Chapter News
January 2009


Jan 20th Meeting

•Meeting called to order 6:30pm


-There was a good turn out of new faces.  This meeting included graduate students, NWS, and military personnel.

Current officers:

              -President: Nate Smith

              -Treasurer: Bob Ballard

              -Webmaster: Maureen Ballard

Vacant officer positions:

              -Vice President


If anyone is interested in running for these two positions please contact Nate or Maureen. Elections are usually held later in the semester but we will most likely have elections ASAP since there are technically only two officers at the moment.

Science Fair:

-This years Science Fair will take place April 2009.  If anyone is interested in volunteering as a judge please contact Nate to receive further information regarding details, date and location. 

Activities for chapter meetings:

-Presentations- Next meeting Bob Ballard will be giving a talk regarding the Graphical Forecast Editor.  As far as presentations to come later in the semester, Hans Rosendal has offered to talk about Kinematics and forecasting. It would be of great interest if our military members could share their operational tasks and duties. Anyone else who has presentations regarding operations, stories to share about storm chasing,  or past experiences with forecasting in various locations, all is welcome.  Networking within our group is important in keeping our AMS Aloha Chapter up and running.

-Social events- Besides presentations at our meetings we would like to arrange social events outside of campus. Two ideas are bowling and dinner.  These are great opportunity for everyone to socialize outside of the office.  If anyone else has any other ideas feel free to share!


-we currently do not have a logo for our chapter.  For anyone who wants to submit a design for our chapter logo that would be great! Thanks.


-within the next month Nate or Maureen will be sending an email regarding member dues which should be $15. Keep an eye out for an email with more information regarding payment due date.

Meeting time:

-typically the NWA/AMS chapter meetings have been the 3rd Tuesday of every month.  It looks as if we are going to keep this schedule unless it is a problem for our members. 

Next meeting:

- Tues. Feb 17th at 6:30pm in the NWS conference room, UH Manoa campus.

-GFE talk given by Bob Ballard

-quick tour of the NWS office---Maureen Ballard.



The Ark-La-Tex Chapter of the American Meteorological Society held its 1st meeting of 2009 on January 28th at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Shreveport. The meeting began at 715pm, with ten members present.

ason Hansford, Forecaster with the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Shreveport, gave a presentation entitled “A Comparison of Two Significant Flash Flood Events in Shreveport: April 12th, 1991 vs. May 13-14th, 2008”. The presentation revolved around the synoptic and mesoscale features that were in place for each event, with real-time satellite, radar, and model imagery used from the WES (Warning Environment Simulator) for the May 2008 event. A meteorological comparison of the two events was given, with feedback offered from NWS Meteorologists and a former broadcast meteorologist who worked both events. Societal impacts from both of the events were given as well.

Preceding the presentation, a Barb-B-Que dinner was provided to the members by the local AMS chapter. After dinner, the annual election for the 2009 Chapter officers was conducted by President Jason Hansford. Listed below are the results of the election:

     President: Jason Hansford

     Vice-President: Marty Mayeaux

     Secretary: Marcy Novak (absent from the meeting due to medical reasons)

     Treasurer: Leslie Sexton

     The following members were also present:

     Mary Eveld

     Ed Duranczyk

     Bill Parker

     Keith Stellman

     Armando Garza

     Jim Deberry

     Mark Murphy    

The meeting adjourned at 830 pm.---Jason Hansford, for Secretary Marcy Novak.



Meeting date: 1/20/09


Meeting in Session: 9:03pm

Meeting Adjourned: 9:58pm

Presidents Report: Shirts need to be picked up from last semester. We will have new committees starting next week. We will be doing committees first thing instead of at the end of the meeting. This year we will try to bring in more speakers, have more tours, and more activities! The meeting schedule may change to every other week as opposed to every week.

Vice President’s Report:  Reminder: Wx Challenge starts next week, 1/26/09 for Phoenix, AZ.  Vice President gave an overview of all of the different committees.

Committee reports: There were no reports tonight because it is the first meeting of the  spring semester.

Public relations:





Treasurer’s Report: Discussed the checking’s and savings accounts. Please pay your dues for this semester! The cost is 10 dollars per semester or 15 dollars per year.

Secretary’s Report: Please make sure you sign the attendance sheet that is going around. Attendance is important to the club. If you miss more than two meetings (unexcused) you will have to repay your dues. Please e-mail SCAMS or Secretary if you are going to miss.

SGA Report: None-no meeting at this point.

OPEN FLOOR: Proposed amendment to the constitution that will allow non-CMU students to join the club as long as they were a past CMU student and will be returning to CMU next semester.  We will be voting on the amendment next week.  


Meeting date: 1/27/09


Meeting in Session: 9:00 pm

Meeting Adjourned: 9:44 pm

Presidents Report:  We are voting on whether meetings are every other Tuesday or if they are going to be every Tuesday.

