Chapter News
March 2006


AMS Minutes March 28th, 2006

Call Meeting to Order: The meeting was called to order by Aimee Fish, President, at 12:10 p.m. The meeting was held at Wayne's Texas BBQ in Anchorage. Introductions were given by all attendees.

Treasurer's Report: $1742.10

Old/New Business: The January meeting minutes were approved by members at the meeting.

Aimee gave a recap of the Alaska Science and Engineering Fair 2006 which was held at East High School on March 11th. There were 40 entries in the science fair that met the criteria for being judged by chapter members. The chapter, along with the NWS Alaska Region, awarded prizes to the top three student projects in each grade level category. Prizes included a solar energy experiment kit, weather activity books, a Galileo thermometer, Alaska weather calendars, and a NOAA Weather Radio with TV audio band. The top student project in the senior category was once again Anna Heleon who continued her study on the effects of time zone shifts on climatology.

Aimee updated everyone on this season's forecast contest. She mentioned the past winners as well as the current leaders for the remaining weather questions.

The next meeting will on April 19th at place to be determined. Our speaker will be John Whitney, from NOAA Hazmat, who will brief the chapter on the continuing recovery effort from the Selendang Ayu oil spill in the Aleutian Islands and how forecasts play an important role for their oil spill models. This will also be our final meeting of the season. We will be holding elections for the chapter and all positions on the executive committee are open. So far we have Kristine Nelson from the CWSU as Vice-President, Lisa Reed from the Anchorage Forecast Office as Secretary and Webmaster, and Stephanie Rodriguez as our returning treasurer. If you are interested in running for a position, please contact one of the current executive committee members. Anyone running for President, please be advised that the former President will offer her assistance throughout the next season.

Main Event: Tim Veenstra of Airborne Technologies, Inc. in Wasilla was our guest speaker. Tim has been involved in the GhostNet Project in which he and others use satellites and airplanes to detect, track, and recover driftnets and other junk in the north Pacific. The project is run by Airborne Technologies, Inc. with support from NOAA Fisheries, NOAA Research, NOAA Satellites and Information, and local universities.

Tim defined a ghost net as derelict fishing gear that was either lost or abandoned at sea. These nets can be up to 30 miles long and kill fish, birds, and seas mammals as they drift at sea. The nets can also be a hazard to water vessels as well as an environmental hazard when washed ashore along the coastline. In Hawaii, NOAA has spent over $2 million a year to clean up this debris that is ruining the coral reefs. One of the goals of the GhostNet project is to capture this debris before it reaches the coast.

After doing some research, participants in the project have discovered that debris tends to congregate in specific spots in the sea and along the coastlines. This is due in part to ocean currents and weather patterns. Tim's team of researchers ran a simulation model called OSCURS and then tried to verify the models positioning of the debris field by participating in fly-overs in a NOAA P3 aircraft and using satellite technology. To their happy surprise, the model was extremely accurate in the placement of the debris field.

Tim also mentioned that they are now deploying ATI buoys that are geared for remote environmental data acquisition over the high seas. Environmental data is processed on board the buoy and then transmitted via satellite, radio, or cellular telephone.

It's important to note that both environmentalists and the fishing community support the GhostNet project. Tim would like to see additional funding for the project. This would ultimately save money for NOAA since the operating budget for this project is approximately $1.3 million less than their current one.

The meeting was adjourned by Aimee Fish at 1:10 p.m.---Jim Peronto.


Meeting Minutes
March 21, 2006

The second Chapter meeting of the spring season was held on March 21st. The meeting convened at 715 PM at the National Weather Service office in North Little Rock with 13 members and guests present.

Chapter President Chris Buonanno conducted a short business meeting.

The program for the evening was a presentation by Chris, Science and Operations Officer at the National Weather Service in North Little Rock. His presentation was titled "The Latest on Tornado Forecasting." The presentation summarized the latest scientific findings concerning severe weather and tornado forecasting. He presented topics concerning currently accepted conceptual severe weather models, and reviewed findings from several prominent field experiments.

A question and answer session was conducted after the presentation.

The meeting was adjourned at 830 PM.---Newton Skiles.


AMS Chapter Meeting
March 28, 2006

The second general meeting of 2006 took place on March 28th at 6:30 pm with 12 people present. The location of the meeting was the Chilis restaurant in Ruston Louisiana. The officers that were present included...

Vice President: David Biggar
Secretary: Mark Frazier
Treasurer: Douglas Gautrau
The chapter members present (not including officers) at the meeting included…

Mary Eveld
Jason Hansford
Leslie Sexton
Mark Rowlett

Non members present included…

Doug Butts
Eric Reichwaldt

Treasurers Report: N/A.

Secretary Report: N/A

The meeting was a joint effort between the MAS chapters of Shreveport-Bossier and the ULM student chapter in Monroe Louisiana. This was an opportunity for people to get to know each other and share past activities of the chapters Total attendance between the chapters was 30 people. The dinner ended at 8:30 pm.---Harry Druckenmiller and Mark Frazier.


The Asheville Chapter of the American Meteorological Society held its fifth meeting for 2005-2006 in Laurel Forum, Karpen Hall, University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA), at 7:00 pm on Thursday, March 2, 2006. Twenty-one people attended the meeting. The Secretary of the Chapter, Susan Tarbell, presided at the meeting.

