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Forecasters Needed

by Terri Gregory, SSEC Public Information Specialist
August 1998

Also In
the News...

Over the Airwaves

On the 'Net


New and Cool

In the News The Wisconsin Folklife Festival is looking for volunteer “weather weenies” for help, and SSEC researchers are stepping to the plate. According to Wisconsin Arts Board's Ann Pryor, the festival will need “weather updates during all four days … , August 20-23. We'd be interested in knowing the general forecast for each day, as well as receiving a direct call when severe weather was imminent. Having such information would help us greatly in shutting down the festival in a timely way if required. The festival will be sited in both James Madison Park and on the south side of the Capitol. The hours are generally 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. with a dance party in James Madison until 7 p.m.” We don’t know if this is the first time a major state-sponsored public event has officially called upon the university for help with the weather, but it is a first for SSEC who employs many meteorologists as weather researchers. Several of them have worked as forecasters, too, and even those who haven’t are eager to put their expertise to work for festival goers. The Folklife Festival is the same event that took place in Washington, D.C. in June to celebrate Wisconsin’s sesquicentennial. Read this column next month for a report on the success of both the festival and the forecasts.

For more information, follow the links below.

Over the Airwaves

Catch Weather Guys Steve Ackerman (SSEC) and Jon Martin (Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences) in their second appearance on Larry Meiller's call-in show on WHA 970 AM (in Madison-local Wisconsin public radio stations may differ). On August 26 at 11 a.m., Jon and Steve will cover various weather topics and will answer questions from the listening audience.

A special German television program on weather forecasting's dependence on geostationary satellites featured weather satellite statesmen from all over the world, including Paul Menzel, chief of the NOAA research team stationed at SSEC. The program primarily focused on Meteosat and the European weather agency, Eumetsat.

On the 'Net

For More Information

Coll. of Engineering Headlines

Synchrotron Radiation Center

Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Max Lagally credits astrophysicist Wilt Sanders (SSEC and Space Physics Group) with an idea which led to new research in the damage and repair of cell nuclei. The College of Engineering's Headlines Web site reports that geneticists used the UW-Madison Synchrotron Radiation Center's soft X-ray source to irradiate one-micron stripes of cell nuclei through a mask. The multilayer mirror beamline at the SRC may be the only beamline in the world with the proper characteristics to conduct these experiments. (A beamline is a sort of light pipe that enables a particular spectrum of light to shine on the experiments attached to the end of it.) Max Lagally, SRC's Jim MacKay, and Medical School researchers Mike Gould, Paul deLuca and T. Rockwell Mackie used SRC's soft X-ray source and micro-fabricated irradiation masks to induce DNA damage in the nuclei of cells treated with radiation. Then the Medical School's John Petrini, working with PhD candidates Ben Nelms and Rick Maser, used the soft X-rays and mask to show special repair proteins moving immediately from their home bases to remote gene damage sites.

The beamline exists at least partly, Max said, because “[Wilt] Sanders asked if we would consider growing some multilayer films for him for X-ray optics. He was part of a large project to build a soft-X-ray spectrometer to fly on a future space shuttle.” Eventually, Wilt’s mission (with then Principal Investigator Bill Kraushaar) flew on the Space Shuttle Endeavour in January 1993 as the Diffuse X-ray Spectrometer. Wilt made his original request in the early 1980s. The Challenger disaster intervened to delay the project and the DXS was made without multilayer mirrors, but by this time, the Synchrotron Radiation Center had built its diffraction beamline. In 1995 and ’96 the beamline was used to “measure the quality and uniformity of transmission filters for a spectrometer to be flown by NASA.” Lagally says the beamline was the only instrument in the world capable of making those measurements.

Convection And Moisture EXperiment



SSEC researchers will participate in the third Convection And Moisture EXperiment (CAMEX) which focuses on hurricane development. The SSEC Atmospheric Emitted Radiance Interferometer (AERI) travels to the Bahamas for the experiment while the Scanning High resolution Interferometer Sounder (S-HIS) flies out of Patrick AFB, Florida on NASA’s DC-8 aircraft. Scientists hope to learn more about how hurricanes are formed and grow by studying water vapor and rainfall development. CAMEX-3 lasts from August 5 till the end of September.

The GOES Gallery of interesting satellite images features tranverse cirrus bands on the northern edge of a storm moving across the Great Plains. Transverse cirrus bands are seen as sets of cirrus clouds grouped closely parallel to each other and are often satellite signatures of high-altitude turbulence. Indeed, several reports of moderate turbulence were received from aircraft flying between 33,000 and 39,000 feet across eastern South Dakota, southern Minnesota, and northwestern Wisconsin as these cloud bands formed.
Eagle Heights Gardens

Bob Gifford, a graduate student with John Anderson (SSEC Associate Director), manages a Web site for Eagle Heights Community Gardens. The gardens are adjacent to UW-Madison’s Eagle Heights Student Apartments and close to Picnic Point. The Web site is noted in Bookmarks, a column in DoIT Now, May 1998. Bookmarks stated that the “site is a great example of using the Web as a tool for an already existing cooperative environment.”

Teaching and Outreach

For More Information

Web site for DPS 1998

Madison and the Space Science and Engineering Center are hosting the 30th Annual Meeting of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society. Space Outlook, newsletter of the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, advertises the event in its July 1998 issue in a full-page spread. Sanjay Limaye is SSEC’s coordinator for the event, to be held at the Monona Terrace Convention Center from October 11–16.

Summer Workshop

Space Outlook also lists the past year’s awards given by the WSGC. Steve Ackerman received an Aerospace Outreach award for the CIMSS summer workshop in atmospheric, earth, and space science. This year the workshop, held at UW–Madison from August 3-6 for Wisconsin high school students and their teachers, focuses on using the Earth Observing System.

Sanjay Limaye also received an outreach award for Space Exploration 1998, a public exhibition to be given during the DPS meeting in October. The exhibition will include displays, models and posters related to recent solar system exploration. Schools are encouraged to schedule tours through the DPS Web site.

Milwaukee Public Schools


Milwaukee Public Schools held a briefing for the governor and state media for their “virtual summer school” program, featuring Sanjay Limaye’s Space Exploration Program, on July 30. Sanjay and Rose Pertzborn gave the program to Milwaukee middle school students and teachers in July. Rose and Sanjay’s program featured the Mars Rover model, which teams of students built from special Legos and wired to roam about on the surface of their own Mars habitat.

New and Cool

For More Information

CIMSS GOES Biomass Burning Monitoring Program

The updated CIMSS Biomass Burning Monitoring Page presents current fire products for South America, including an on-line archive of monitoring results for 1995 and 1997. The site focuses on fire changes throughout the day and features other interesting uses of monitoring biomass burning with geostationary satellites. In the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, the biomass burning monitor team consists of Elaine Prins, Joleen Feltz, and Paul Menzel.
Direct comments, questions, and information about other SSEC media appearances to Terri Gregory, SSEC's Public Information Specialist. For information about past media appearances, visit SSEC In the News page.