Vice President’s Report:  Committee chairperson announcements. If committees still want to meet, do it on the off Tuesdays and on our bi-weekly meetings.

Amendment no longer needed for special member.

Committee reports:

Public relations:  Discussed coloring the snow to advertise, putting SCAMS on table tents, making a sign for the outside of the Met-Lab. We are planning to update poster used at mainstage. Rock the mall is a volunteer opportunity-we want to do this again.  Also, discuss with Baxter whether we can educate high school, middle school, and elementary schools.

Fundraising:  Coldstone fundraiser, fundraiser at the restaurant, Campus surveys, Copernicus Toys (little tornadoes, etc), and a fundraiser similar to Yankee candle.

Activities: Every other week we are planning to have activity nights. Types of activities are as usual: movies, games, bike riding, etc. Activity this Tuesday may be discussed at open floor. Maybe we will attend the Lock-in at CMU activity center February 28, 2009.

Jobs/internships: The board for postings is not yet up ,but once it is established, we will post jobs.

Treasurer’s Report: Checking account balance: $30.29. Savings account balance: $2,898.09.  We added the $8.00 from Bingo into our account.  Please pay your dues for this semester! The cost is 10 dollars per semester or 15 dollars per year.

Secretary’s Report: Sign attendance sheet! If you are new, please write global ID and phone #. Also, if you are going to miss a meeting, contact us at or the secretary at Remember-after two unexcused absences you must repay your dues.

SGA Report: Discussed the possibility of a Starbucks. February 28, 2009 is a lock in sort of event: “CMU up all night.” We received 8$ from BINGO last semester.

Webmaster Report: Discussed purchase of webcam, new way to register for website, forum set up for conference committee and others.

OPEN FLOOR: 1/27/09 meeting minutes continued

Voted on:

-Meetings every other week and meetings for important events if needed

 to allocate $129.99 for purchase of a webcam.

-to allow conferences committee to be added

-SKYWARN is Wednesday February 25 from 7-9pm at the Deerfield Fire Department. Maybe we should offer to host it.

-Aarons Shirt has not come in yet, we will try to figure that discrepancy out.

-April is the Iowa conference-think about who wants to go!---Megan Babich.



Our intramural bowling teams, Lightning Strikes and Rolling Thunder, need more participants. Games will probably be on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, and the teams will have some say in the schedule. there will also be practices. Contact Ethan (edp25) if you are interested and haven't told him.

The Northeastern Storm Conference will be held March 6-8 in Springfield, MA. It is hosted by Lyndon State College. This is a great opportunity to get an introduction to a variety of research topics. Despite the name of the conference many of the talks are not about the Northeast or storms. Many of the talks will be given by students (including myself.) The registration fee is $110 if you want all of the included food and $50 if none of the food is included. Lodging appears to $97 per room per night, (we would be staying two nights) but it's not very clear. We are trying to get money from the SAFC and/or the department to cover some of the expenses. For more information or to register go to The deadline for registration is February 13.

The Second Tri-State Weather Conference will be hosted by Western Connecticut State University in Danbury, CT. The first conference was held two years ago, and everyone who went enjoyed it. Unfortunately it will be held April 25, the same time as our Alumni Weekend (more on that later). Registration is $20, and the deadline is February 23. Anyone who is interested can go to for more information.

We are going to start work on getting Cornell Storm Ready. This involves showing the National Weather Service that Cornell meets a number of requirements such as having enough emergency sires and weather radios. I will send out more information to those interested in helping soon. You can get more information from

Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. It is a 12 hour event in which teams from Cornell and IC walk around the track at Barton Hall to raise money for cancer research and treatment. There are also performances, activities, and food throughout the night. It will be start Friday, March 28, at 5:00 pm and last until 5:00 am the next morning. Registration is $10 and participants are encouraged to do additional fundraising. If you want to be the CCAMS team let me know.

If anyone wants to forecast for WeatherPhone on Thursdays let John (jlc248) or me know. If no one else wants that day, Andrew can do it. Anyone who wants to help with forecasts should check the schedule posted on the back door of 1102 to see when forecasts will be made and get in touch with the lead forecaster they want to work with.

Athletics forecasting for spring sports begins on February 25. We will be forecasting for men's and women's lacrosse, softball, and baseball. Those who want to forecast for athletics should contact John or me.

Morgan will not be forecasting for the Sun anymore, so we need a replacement. She submits a forecast on Wednesday night, usually between 5 and 8, which goes in Thursday's paper. The forecaster needs a way to get to the Sun's office, which is downtown. If you want to take this spot, let John or Morgan know.

Alumni Weekend will almost certainly be held on the weekend of April 24. During this event atmospheric science alumni return to Cornell to tell current students about their careers and share their wisdom. We will be sending letters to the alumni soon, and we will we need people to help stuff envelopes probably either February 5 or 6. If you want to help plan and set up the weekend let Kristen or Andrew know.