Business Meeting

Old Business

It took a while for Asheville to have its first measurable snowfall for the snow forecasting contest. Susan Tarbell had emailed the rules of the contest to all members. Submission was due November 30th, and only AMS Asheville Chapter members could vote. The main question was "On what date will the first measurable snowfall (1 inch or more) happen at the Asheville Airport starting from December 1st on??" In case of a tie, what amount would be measured? Marjorie McGuirk won the contest with her vote of February 14, 2006(!!) and received a $25.00 gift certificate to a local restaurant.

New Business

John White discussed a couple of Science Fairs that were coming up. He asked the members present what kind of gifts were given in the past to winners. He hopes to attend a couple of them.

Susan Tarbell and Marjorie McGuirk discussed attending the Annual AMS conference in late January, early February in Atlanta, GA. They both had a great experience.

Guest Speakers

Susan Tarbell introduced the speakers for the evening: LtCol Ann Gravier, TSgt Lois Ellingson, and TSgt Michelle Moses. All three ladies serve in the Air Force and are stationed with the Air Force Combat Climatology Center, in Asheville, NC. They all recently took part in "Operation Iraqi Freedom" or "Operation Enduring Freedom" in Southwest Asia. They each reported on their experience in that part of the world.

LtCol Ann Gravier received her BS in mathematics, and an MS in Meteorology. She has been in the Air Force for 17 years and was recently stationed in Bagram, Afghanistan. Southwest Asia is generally arid, with a hot desert climate, persistent high winds, thunderstorms, and turbulence plus extreme heat. There are many dust storms which have seasons also. This is important for the field commanders to know. Ann stated that there is sometimes snow accumulation and flooding, and clouds and icing. These all have much impact on airplane operations.

The weather personnel in these remote places have a "Reachback" to various sites in the United States. Reachback occurs through web base and email at Headquarters Air Force Weather Agency in Omaha, NE; Air Force Combat Climatology Center in Asheville, NC; and the 28th Operational Weather Squadron at Shaw AFB, SC which gives a 24/7 operations support. The Joint Operational Area Forecasts (JOAF) are daily forecast discussions (held on secure "secret" computers) with guidance on overall expected conditions and a 5-day outlook on meteorological hazards. This is all briefed to senior decision-makers on weather effects on theater operations. You need to coordinate theater weather equipment, personnel, and requirements; "One-theater, one forecast."

TSgt Lois Ellingson was born and raised in Maine. She has been in the Air Force for 14 years. She was also stationed at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. In preparation for this assignment, she had to have a lot of training such as: Tactical equipment training (includes a tactical observing equipment, a tactical satellite receiver, and a tactical forecast system); M-16 qualification training; chemical warfare training, self-aid buddy care training; law of armed conflict training; force protection training; weather refresher training; plus equipment issue. Each military person has to carry a lot of stuff!! She was part of a 3-person team that operated 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Each team was part of a resource protection for over 70 aircraft and more than 17,000 troops. They had to prepare weather briefings for all local and transient aircraft missions as requested; approximately 100-150 briefs per month.

Lois discussed the weather challenges facing them and the biggest were the "mountains, mountains, mountains" to the west of the base. There were drainage winds out of the mountains to the North and moisture from the south coming up the valley and being held in the "bowl." There were thunderstorms, inversions, and even the mountains stopping the weather from making it to Bagram. Data was sparse and satellite pictures were usually not current. TSgt Ellingson was there when the big earthquake hit Pakistan. Bagram Air Base was used as a staging area for humanitarian relief operations.

TSgt Michelle Moses has been in the Air Force almost 11 years. She has been a weather forecaster for 7 years and provides weather data to National Intelligence Agencies. She was stationed at Balad Air Base/Logistic Support Area Anaconda, Iraq for 120 days. The weather unit (staff of 9) supports 17 airframes and 200 aircraft. There are at least 2 people on each shift which usually give 50-60 aircrew briefings a day. 11,004 combat sorties happened while she was stationed in Iraq plus over 140 mortars/missiles. She described living there and the "hooches" that they lived in, like barracks, and the "cadillacs" which held the showers and toilet facilities.

Michelle described the many haboobs and shamals that happened quite regularly. A haboob is a strong wind which is often a sandstorm or duststorm. A shamal is a northwest wind which can generally last from one to five days. Some shamals can last even longer and create a haze that is often so thick as to obscure the land, making navigation dangerous. Because of these storms, the weather unit is constantly cleaning the meteorological instruments so they can work properly. TSgt Moses showed a video that was taken of a sandstorm (haboob) that went through the base there in Iraq. In just a matter of minutes, the base went completely dark. Quite extraordinary!

After questions from the audience, the meeting was adjourned by Susan Tarbell.---Susan Tarbell.


The Central Illinois Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) met on March 16, 2006 at Ruby Tuesday Restaurant in Bloomington, Illinois. 33 people attended the meeting.


Presidents Report

Mike Kruk, chapter president, announced that elections would be held at our next meeting on May 2nd, and that the nominating committee was being formed to solicit nominations. Votes prior to the meeting can be by mail or e-mail. Votes also will be taken at the next meeting.

Treasurer's Report

Llyle Barker, reported that as of March 14, 2006, twenty-eight full members have paid their dues for the 05-06 meeting year for an Income of $420. As a reminder, you must pay your dues in order to vote.

