Monthly News Summary – February 2010

WeatherFest Educates and Excites Tomorrow’s Weather Scientists

On Sunday, 17 January 2010, the day before the official opening of the AMS Convention, the 8th Annual WeatherFest interactive science fair charmed the young and old of Atlanta. Volunteers greeted a larger-than-expected crowd of over 5,000 weather enthusiasts, welcoming them to experience more than 65 interactive meteorology, oceanography and related science exhibits.

Margaret Mooney, Tom Whittaker and Luke Schiferl ran the SSEC booth, helping crowds of fascinated children (and their parents) navigate several SSEC-created, weather-related applets on two kiosk-mode touch monitors. The biggest hit was the 3-D globe (programmed by Rick Kohrs) displaying the Earth’s climate and weather systems.

Tom Whittaker guides young scientists using interactive applets illustrating weather dynamics.

Rick Kohrs (upper right) at WeatherFest.

Enthusiastic children and their pleased parents crowded around the SSEC booth to experience the applets and the Globe, making SSEC’s participation in WeatherFest a complete success.

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SSEC Shines at the American Meteorological Society 90th Annual Conference

The American Meteorological Society’s 90th Annual Conference convened on 17-21 January 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. Organized around the theme “Weather, Climate, and Society: New Demands on Science and Services,” the massive event drew over 2500 of the world’s leading atmospheric scientists and over 100 organizations, all eager to showcase their advances in science, data, products, publications, and services.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison Space Science and Engineering Center (SSEC) made a strong showing with over 40 participants and over 50 presentations and posters.

WeatherFest (see related story about SSEC’s participation in this community-oriented event) opened the festivities on Sunday afternoon. Downtown Atlanta was wreathed in a glowing mist that evening, but Monday dawned clear and crisp. While seminars ran all day, the Exhibit Hall was buzzing with booth set-up and preparations.

At 5:30, the blue ribbon was cut and the Exhibit Hall officially opened. The hall was packed with the aromas of the buffets amid the glad greetings and excited conversations of exhibitors and attendees.

Displaying both the colorful 3D globe and large screens filled with McIDAS-V data analysis, the SSEC booth was lively with discussion and demonstration.

The weather outside remained clear for the next few days (a little rain on Wednesday) while SSEC scientists and researchers made the case for advanced instrumentation in satellite studies, participated in poster sessions, gave informative seminars, and demonstrated new uses of software and hardware.

“Convention Initiation”

Jessica Staude demonstrates McIDAS-V at the SSEC booth.

Rick Kohrs demonstrates the 3D globe at the SSEC booth.

Hank Revercomb and Paul Menzel delineate the value of infra-red sounders for future satellite missions.

Hank Revercomb and Paul Menzel have a spirited discussion with Gary Davis, the Director of the Office of Systems Development for NESDIS and NOAA, concerning the future of advanced instrumentation on upcoming satellite launches.

Jessica Staude explains the strengths of the new McIDAS-V data analysis software.

Andrew Heidinger describes expected operational cloud observations improvements in upcoming polar orbiters.

Rick Kohrs “outlines” the uses of the 3D globe in education.

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Hot Off the Ice and onto Your TV

Only recently returned from his tour of duty in Antarctica, Matthew Lazzara will be appearing on NBC-15’s “Weekend Live” program on Sunday, 21 February 2010, at 8:40 am, where he will be interviewed by program co-anchor Amy Carlson.

And make sure to check out the Antarctic Meteorological Research Center team’s experiences via Matthew’s “Antarctic Adventures” blog.

Matthew Lazzara maintaining an Automatic Weather Station.

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Front Page News

The Monday, 15 February 2010, Wisconsin State Journal ran a front page story entitled “Clouding the Picture” featuring Robert Aune, John Young, and Jordan Gerth.

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Hard Core Drilling: Ice Drilling Design and Operations Group highlighted in NSF’s “Antarctic Sun” publication

A recent issue of “The Antarctic Sun” (the National Science Foundation’s U..S Antarctic Program newspaper) carried an extensive article about ICDS (Ice Coring and Drilling Services) and the DISC (Deep Ice Sheet Coring) Drill.

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Steve Ackerman Conducts National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Webinar Presentation

Steve Ackerman (Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies, CIMSS) conducted a web seminar on 14 January 2010 from Madison, Wisconsin, entitled “Monitoring Climate Change from Space” to an audience of thirty-two K-12 educators from California, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

The webinar was the fourth in a series on climate change sponsored by NOAA and began with historical information on satellite missions to monitor Earth’s climate before discussing remote sensing basics and providing an overview of 21st century satellite applications to monitor changes in surface, atmospheric, and solar processes.

At the end of the session, Margaret Mooney (CIMSS) gave an overview of online satellite resources that teachers can use in their classrooms. An archive of the webinar can be viewed on-line.

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Steve Ackerman on Panel for Darwin Days

As part of the UW-Madison’s 5th Annual Darwin Day celebration on 13 February 2010, Steve Ackerman participated in a panel discussion on “Communicating Science.”

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