We will start sending e-mails about seminars which look particularly interesting to atmospheric science majors. Hopefully this will help people focus on useful talks amidst the flood of e-mails we get from other listservs.

Our intramural co-ed softball team, the Norwegian Cyclones, needs girls on the team. If you want to participate let John know.

Ithacation's first issue this semester will focus on the AMS Annual Meeting. If you were at the meeting, especially if you presented, you are encouraged to write an article for this issue in the next couple of weeks.

Mr. Wysocki is looking into arranging some opportunities for us to visit elementary schools and tell the students about the weather. If you are interested in being a part of this let him know.---Robert Gottlieb.



Jan 27, 2009


This meeting began with a lunch gathering at the Town and Country Kitchen on the east side of Norton, KS, at 11:30 AM.  There were 15 members in attendance, 2 which were joining our Chapter that day.  Introductions were done in a round robin style. Following the meeting, Mike Umscheid/DDC was our featured speaker, presenting material from his November 10th, 2008 tornado chase in Southwest Kansas.

Call to order.  President Rick Ewald/GID called the meeting to order at 12:25 PM.  Secretary Tim Burke/DDC then read the minutes from the previous Chapter meeting of December 2nd, 2008.

Treasurer’s Report.  Treasurer Matt Masek/LBF reported we started on 12/03/2008 with $3524.78 in our treasury.  There were Deposits of $1.63, no Expenses, with an ending Balance on 1/27/09 of $3526.41.  The Jim Johnson Scholarship fund started with $1450.00, had a $200 Deposit, for a Balance on 1/27/09 of $1650.00.  The check book balance was $1876.41 ($3526.41-$1650), as of 1/27/09.

Old Business.  Letters were going out from each office, announcing the Jim Johnson Scholarship, due back to each office by April 1st.  The letter will spell out that the High School seniors will need to be intending to pursue a major in one of the Physical Sciences.  President Rick Ewald/GID shared the plaque from our NWA Chapter of the Award with the attending members. 

NewBusiness.  New Officers were elected, from ballots sent from members at various locations.  The ballots were sent to all members via email, prior to this meeting.  The 3 offices of Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary were unopposed, and are: VP Dave Floyd/GLD, Treas Matt Masek/LBF, and Sec Tim Burke/DDC.  The President’s position was a very close race, ending in a tie.  A coin flip was used to settle the tie, and our new President is Mike Umscheid from DDC.

Matt Masek from North Platte gave an update on our next Conference.  There are two possible dates, Aug 12th-14th and Aug 27th-28th.  It will be at the area Community College and will be a Thursday and Friday conference, with a possible gathering on Wednesday afternoon prior to the conference.  A call for papers will go out by Mar 1st.  They have 3 good speakers lined up, and will try to get a speaker from the Vortex II project, which will have just finished in June, prior to our conference. 

Adjournment.  The meeting adjourned at 12:45 PM.  The next meeting is up for discussion, and could be another teleconference.---Rick Ewald and Tim Burke.



Meeting Minutes

22 January, 2009

President Schwedler called the meeting to order at 7:03 PM.  He welcomed all who were present to the meeting.

Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

President Schwedler

Vice president Deppe

Cy’s Eyes on the Skies

Treasurer Karsten

Sophomore Chair Minniear

Social Chair Hoffman

Academic Chair Prentice

Past President Hobbs

Webmaster Mair

Historian Witter

Outreach Chair Rabideau


For all of those that didn’t make it to the meeting, please send us your list of classes this semester, and a day and time preference for holding our ISU AMS meetings.

We would also like to send a special thank you to Jon Hobbs for creating our ISU AMS poster that was presented at the National AMS Conference in Phoenix, AZ.

Our next meeting date and time will be announced after reviewing the member preference sheets that were handed out at this meeting.---Justin Schultz.



The January 2009 meeting of the Kansas City Chapter of the American Meteorological Society was called to order at 630 pm on January 30, 2009 in the broadcast room of WDAF the FOX affiliate of Kansas City.   This meeting represented our annual “dessert” meeting in which the chapter officers purchased various dessert items for the membership.  In order to host a larger meeting in February, the January meeting was shortened in length with little expense to the membership.


President’s News/Chapter Discussion:


Chapter president Evan Bookbinder welcomed the roughly 30 members of the chapter to the meeting, with special recognition to our hosts for the evening, the FOX 4 weather team.  Chapter secretary Matthew Dux reported the old business from the December meeting, including proposals on local community service issues, a forthcoming new chapter website, as well as the proposal of a new scholarship proposed by local Meteorology business Weather or Not.


New Business:

Due to an increasing amount of the membership who are members of both the American Meteorological Society (AMA) as well as the National Weather Association (NWA), a proposal was made to begin looking into the possibility of changing the chapter to a dual membership with both the AMS and NWA.  An open vote was taken with approval to the measure given for research into the move.