Aside from reimbursement for the January meeting speakers meal, the General Funds balance is $1440.50. No conference fund actions have been made since the last meeting.

Education/Public Outreach

On March 4th, Mike Kruk, Sam Shea, and Leslie Ensor of the CIAMS handed out 20 chapter brochures and spoke about benefits of joining the chapter at the Emergency Manager and Media Severe Weather workshop hosted by the WSFO in Lincoln, Illinois.

Bob Scott and Bob Rauber each taught 2 classes of boy scouts at Holy Cross School in Champaign, Illinois at an annual Boy Scout education event designed to help the scouts attain various badges. About 80 boy scouts earned their weather badge.

The Education Committee administered the Urbana Regional portion of the Science Olympiad Exam. The committee is working with the Lincoln Weather Service Office to draft the Illinois State Olympiad Competition on April 29th. The National Competition will be held in May. Annual AMS Meeting

Mike Palecki represented the Chapter at the Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society, attending the breakfast meeting and presenting our chapter poster. He reported that next year there will be a poster competition.

Upcoming Meetings

The next meeting of the CIAMS will be held in Decatur, Illinois on Tuesday, May 2nd. Jay Searles, a local broadcast meteorologist, will speak at our final meeting of the 2005-2006 fiscal year. Again annual elections will be held at that meeting


James Auten, lead forecaster at the Lincoln Illinois National Weather Service Office (ILX) presented a talk entitled "A Look at the Severe Weather Warning Operations inside the National Weather Service". His talk included detailed information on 1) the processes involved in preparing for successful operations, 2) staffing positions, 3) the operational plan, 4) factors to consider in the days preceding a severe weather event, during the event and actions taken following the event. Finally, 5) examples of operations from an event on June 29, 1998 when the NEXRAD Radars were present, but computer support was limited, and from a recent March 12-13, 2006 tornado outbreak affecting the local Springfield IL area.

The process of severe weather warning operations begins with the education of the staff regarding severe weather, initially at universities, and then as employees attending workshops and seminars, reviewing literature and researching past severe weather outbreaks. Training of staff continues formally by attending Radar School and other NWS schools, and informally by replaying self-paced or real-time simulations from archived data on the Warning Event Simulator (WES). Real-time operations i.e. real- time experience is of course a large component of staff training, as anything can happen. Verification of forecast warnings are made to complete the training. This includes damage surveys (how many of the 20 counties under the warning had severe weather) and post event reviews (using WES): How well did we do? What we could have done better? What was missed? What distracted us?

The positions involved in the warning process include: the Warning Coordinator (WCO), who coordinates and directs the operations, ensuring proper staffing levels, keeping track of warnings and statements and filling in when necessary; the Warning Meteorologist, who evaluates the radar, satellite, lightning, surface data, and spotter reports, and who issues necessary warnings and statements (if the warning area is large or complex enough, sometimes 2 or 3 are necessary); the Communications Person (COP) who handles all in-coming phone calls, National Warning System (NAWAS), phone and e-mail reports, and advises county emergency coordinators of threats; the communications person or the Console Replacement System (CRS) Monitor who ensures that all warnings and other statements are getting onto the CRS, i.e. to the NOAA Weather Radio; the Ham Radio Volunteers (HAM) who broadcast warnings and statements using amateur radio and who solicit and collect reports from Emergency Operation Coordinators (EOCs); the Long Term Forecasters, (LTF, two for the 08-16 LST and two for the 20-04 LST hour shifts) who create and disseminate forecast products; the Short Term Forecaster (STF, manned 24 hr/day) who is the meso-analyst, and also updates forecast products and issues short term and terminal forecasts; the Hydrometeorologist Technician (HTM) / intern who coordinates the upper air launches and collects data from the Surface Weather Operational Stations (SWOPS) and NWS cooperative sites and issues routine climate forecasts; the Electronic Technician (ET) who insures equipment is working properly and stands by to fix what is necessary (AWIS, Upper Air, Computer), the Flash Flood Analyst who monitors flash flood potential, radar precipitation products, real-time precipitation and flood reports (what counties and basins are susceptible to flash flooding), and the Shift Leader who coordinates between the Warning Coordinator and the staff, and who attempts to minimized distractions to the staff.

In the days leading up to a severe weather event, the public, media, and Emergency Managers are notified of a severe weather potential via the Hazardous Weather Outlook (HWO), e-mail, and other weather discussions. Staffing for the event is planned. Conference calls are conducted with Emergency Managers and the media for Moderate and High Risk Outlooks.

For a minor event that involves only one sector of the region, 5 - 7 staff are usually used: the WCO/COP, the Warning Forecaster, the STF/Meso-Analyst, the HMT/Intern, the CRS Monitor, the LTF (if needed) and the Flash Flood Analyst (if needed). For a moderate event that involves two sectors, 4-6 additional persons are added: an additional Warning Forecaster and a COP to assist each Warning Forecaster; and an ET. For a major event that involves 2 - 3 sectors of the warning region, 11 - 13 staff are used (adding an additional Warning Forecaster and a COP, plus 2-3 HAMS. There are only 22 employees at the ILS-NWSFO in total, so a significant proportion of the staff is involved for major severe weather outbreaks, both on the day of the event and on the days following the event.

