet, mature and not very flashy. There was no elaborate sack dance after any of his takedowns of Bears quarterback Chase Daniel.The Giants had 14 sacks in their first 11 games and picked up five Sunday, with linebacker Olivier Vernon getting the other two.I just think the team is coming together and were playing as one now Nick Bosa Jersey , Hill said. You can see the way we are playing, the way we practice, the way we go about ourselves on a day-to-day basis.The biggest adjustment Hill has had to make is living in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan area. There are many more people than in North Carolina and there is no comparing the traffic.Hill played on one of the best defensive lines in college last year. The Wolfpack had Bradley Chubb the No. 5 pick overall by Denver Justin Jones, who also was taken in the third round by the Chargers, and Kentavius Street, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Niners.Chubb leads all rookies with 10 sacks. He also took note of Hills accomplishment on Sunday.He did text me congratulations, Hill said.Notes: The Giants decided not to activate veteran RB Jonathan Stewart from injured reserve. He was designated to return from a foot injury (Sept. 28) and has practiced the past three weeks. S Landon Collins was officially placed on injured reserve. He needs shoulder surgery to fix a partially torn labrum incurred Sunday. S Michael Thomas was selected as the Giants nominee for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. The award is for outstanding community service activities off the field as well as excellence on the field. TE Evan Engram (hamstring), WR Sterling Shepard (ribs) and LB Lorenzo Carter (hip) practiced full Thursday after being limited on Wednesday. LBs Tae Davis (foot) missed his second straight practice, while LB B.J. Goodson (neck/foot) was limited.