Due to the short nature of this meeting, very little other new business was discussed in favor of a more formal meeting which was to be held on February 12, 2009 at the Ameristar Casino of Kansas City, MO.  The guest speaker for the February meeting will be Dr. Yvette Richardson Associate Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University present "Tornadogenesis: Our Current Understanding and Unanswered Questions for VORTEX2."


January Speaker:


The host and main speakers of the January 2009 meeting was local partner and active member of the Kansas City Chapter of the AMS, the weather team at WDAF FOX4 TV of Kansas City.  The FOX4 weather team consists of Chief Meteorologist Mike Thompson, morning meteorologist Don Harmon, mid-day meteorologist Karli Ritter, and weekend meteorologist as well as chapter vice-president Joe Lauria.  The weather team gave the membership an active overview of their typical weather operations on a day to day basis, including how they pull together their forecast, their time-line from walking into the studio to going “on air”, and how severe weather is handled by their team.  The common consensus from team members is that severe weather is perhaps the most difficult aspect not only from a weather coverage standpoint but also from a societal standpoint.  The dilemma on when to interrupt normal broadcasting and when to use crawlers for severe weather can create a tricky situation for tv meteorologists who have to be conscience of not only the requests of the public, but also the safety of the public.

The FOX4 team explained all of their various tools used to create weather graphics as well as their forecast, including a demonstration of how a green screen works and where to stand and present on camera for the best possible display.  While the FOX4 team members  all expressed how difficult their jobs can be when it comes to time, work hours, and stress, they all reiterated the fact that they love that work is being able to do what has always been fun to them.---Matthew Dux.


Meeting Type: General Assembly

Meeting Date: January 21, 2009

Attendance: 52

Meeting in Session: 8:30 pm


Introduction (Advisor Dr. Richard Clark)

Summary of National AMS Conference (President Jim Kurdzo)

Northeast Storms Trip (President Jim Kurdzo)


Final Remarks (President Jim Kurdzo)



January General Meeting Minutes 1/20/09.

January Executive Meeting Minutes 1/26/09.---John Smith.



Tuesday January 20th, President Greg Story called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm. He asked for anyone who was new or had not been to a meeting in a long time to introduce themselves.  At the request of our speaker, the business part of the meeting was conducted after the presentation. 

Eric Howieson, AWIPS/Radar Program Manager at the National Weather Service Southern Region Headquarters gave a very interesting presentation about the advances in the National Weather Service radar program.  Eric showed some examples of the super resolution WSR-88D radar data vs the legacy resolution.  He also talked about algorithm SZ-2 and multiple pulse repetition frequency dealiasing algorithms (MPDA) that will be used to reduce range folding.  Eric also talked about the negative effects wind farms are having on radar returns.  Eric closed with a demonstration of the radar data of the future.  He first discussed how the dual polarization retrofit of the WSR-88D will work, and what advantages it will bring over the current system.  Installation for Dual Pol will begin next year and take 2 years to complete.  Then Eric discussed the Multi-function Phased Array Radar, these radars can get updates every 15 seconds.

Our chapter is going forward to provide care packages for the troops.  The chapter has decided to adopt the Weather Squadron from Fort Hood that are currently deployed.  We will be sending out a list of items that we can include in the care packages.  One of the items is calling cards. While doing some research of Blue Star Moms, I found this website so that we can order calling cards:   These calling cards are different than the ones you buy in the stores.  If you happen to be out shopping and want to pick up some items, some things to include are puzzle books, small games, and playing cards.  Since the meeting I found and am planning on joining a Blue Star Mom group, they will be a great resource.

Due to Diane Coopers’ departure to Minneapolis, the vice-president office is currently open.  Please let one of the officers know if you are interested in filling out this term through August.

Greg informed the group that long time NWS employee Paul Greer passed away two weeks ago from a rare form of cancer.

Greg announced that Bernard N. Meisner was presented the American Meteorological Society’s Francis W. Reichelderfer award for “providing excellent support and devoting his professional life to nation’s environmental services”. Congratulations, Bernard!

Stanley Christmas talked about the upcoming science fairs in Dallas (2/28) and Fort Worth (2/17). There is still a need for at least one more judge. If you are interested please contact Stanley.

Skywarn training season is here! Some of the big programs that are coming up are Collin County (in Plano this Saturday January 24th); Tarrant County in North Richland Hills January 31st and Dallas County in Garland on February 21st. If you are interested in helping at the AMS table at any of these events please contact one of the chapter officers.

Our February meeting will be held on February 17, 2009. The speaker will be Nick Hampshire. The meeting will be held at the National Weather Service Fort Worth Forecast office.---Bobette Mauck.



Boyd and Charlie’s, Omaha, NE

Omaha-Offutt AMS Chapter Meeting

29 January 2009

Guest Speakers Daniel Nietfeld and Brian Smith, Valley NWS Office, Valley, NE

Item 1:

The meeting was called to order at 6:35 PM.  President Evan Kuchera’s first announcement was to inform the chapter that volunteer signup sheets are available to those who would like to participate in judging several science fairs in March.  Chapter member Karen Sittel is the main point of contact.