Following a severe weather event further planning is needed: additional reports are collected, preparations are made for damage surveys (if needed) and the damage surveys are accomplished; evaluation of staffing needs is performed, particularly if more severe weather is imminent. Media calls are fielded, necessary reports are prepared, and web pages are created for the Internet to disseminate information to the public and emergency managers.

A number of factors are considered in planning by the warning coordinator that can affect his/her decisions. Is the environment tornadic and could this change? What type of storm does the Warning Coordinator envision when considering the synoptic, mesoscale and storm environment? As the event evolves, does this conceptual model match what is happening? What is the history of the storm? What type of damage (hail, wind, rain) reports are being received once the storm has reached the forecast area? What is the time of day, the day of the week, the time of the year? Are people asleep, on their way home from work, are there leaves on the trees? How will high winds, heavy rains or hail affect the region?

Distractions can affect the performance of the staff during a severe weather event and these are monitored by the Shift Leader: Equipment problems, communication, computer or radar malfunctions can be very disruptive. Bad / late reports can result in staff taking extra time to consider the implications of the report, or may mislead the staff particularly if other distractions are present. Fatigue, hunger, and personal issues can distract personnel. Music can be distracting. Life threatening reports, particularly when they are located in the region where a staffer's family resides can be another distraction.

Mr. Auten then proved two examples of the warning process in full operation. The first of these was a bow echo / derecho event of June 30, 1998. On this date, a line of storms in Iowa that had produced wind damage and tornadoes was approaching central Illinois. A large area of ground-relative radial velocities in excess of 64 kts, as observed by radar was racing towards the area. The primary operational team consisted of three staff members, one to concentrate on the radar with the single PUP station present, one warning decision maker who communicated with the Emergency Managers, and one person to key the warnings and statements on the single PC present. Data from 3 NOAA radars, 1 satellite, and 1 upper air site were available to the trio. Bow echoes are known to produce tornados, especially along the leading edge. In this case the leading edge was extensive, spanning nearly the entire county warning area (CWA). This prompted the trio to question where warnings should be issued to best represent the danger posed by this bow echo. The team wanted to heighten awareness of the approaching line, and made a bold move by over-warning. They issued multiple county tornado warnings (so that the sirens would deploy) all along the line, in each of 35 counties. In the end, the derecho produced 7 tornadoes and all 35 counties in the ILX-CWA experienced some damage.

The second example presented by Mr. Auten focused on the Springfield Illinois tornado event of March 12, 2006. On this date, a dangerous supercell thunderstorm was approaching. Over the intervening 8 years, staffing, computer power and access to observational resources had expanded, and more precise locations for tornado warning could be issued. The sequence of events is as follows. Early Sunday March 12, an e-mail was sent to Emergency Managers for a conference call at noon. There was a high risk of severe weather over Central Illinois. The Storm Prediction Center requested 18Z and 21Z upper air radiosonde flights. Additional conference calls were held at 2 pm and 6 pm. The first Tornado Watch was issued around noon local time until 10 pm covering a large area of the country from Oklahoma to Central Illinois. Staffing was increased from 3 to 5 around noon. Storms were present to the west and southeast, so two warning sectors were established. Staffing was increased to 8 people by mid-afternoon.

The weather was quiet from 4 to 7 pm. But by 7 pm, two supercells had merged into one massive supercell in eastern Missouri / western Illinois and was approaching Springfield IL in the southwest quadrant of the CWA. Additional storms were moving northeast towards the northwest areas of CWA. Springfield TV station WICS and Decatur TV station WAND began broadcasting live weather reports. The NWS NOAAA Weather Radio broadcast went live on SPI NWR. A situational awareness screen was activated at the Weather Service Office to monitor local TV broadcasts, and to make sure that warnings were properly disseminated. By 8 pm staffing had increased to 9, including the ET. Two NWS employees that lived in Springfield were contacted. 2-3 HAM volunteers were present during entire event.

Once the first tornado warning was sent out, the entire staff was busy. Sixteen (16) of 22 employees worked at some point during the event. A warm front moved north late in the day, but quickly. The main supercell entered the CWA in southeastern Scott County at 7:29 pm and exited CWA from southeastern McLean County around 9:30 pm. During the event there were 6 confirmed tornadoes in the CWA, one F1 and five F2 tornadoes (2 in Springfield). Severe weather came in 4 waves, with 2 more waves after the Springfield supercell. Warning Operations lasted from noon on Sunday March 12 until 8 am Monday March 13. Two damage surveys were conducted that Monday and one on Tuesday. Many in the office also had worked severe weather operations on Saturday evening March 11, 2006. It had been an eventful week for the ILX Weather Service Office.


After questions the meeting adjourned around 9:45 PM.---Nancy Westcott.


March Newsletter

The 8 March 2006 meeting of the DC Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (DC AMS) was held at the US Naval Observatory (USNO), Washington, District of Columbia. Our hosts for the evening were CDR Mark Gunzelman, Bob Freeman, Mike Angle, and Naval Observatory Public Affairs Officer Geoff Chester. Following a Social Hour with hors d' oeuvres and a short business meeting, chapter members and guests were treated to tours of the Observatory's Library, Master Clock, 26-inch and 12-inch Refractor Telescopes. (NOTE: The majority of the following text and all of the photos were taken from the USNO web page,

Founded in 1830 as the Depot of Charts and Instruments, the Naval Observatory is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the country. As a service organization, one of its first tasks was the calibration of ship's chronometers, which was accomplished by timing the transit of stars across the meridian. In 1855 the astronomical and nautical almanacs were started. From these service-oriented beginnings, USNO continues to be responsive to the fleet, Department of Defense (DoD), and national needs through provision of applied astrometry and timing products and services.