Item 2:

No weather radio programming events have been set as of yet, however they will likely occur sometime this spring.  These events were very successful last year (the chapter participated in three separate events), and as much chapter involvement as possible is requested to make these events as successful this year.

Item 3:

18 April there is a middle school Meteorological Science Olympiad, and the chapter has been asked for a volunteer to compose the test for the event.  One person has been requested to build the test. 

Item 4:

Chapter member Dr. Jay Martinelli has requested for volunteers to assist him at this year’s career fair, to be held sometime in late April.  An actual date will be announced in February.

Item 5:

Chapter member Daniel Nietfeld informed the chapter that he had learned that the Minneapolis AMS chapter website maintained an online form to be filled out by those looking for meteorologist volunteers to participate in various events, and proposed that our chapter could do something similar as a way to assist people in contacting the chapter.  Daniel noted that the chapter received many requests this way, and that it is an organized an effective way of connecting with the community.

Item 6:

The February meeting will be held on 13 February, and the chapter’s guest speaker will be Dr. Yvette Richardson of Penn State University.  The meeting will be at the Greek Island’s restaurant, Omaha, NE.

Item 7:

A volunteer is needed to take the lead of the Weather Explorer Post program.  Any chapter member interested in doing this should contact the AMS officers as soon as possible.

Item 8:

Chapter vice president Stephen Augustyn announced that the chapter received 5 abstract submissions for the March student presentation night.  Of these abstracts, 4 were received from UNL and 1 was received from Creighton.  The chapter reviewers have selected the top 3 abstracts, and the speakers are:

                  John Kurtz

                  Dave Peterson

                  Allan Curtis

$250 will go to the winner of the contest, to be used towards a conference registration fee and lodging.

Item 9:

The WAF NWP conference coordinators are looking for suggestions for a social event for students attending the conference.  Anyone with thoughts or suggestions should contact the AMS officers.

Item 10:

The chapter received the January meeting minutes from recording secretary Scott Rentschler, and received a treasurer’s report from chapter treasurer Becky Selin.

                  Current account: $1765.39

                  7 new members in December, a total of 50 registered members.

Item 11:

Chapter officer elections will be held in April this year.  Anybody interested in running for office should contact the current chapter officers.

The guest speakers for the evening were Valley NWS SOO Daniel Nietfeld and WCM Brian Smith, and the gave the chapter the highlights from the 2008 severe weather season in Omaha.---Scott Rentschler.  



Our January meeting was a presentation on "Critical Fire Weather Predictive Service" by John Saltenberger, Meteorologist, USFWS.  We had 35 people pack the meeting room at the Portland NWS office.  Mr. Saltenberger recaped the creation of the Critical Fire Weather Predictive Service.  The Predictive Services Program was born from the May 4, 2000 Cerro Grande Fire with 300 homes lost, a nuclear lab damaged, and over $1 billion cost.  The U.S. Congress ordered a National Fire Plan, which includes better fire-weather information for decision-makers.  Mr. Saltenberger is based at the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC) at the Portland International Airport.  They oversee all forecasting and crew allocations for Oregon, Washington, and Northern California. The NWCC is a decision-support entity supported by Predictive Services, Emergency Operations, and Communications Infrastructure.  Predictive Services analyzes and predicts fire danger, fire-weather, and resource capability to assess wildland fire potential.  The Significant Fire Potential gives the likelihood of the mobilization of additional resources from outside the service area.  The Predictive Services Model uses burn environment and ignition triggers – specifically fire danger, fire-weather, human and natural triggers.  NWCC uses 73 key areas, 12 Predictive Services area (defined by climatic boundaries). Thanks to former chapter prez, Kyle Dittmer for taking notes.

The Executive Council of The Oregon AMS chapter met and voted that a new chapter website needed to be designed.  The new website will feature an Executive Council Blog, a President's Podcast, quarterly newsletter, and new features that will allow more member activity and interaction.  The new website is scheduled to be finished by April 1st.  The executive council also finalized the meetings for the rest of the year.---Bobby Corser.



Members of PSUBAMS attended the 89th Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society this year in Phoenix, Arizona. With the help of the American Meteorological Society, PSUBAMS is proud to have been able to send over 30 Penn State students to the conference, which is the most ever sent to an AMS conference. Student members participated in group activities, networking luncheons, and career fairs throughout the duration of the student conference. A networking reception was held on Tuesday, January 13th with Penn State hosting a reception for all students, faculty, and alumni to attend. We give a special thanks to all who made this trip possible and we look forward to Atlanta in 2010!

PSUBAMS is planning several activities to be held in the upcoming weeks. To celebrate Valentines Day, personalized valentines will be sold in which the recipients will receive a bag of candy and a fun weather-related saying. PSUBAMS is also holding a t-shirt design contest in which the winning logo will be put on t-shirts and sold throughout the department. In addition, a kid conference is currently planned for April for local middle school students to participate in fun activities to learn more about the weather. We look forward to hosting our first conference in our newly renovated weather station. We view the event as a great opportunity to share our weather knowledge with the local community.---Alex Matus.



The January meeting of the Smoky Mountain AMS chapter was held on the evening of the 26th. Some members met first for dinner at "Calhoun's on the River" in Knoxville, and then around ten people convened for the meeting in the Plant Biotech Building on the University of Tennessee Agriculture campus. Dr. Claudia Rawn (Senior Research Staff Member in the Materials Science and Technology Division at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and a Joint Faculty Member in the University of Tennessee’s Materials Science and Engineering Department) spoke on "Fire in the Ice: Harvesting Methane from the Oceans and Permafrost". The following was a synopsis of her talk:

"During this presentation I will give an overview of methane hydrates and tackle questions like what they are, where do you find them, what do they look like, why study them, who studies them, and how are the researchers that study them are funded. Information about methane production from natural gas hydrates, plugging pipelines, stability and safety of drilling of platforms, as well as how dissociation of gas hydrates and sequestration of CO2 within the host structure can impact global warming will be discussed. Lastly I will introduce the funded methane hydrates program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory."---David Gaffin.



President Chris Bovitz called the January 2009 meeting of the Chapter to order at 7:05pm on January 15, 2009.  Newsletter Editor Kevin Huyck attended with 11 members and 5 guests.  The meeting convened at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Chanhassen, MN.  

There was no business conducted at the December meeting at the studios of KARE-11 TV so no minutes to read or approve.  In the January Treasurer’s report, the chapter had $738.39 in the checking account and $77.00 in cash to be deposited.  There was a deposit of $292.00 on 1/2/09 including $92 in checks and $200 in cash from dues.  There were two expense checks written in December, one to Kevin Huyck for $18.46 to cover newsletter expenses and one to Chris Bovitz for $149.10 to cover website domain costs and contest prizes.  Member Craig Edwards motioned to accept the report as read and seconded by Member Jim Marusak.  The motion passed by a unanimous voice vote.   

In Old Business, we looked at a digital copy of the poster that Vice President Lisa Schmit was presenting at the AMS annual meeting in Phoenix, AZ.  The expense for the poster has not been paid out of our checking account at this point, but will likely be dispersed shortly.  There was a brief discussion about the December meeting at KARE and the broadcast we observed.  We have a number of upcoming events through March; Government on Display Expo at Mall of America on February 6 and 7, Our February Chapter meeting at the St. Paul Campus of the University of Minnesota where Pete Boulay will talk about "ThreadEx", the Minnesota Skywarn Workshop at University of St. Thomas on March 28, and the Hugo Tornado Forum which is still in planning and will likely occur in the April/May time frame.  Planning for the Hugo Tornado Forum is still ongoing and is progressing.  Science Fair Coordinator Matt Freidlein is still looking for volunteers for science fair judging.  The next science fair is the Twin Cities Science Fair on February 27th, Member Jonathan Cohen has volunteered as a judge for this fair.  If you would like to help out, please contact Matt at  

New business was limited to a request from Member John Wetter for fiscal support for the Minnesota Skywarn Workshop in the form of one of the predetermined sponsorship levels.  After a discussion of our options a motion was made by Member Nicolle Morock that we participate at the $125 level which buys us a vendor table, a handout to go into the goodie bag, and a link on the Minnesota Skywarn Workshop website.  Member Doug Dokken seconded the motion and it passed with a unanimous voice vote. 


Member Jim Marusak made a motion to adjourn the business portion of the meeting at 7:45 and was seconded by Member Nicolle Morock. The motion passed with a unanimous voice vote.

Member Kevin Huyck spoke about Weather Eye Radio Network after the business portion of the meeting concluded.  Founded in the late 1980’s, WERN’s goal is to provide weather coverage in small and medium market radio stations.  Currently WERN covers the Midwestern states of North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin with a smaller presence in Montana, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Michigan. There are a few outlier affiliates in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, and Florida that also contract WERN’s services.  Aside from the primary focus in radio broadcasting there is a smaller secondary focus on energy and recreational forecasting.

Weather Eye’s current market area includes more than thirty National Weather Service Weather Forecast Offices.  This is significant because WERN offers live 24 hour severe weather coverage for their affiliates.  During severe weather outbreaks the workload covering such a large area necessitates that we carry a relatively large staff.  During the winter months this gives time for special research and development projects.

In addition to the broadcast services, WERN produces their own internal forecasts for affiliate use.  These “WebCast” forecasts span a period of 5 days with four 12-hour “short-range” periods and three 24-hour “long-range” periods.  We produce the WebCast product using our own proprietary forecasting environment “Forecast Tools”.  The client accesses the WebCast through our website.  Twice each day we forecast for over 165 cities and towns in our primary coverage area.