The U.S. Naval Observatory performs an essential scientific role for the United States, the Navy, and the Department of Defense. Its mission includes Astrometry (the determination of the positions and motions of the Earth, Sun, Moon, planets, stars and other celestial objects, providing astronomical data), determining precise time, measuring the Earth's rotation, and maintaining the Master Clock for the United States. Observatory astronomers formulate the theories and conduct the relevant research necessary to improve these mission goals. This astronomical and timing data, essential for accurate navigation and the support of communications on Earth and in Space, is vital to the Navy and Department of Defense. It is also used extensively by other agencies of the government and the public at large.

We were lucky to have mostly clear night so we were able to view Saturn and 5 of its moons through the USNO 26-inch refracting telescope. What an amazing wonderful sight! This telescope has a rich history. Completed in 1873 at a cost of $50,000, it was the largest refracting telescope in the world for a decade. The lens and mounting were made by the renowned firm of Alvan Clark & Sons of Cambridgeport, MA, and the great telescope was duly erected on the grounds of the old Naval Observatory site in the Foggy Bottom section of Washington. It was from this site, in August of 1877, that astronomer Asaph Hall discovered the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos, with the "Great Equatorial Telescope", bringing the attention of the world to the USNO.

The move to the Observatory's present site in 1893 allowed the 26-inch lens to be re-mounted in a new dome with a new mounting designed by the Warner & Swasey Company of Cleveland, OH. This design incorporated a rising floor to facilitate access to the eyepiece. This floor is still the largest elevator in the city!

Today, the telescope is used on every clear night to measure the parameters of double stars. Over the years, visual observations by astronomers using micrometers have been replaced by electronic imaging techniques. By taking very short exposures with a Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) camera, astronomers can actually use the blurring effect of Earth's atmosphere to their advantage to measure the separations and position angles of double star components. The technique, known as "speckle interferometry" is ideally suited to the 125 year-old optics of the great telescope and relatively unaffected by the urban location of the Observatory. Several thousand stars are measured annually, and the database of such observations, added to the visual observations dating back over a century, provide for one of the most concise double star catalogs in the world. The telescope is also used to measure the positions of the moons of the outer planets to help refine their orbital parameters. These data are vital in planning missions to such distant worlds.

We next viewed our own planet's moon through the USNO 12-inch refracting telescope. The telescope was made by George Saegmuller of Washington, DC in 1892 and fitted with a 12-inch f/15 objective lens made by the firm of Alvan Clark & Sons, Cambridge, MA in 1895, when it was installed in Building 1 atop a five-storey masonry pier. It was used extensively in the early 20th Century for double star measurements and astrometry of planetary satellites and asteroids. Several asteroids were discovered by astronomer George Peters with this venerable telescope.

In 1957 the telescope was removed from the dome and replaced by a specialized camera which recorded the precise position of the Moon with respect to the background stars. These data were used to refine the Moon's orbit for the first lunar exploratory missions, culminating with the Apollo program. They were also used to define the relationship between the time-scale measured by the Earth's rotation and that measured by atomic clocks.

(Photo by Richard Schmidt)

We next took a brief tour of one of our Nations treasures, the James Melville Gilliss Library. The library, an essential tool in the everyday working of the Observatory, contains a number of extremely rare books including: Robert Boyle: Curious Mathematical Forms (1670), Johannes Kepler: Sir Isaac Newton: Ad Vitellionem paralipomena (1604), Arithmetica universalis, sive, De compositione et resolutione arithmetica (1761), and Galileo Galilei: Dialogo di Galileo Galilei Linceo matematico sopraordinario dello studio di Pisa (1632).

The final treat of the evening was a visit to the USNO Master Clock. By a Department of Defense directive, the U.S. Naval Observatory is charged with maintaining the DoD reference standard for Precise Time and Time Interval (PTTI). The Superintendent is designated as the DoD PTTI Manager. The U.S. Naval Observatory has developed the world's most accurate atomic clock system. Increasingly accurate and reliable time information is required in many aspects of military operations. Modern navigation systems depend on the availability and synchronization of highly accurate clocks. This holds for such ground-based systems as LORAN-C as well as for the Department of Defense satellite-based NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS). In the communications and the intelligence fields, time synchronized activities are essential. The USNO Master Clock is the time and frequency standard for all of these systems. Thus, that clock system must be at least one step ahead of the demands made on its accuracy, and developments planned for the years ahead must be anticipated and supported.

The atomic clock timescale of the Observatory is based on an ensemble of approximately 50 cesium-beam frequency standards and a dozen hydrogen masers. Frequency data from this ensemble are used to steer the frequency of another such maser, designated Master Clock 2 (MC #2), until its time equals the average of the ensemble, thereby providing the physical realization of this "paper timescale."

Highly accurate portable atomic clocks have been transported aboard aircraft in order to synchronize the time at Naval Bases and other Department of Defense facilities around the world with the Master Clock. Accurate time synchronization with the Master Clock is now beginning to be carried out through the use of atomic clocks in satellites, such as the GPS satellites, which will provide the primary means of time synchronization and worldwide time distribution in the future.