Each weekday we produce around 2100 audio files of various lengths from 13 seconds at the shortest to three minutes at the longest.  In 2008, we provided severe weather coverage for 8005 severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.---Kevin Huyck.



Monthly Meeting

January 30, 2009 11:00am


The meeting started with a review from the 89th Annual AMS Conference and the 8th Annual Student Conference.  Chris Schultz provided some feedback from the Local Chapter Affairs Committee and some notes from the Chapter Officer Town Hall Meeting.  Our chapter will attempt to incorporate some of the ideas shared at these meeting into our activities this semester. 

Several education outreach programs are coming up in the next few weeks.  The 3rd Annual Severe Weather Poster Contest is in progress for this year although a theme is still needed.  Suggestions can be sent to the Educational Outreach Committee.  UAH will host its regional Science Olympiad on Saturday, February 28th, and our chapter has been asked to host the following events:  Dynamic Planet, Remote Sensing, Meteorology:  Climate, and Road Scholar.  Elise Johnson will be accepting volunteers from our chapter.  More weather radio programming events are taking place in cooperation with the WAFF Road Tours; the dates are Tuesdays, February 24th through March 17th.  Volunteers for judging will be needed for the Alabama State Science & Engineering Fair on April 3rd and possible the regional science fair to be announced. 

The recent bake sales from last semester have almost doubled our money resource for the chapter.  Ideas for how to spend the money include funding a scholarship or purchasing books for the library.  The soda fund continues to thrive as a constant source of income for the chapter.  Additional fundraising ideas may be brought to any cabinet member. 

Sandy LaCorte is currently working on T-shirt and polo designs for the chapter.  A list of these will be available shortly for the chapter to vote on for a selection. 

More social events will be organized this semester with upcoming hockey games and Huntsville Stars baseball. 

All of these events can be seen on the website: Ramey. 



Minutes from:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Odegard Hall Room 356

5:15 p.m.

Members Present:

Al Borho – Advisor

Dan Koller - President

Kelsey Watkins - Vice President

Erin Bertschi - Treasurer

Kevin Skow - Secretary

Andrea Neumann

Leah Tatarak

Krista Cooley

Sydney Souza

Peter Johnson

Matt Saari

Nichole Shotwell

Kathryn Crosby

Amanda Homann

Dan Adriaansen

Garrett Jepsen

Miranda Hilgers

Ben Schink

Matthew Petrowiak

Call to Order:

President Dan Koller called the AMS meeting to order at 5:15 pm.

Past Minutes:

The minutes from 12/09/08 were read.

Officer Reports:

-Vice-President’s Report: None

-Secretary’s Report: None

-Treasurer’s Report: The AMS balance is currently: $2330.76.

Guest Speaker:



Old Business:

-The Holiday Potluck was held in Clifford Hall on Reading and Review Day last semester. About 70 people showed up and it all went very well.

-Six students from UND went to the annual AMS Conference in Phoenix last week. Those who attended gave a presentation about the trip that showcased new ideas for our chapter, how to become a better professional meteorologist, and what to expect for grad school.

New Business:        

-Activities Committee

-Who’s Who Wall: The deadline for a list of people from each class is the next AMS meeting.

-Photo Contest: Since there are only three full months left in the school year, we are considering running three large contests each month in which anyone in the department can submit any weather photo of their choosing.

-Broomball: Registration runs from March 4 to 25. Games begin on March 30.

-Spring Picnic and Big Event: These events are later in the spring and will be discussed at upcoming meetings.

-Girl Scout Weather Badge: We did this back in late 2007 and are thinking about doing it again. AMS has all of the supplies and contact info required for doing this activity again.

-Spring Trip: We will discuss ideas for a possible spring break trip at the next meeting.

-Fundraising Committee

-AMS will have a hot chocolate fundraiser on Thursday, January 29 from 7:30am-10:00am in the Odegard/Streibel Link—baked goods for the fundraiser are greatly appreciated.

-AMS will be selling popcorn in the Memorial Union the first week after Spring Break—more information to come.

-The 4th Floor Clifford Hall baked goods sign-up sheet was passed around

-We will be looking into possibly helping out with concessions and cleanup at Alerus Center concerts this semester.

-We will be holding a penny war within department and give an award to the winning team at the department banquet—more information to come.

-The idea of putting together a weather calendar containing photos from the photo contests and local weather data was discussed.

-We talked about the possibility of selling merchandise through Aerostop store, but nothing was decided.

-T-Shirt Committee

-We voted on the logo for the t-shirts and decided on logo number 2. We will begin the process of ordering t-shirts shortly.

-Banquet Committee

-We talked about assembling a panel of local professionals from the atmospheric science field instead of one speaker. These professionals would represent different careers in the atmospheric sciences field, such as the NWS, private sector, research, broadcast, etc. Someone would then lead the panel and ask them questions and they would all answer.





-The meeting was adjourned without objection at 6:18 pm.---Kevin Skow.



High Altitude Balloon Launch

DATE:                            1/17/09

LOCATION:                  USF, Tampa, FL 

The January meeting of the West Central Florida Chapter of the AMS was hosted by Dr. Jennifer Collins at the University of South Florida (USF) and presented by X-Labs. X-Labs is an engineering student group at USF who have created large and ambitious projects that can be used for both research and education. At the January meeting, AMS members observed the launch of the third in a series of weather balloons named X3 EOS (Earth Observation System).

The presentation began with a discussion of the founding of X-Labs and the previous balloon launches. Mr. Joseph Register (Co-founder and former X-Labs president) noted that X-Labs needed an outlet for practical experience in math, science and engineering. X-Labs mission is to promote science education among all age groups while contributing to the research community. X-Labs youngest member is 14-year-old Coyt Barringer, a freshman at Tampa Catholic High School. Barringer played a key role in preparing the X3 for launch, checking that all the tracking equipment was securely fastened. The first launch, X1, which was a test launch, took eight months of payload design and planning. The systems onboard the payload included a live video/audio transmitter (overlay of GPS audio), APRS GPS data telemetry (VHF), 3 MP camera timer Circuit,  and parachute recovery. The balloon burst at around 21km giving position reports every 10 seconds. The video data link was lost with over 97 km between the balloon and the high gain ground antenna. Register emphasized the lessons learned from X1, the main one being was that less emphasis should be placed on RF output power since battery duration is much more important when searching for a downed payload.

Co-Presenter and current X-Labs president, Nick Melton, then described the last launch, X2 where he noted that the payload had a APRS GPS tracking transmitter. This time a 300 mW version instead of the 5 watt transmitter flown on the X1. There was also a 5MP camera/timer circuit. The balloon, launched from USF, impressively reached into the stratosphere just over 30 km before the balloon burst. Melton noted that on decent the payload fell and they recorded the forces on the payload during the parachute/impact transitions. After launch, the X-Labs groups tracked the payload on the balloon to try and recover it. The X2 landed just off the east coast of Florida. They combed the beach but did not retrieve it that day. Amazingly, a mother (unrelated to the project) of a USF student (who was wearing her USF T-shirt and hat at the time) located the payload on a beach in Melbourne the next day as she took a stroll. Brain LaMarre (National Weather Service, Tampa, Meteorologist-in-charge) who was present at the meeting mentioned that the return rate of the instruments launched from the NWS is low. Typically less than 10 percent are returned due to many of them tracking over the ocean. After retrieval, X-Labs downloaded some amazing photographs which were taken of the Earth (Figure 1).


Next, Melton and Register discussed improvements to their design since the X1 and X2 which they incorporated in the X3. The X3 is more prepared with extra battery life for its camera that will photograph the atmosphere once every five seconds (X1’s camera batteries died on decent). The X3 contained an eight mega pixel camera, GPS transmitter, data logging system, flight computer /data logging system, multiple axis accelerometer, fast/high accuracy temperature logging and a barometer. Figure 2 shows the instruments inside the payload.

Joe Register concluded the presentation by discussing  X-Labs future investigations. One of them will be to explore the potential of the pay-load on a remote-controlled glider which could be used to collect weather data in a hurricane. He is currently pursuing this idea through discussions with Collins (USF) and Hurricane Hunters at the NOAA Aircraft Operations Center (Tampa). Melton commented that future payloads (X4) will be guided, meaning X-Labs will give the device directions to land at a specific location. The meeting concluded with the successful launch of X3 (Figure 3).

X-Labs presentation and weather balloon launch can be viewed on the chapter’s website at For more information on X-Labs, visit

BUSINESS MEETING: A brief business meeting was held by Andy Johnson to start off the event. Johnson thanked Alicia Williams (undergraduate student, USF) and Charlie Paxton (NWS) for attending and representing the national AMS conference in Phoenix. Williams and Paxton presented research which they have been conducting with Collins (USF) and Daniel Noah and Richard Davis (NWS). Williams presented on warm season south-west Florida tornadoes (a project funded by UCAR’s COMET program). Paxton presented on meteorological, climatological and geographic factors surrounding the Interstate-4 pile-up that occurred in January (2008). Collins and Paxton noted the interest surrounding their research since this month was the 1-year anniversary of the fog and wildfire disaster.

Advisor of X-Labs (Dr. Ralph Fehr, USF) presented Joe Register with an achievement award for his vision, creativity and hard-work.

CONCLUSION:  The meeting was attended by 40 people, including several students of Dr. Jennifer Collins, University of South Florida, several students from X-Labs, several AMS members and some members of the public (the event was advertised in the Tampa Tribune). Refreshments were served to the members and guests.


Figure 1: Picture taken from camera on-board

the payload from X1


Figure 2: Payload with instrumentation


Figure 3: X3 weather balloon launch at USF

---Jennifer M. Collins.






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