USNO Coordinated Universal Time (UTC USNO) is usually kept within 10 nanoseconds of UTC. An estimate of the slowly changing difference UTC - UTC (USNO, MC #2) is computed daily.

The following is a brief description of other time units of duration: --- Lauraleen O'Connor.

Minutes for March 21, 2006

Grad Panel Campbell research-grade weather station General announcements Cy's Eyes NCWFC KaleidoQuiz Minnesota trip Intramurals AMS Picnic Historian VEISHEA Safety Signs Around Campus Science Nights Severe Weather Safety Poster Contest and Grocery Bags PWSE - "The Road Less Traveled" Weather Explorations Severe Storms and Doppler Radar Conference Tim Samaras Seminar National Storm Chaser Convention Officer Nominations Upcoming events:
Workout group at the rec - Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. at the rec
NWA Conference in DSM - Thursday, March 23 to Saturday, March 25
Minnesota trip - Friday, March 31 - Sunday, April 1
NWS tour - Wednesday, April 5
Science Nights - Thursday, April 6
Science Center of Iowa and Forces of Nature field trip - April, date TBA
End of year Faculty/Student Picnic - Sunday, April 2
April 4th - Watch ISU Alumnus Mike Falk on Jeopardy

NEXT MEETING - Thursday, April 20, 7 p.m. OFFICER ELECTIONS!!!---Justin Gehrts.


Start time: 7:05PM

Sean Ryan Andrew Brian Jim End time: 7:23PM---Jon Cunningham.


March 8th's meeting was one of the biggest turn outs this year due to the nominations of the 2007 - 2008 officers. Everyone went above and beyond with their speeches! March 22nd, our 5th meeting of the semester consisted of the Weather Bug speaker, Mr. Joe Bartosik and a revote for Vice-President. Joe was a 1999 MU grad, who talked about his job and other things weather bug has to offer. Immediately following the lecture we had Eric Meyers and Jen Vogt give a more in-depth speech about what they have to offer next year if elected Vice-President for the 2006 - 2007 school year.---Jodie Frazee.


The North Florida Chapter of the AMS held its March 2006 meeting on Thursday, March 23, 2006 at 7:30pm in Rm. 353 of the Love Building on FSU's campus. Approximately thirty members were in attendance, including three-fifths of the executive board. President Pat Taylor opened the meeting with a brief introduction of the evening's program and opening of chapter business.

Highlights in chapter business for the month included reports on the ongoing t-shirt drive, notification about an upcoming chapter bake sale in early April, the upcoming chapter social event at Tom Brown Park to close the chapter year in early April, and an update on chapter funds. Science and educational outreach programs ruled the day, however, as led by committee chair Jessica Donnelly. Over the past few weeks and in the coming few weeks, various committee members helped or were to help with Science Olympiad training at Fairview Middle School (under the tutelage of Mrs. Irene Klay), assist in judging several local middle school science fairs, develop training programs for future outreach activities, as well as assist with the Springtime Tallahassee festival on April 1st, distributing posters and offering several meteorological/scientific lab stations for families to take part in.

Preliminary nominations for the 2006-2007 chapter Executive Board were taken at the close of chapter business. Nominations were only allowed to be made by active chapter members and required both a seconding of the nomination and approval of the nominated party. While no nominations were to be made official until April's chapter meeting, the following candidates were named for the various officer positions: President – Jessica Fieux, Pat Taylor; Vice President – Katie Walls, Brian Jackson; Secretary – none; Treasurer – David Piech, Steven Martinaitis. As previously mentioned, elections will be held at the April chapter meeting on April 20th.

This month's featured speaker was Dr. Tony Stallins of the FSU Dept. of Geography, speaking on his research into anthropogenic lightning patterns and influences in the Atlanta, GA region. His research was of particular relevance given the recent AMS Annual Meeting in Atlanta attended by many chapter members in attendance plus the large amount of ongoing lightning research with the meteorology department. He showed distinct patterns of lightning formation under various wind regimes in the Atlanta area, coincident with major interstates and various geographic features within the region. While most of the lightning patterns can be explained using known features within the region, some cannot be explained as readily. Many implications of this are apparent in terms of property insurance and 911 calls for lightning injuries and damage and such research is currently being factored into decisions made by those groups.

The meeting was adjourned after Dr. Stallins' talk at approximately 9pm.---Clark Evans.


March Meeting Minutes---Evan Kuchera.


Meeting Minutes-March 28, 2006

James Barnier, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) Forest Fire Suppression Specialist, addressed a group of 50 students and members on Weather Conditions and the Impacts on Wisconsin Wildland Fires, at the UW Green Bay campus. The following is a summary of his presentation:

The Peshtigo Fire of 1871 remains the fire with the greatest loss of life in American history. Burning of debris remains the main cause of wildland fires in Wisconsin. The needs for weather forecast data are met with short term, medium term (3-5 days), long term, and extremely long term forecasts. Primary weather variables include relative humidity, wind speed, precipitation, duration of precipitation, and temperature. Secondary concerns are soil type, fuel moisture, time of year, fronts, troughs, and dry slots behind fronts.

Short term forecast products are produced by the National Weather Service.
Many other products are available via the internet.
A current fire danger product is available from the WDNR on the web.

Red flag fire danger is indicated when dangerous conditions exist, with the surface temperature above 55 degrees, less that 25% relative humidity, and a 15 mph or greater wind speed.

In local chapter business, nominations will be accepted during early April for PCAMS positions. An election will be held soon after. Annual storm spotter training will be conducted on May 2 at UWGB. More information to follow.---Dale Walker.


The March meeting of the Penn State Branch of the American Meteorological Society was held on March 30, 2006 at 6:00 pm. This meeting featured Elliot Abrams, Senior Vice President and Chief Forecaster for AccuWeather. He spoke about the role weather played during the American Revolution.

There are many instances when the weather affected the plans of the British and the colonists during the American Revolution. One example is the Boston Tea Party. In 1773, a shipload of tea was supposed to be shipped to New York, but because of a strong south wind in the Atlantic, the ship was forced to dock in Boston. A number of revolutionists dressed as Indians boarded the ships and threw the tea into the harbor as a strategy to boycott British goods.

During the Revolutionary War, the weather played a role in the outcome of several battles due to George Washington's weather knowledge. He used the weather to advance the cause of the Revolutionist army. The British planned to attack Boston on March 5, but a big snow storm hit that day prompting the British to evacuate Boston. In the Battle of Long Island, the British would have taken Long Island if it were not for a strong north wind. They wanted to sail north up the East River to the east of Manhattan. If they would have accomplished this, the Americans would have been enclosed and the British would have likely succeeded in victory. In another battle, Washington was leading the Americans fighting the British just outside of Philadelphia. It looked as if the British had the Americans cornered and Washington's army defeated, but then a heavy rain storm came and the soldier's shoes sunk in the mud, forcing the British to abandon their attack plans. This enabled Washington to cross the Delaware River and capture Trenton when the British least expected it. The Battle of Germantown occurred on a morning with extremely dense fog with visibilities about 25 feet. Tragically, this reduced visibility lead to the first instances of American deaths from friendly fire. The Americans thought they were under British attack and many Americans shot each other. There were a few occasions when hurricanes or tropical storms off of the mid-Atlantic coast affected naval battles.

Throughout Abrams's presentation, he reconstructed weather maps of the eastern United States from important battles to help give a feeling of the likely synoptic setups that created the battle-impacting weather conditions.

Abrams also showed several time lapse movies of sky cover in the Centre County, PA region during different weather situations. Included in these movies were the passage of fronts, intense thunderstorms, and snow squalls.

To read more about Abrams, please visit: Hagen.


All Members Meeting

Date: March 8, 2006
Minutes: 6:30- 7:45pm
Members in Attendance: 36
Board Members in Attendance: Chris G, Chris W, Katie F, Andy T, Katie P
Adviser: Dr. Hoffman
Guest Speakers: Lt. Col. Winstead and Capt. Morano out of AFROTC @UNH

What did we discuss? ---Katie Francoeur.


Meeting Minutes
Thursday, March 9, 2006

The meeting was called to order by chapter president Brian O'Hara at 5:30 pm PST. He welcomed the attendees and thanked them for coming in spite of the inclement weather.

Weather briefing:
Phillip Marzette then gave the evening's weather briefing.

Officer reports:
There were no officer reports this meeting.

Committee reports:
There was only one committee with a report. The Constitution Committee had prepared a draft constitution for the members' consideration. Brian O'Hara read each article of the constitution separately. Each article was discussed (if needed). Many articles were approved without discussion. There were a few suggestions made for the draft constitution. Brian noted the suggestions. He will edit the draft constitution to add the suggestions. Brian will then email the updated draft to the chapter membership asking for additional suggestions. The attendees at the meeting agreed that, if no suggestions are made after a period of two weeks, then the updated constitution should be sent to the AMS as the chapter's official constitution and by-laws. Otherwise, the new suggestions will be discussed, modified if necessary, and approved at the next chapter meeting in April.

Unfinished business:
The attendees discussed the proposal (from last month's meeting) of collecting cloud photos and photos of other types of weather phenomena. It was agreed that these photos could be used in the creation of a weather calendar that the chapter could do research for, and sell annually, as a fundraising project.

New business:
Brian O'Hara proposed that the chapter should have some type of momento to give to people who give presentations at chapter meetings. Brian passed around an example of this type of momento. It is a clear glass paperweight with the words "Reno - Lake Tahoe Student Chapter" and "American Meteorological Society" etched on the back. The attendees agreed that this would be a nice momento to present to speakers.

Dr. Melanie Wetzel then discussed the University of Nevada Radio Club. She said that it might be a good way for chapter members to learn about amateur radio, and how it is used in meteorology and other fields.

Dr. Wetzel also discussed a new children's discovery museum that is being planned for Reno. She said that the museum will have a weather section that children can explore. She proposed that the chapter volunteer to help design the weather section of the museum. She then passed around handouts describing the new project.

Evening's program:
Brian O'Hara gave a Powerpoint presentation describing the 100th anniversary of snow surveying, and the pioneering role that Dr. James E. Church (professor at the University of Nevada from 1892-1959) played in the development of snow surveying. Dr. Church also built the first weather observatory on Mt. Rose (20 miles southwest of Reno) in 1906, invented the Mt. Rose snow sampler, and was instrumental in starting the Western Snow Conference, along with other American and international scientific organizations devoted to the study of snow and water resources.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:17 pm PST.---Brian F. O'Hara.


The March meeting of the Smoky Mountain Chapter was held on Monday the 13th. Everyone met at the WATE-TV 6 studios in Knoxville around 5:45 p.m. to watch the live production of the evening's newscast. There was severe weather in the area at the time, which made for an interesting evening watching how TV meteorologists do their job. After the newscast, Matt Hinkin showed us how he puts together his weather segment using the different computers and weather data. Matt then conducted a tour of the entire studio (including some history of the Greystone Mansion where the studio is housed), and showed everyone how the entire newscast is produced behind the scenes. After the newscast tour, everyone moved to Barley's Taproom in the Old City of Knoxville for dinner.

Officer elections were held the week before (by email) with David Gaffin elected as President, Matt Hinkin as Vice-President, and Ernie Roberts as Treasurer/Secretary.---David Gaffin.


Texas A&M Student Chapter had a great March meeting! First of all we discussed all of our upcoming trips for March and April. We have many social events coming up such as Putt-Putt golf night and an Aggie Baseball game to attend. We are also traveling to Houston to tour the meteorological side of NASA and to Galveston to participate in Adopt-A-Beach. We are also starting a new tradition this year by having a brunch during Parent's Weekend. This gives the students and their parents to meet the professors in our department. Our speaker for the night was Dr. Saravanan, a current professor in our atmospheric sciences department. He discussed the role of global warming and how it will affect us in the future. Elections will be held at our April 4th meeting for the 2006-2007 officers. We will also be hearing from the Hurricane Hunters.---Melissa Polt.


The March 2006 Meeting of the Twin Cities American Meteorological Society was called to order at 7:30 p.m. at Big City Tavern in Roseville.

Our upcoming meetings were discussed. The next gathering will be on April 11 at St. Cloud State University. We have been invited to view student researchers in the science and engineering departments practice for their science colloquium. We are still working on a meeting on April 28 to hear Tim Samaras speak. Tim invented the "turtles" which have been placed in the path of tornadoes. His appearance is weather-dependent; i.e., if the weather is not stormy, he will be available.

Vice President Shelby Winiecki gave a report on the "Meet a Meteorologist" part of "The Magic School Bus Kicks up a Storm" exhibit at the Minnesota Children's Museum in St. Paul. The kids had a variety of questions, but the most common theme was about tornadoes.

President Rich Naistat (not present) received a request for the Twin Cities AMS to co-sponsor the Northern Plains Winter Weather Conference in October at St. Cloud State University. The attending membership felt this was a good idea.

Member Jonathan Cohen related his experience judging at a recent Twin Cities science fair. He tried to give two awards in each of the three regions, and he discovered that there was a better variety of meteorologically-oriented exhibits at the junior-high level, which is probably because meteorology is studied at the junior high level and not the senior high level. He gave out five awards.

Member Doug Dokken mentioned Science Madness at the Science Museum of Minnesota on March 31 through April 1. He will be staffing an exhibit there showing archived radar data and numerical simulations on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The speaker for the evening, Kyle Peterson of WineHaven Winery, commenced his presentation. His is a small, but growing, family winery near Chisago City, Minnesota, which had been producing wines commercially for about ten years. He spoke primarily of the challenge of growing wines in a northern, continental climate, and inferred the importance of understanding the microclimates which occur in their vineyards. The grapes they use are a hybrid of vitis vinifera grapes and a grape species common in Minnesota, which gives the grapes a hardier nature, which can withstand a winter with temperatures to -15ºF. They like lots of snowfall to create insulation for the ground. Instead of bending over the vines and covering them with straw for the winter, which can cause cracking in the trunks and pests nesting near the vines, they just let the vines stay out in the winter cold. Also, some of their stock is made with honey, so if they have a bad grape year, at least they will have mead. They also produce wines made out of rhubarb, raspberries, and cranberries, all from local growers. This gives them a little more freedom to experiment than other wineries.

They recently opened a new section of their land for grape growing, an area which was sloped and which had a pond at the bottom. They noticed that in this area, which faced south, first frost occurred one to two weeks later there than it did in the rest of the vineyard. Also, they noticed that if they cleared the vines from the bottom of the plants, it allowed cool air to drain better through the vineyard.

Kyle spoke about growing grapes in general, such as how red wines do better when the grapes grow in warmer climates, and how the taste of a wine seems to be influenced by the other fruit plants which grow in that region; for example, wines made from the New York varieties of grapes often have an apple or pear taste.

For a winery in Minnesota, WineHaven has collected 80 medals, 5 of them gold, and 23 of them last year including two best of shows. In 2005, it was the most-decorated winery between the Rockies and Appalachians.

After a few more questions about wine aging, tasting, and general winemaking, the meeting ended about 9:00 p.m.---Chris Bovitz.


Tuesday March 7, 2006

---Christy Wall.


March 9, 2006

President - Chasity Byrd
Vice-President - Paul Boudreaux
Secretary - Tara Golden
Treasurer - Sommer Garrett
SeCAPS Coordinator - Javier Vazquez
Webmaster - Jason Holmes
Public Relations - Jenny Smith

Upcoming Events: SeCAPS: Stormchase Trip: ----Tara Golden


March Newsletter---Mary Bedrick


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