Chapter News
November 2008


The Ark-La-Tex Chapter of the American Meteorological Society held its 6th meeting of 2008 on November 24th at the KTBS Channel 3 Studios in Shreveport. The meeting began at 545pm, with four members present.

Joe Haynes, Chief Meteorologist for KTBS Channel 3, and Mark Rowlett, Channel 3 Morning Meteorologist, both led a tour of the Weather Lab, and also of the TV Studios, including the Production area, Newsroom, and the Master Control area, occupied by several engineers as they coordinated the station programming with national programming. The members also watched the live 6pm broadcast from the Weather Lab. While in the Weather Lab, Haynes and Rowlett explained their role in the local media, how broadcasts are made, and the technology used to put a newscast/weathercast together. They also featured their sources for weather information, and the tools they use daily to help develop their daily forecasts/weathercasts.

The following members were present:

Jason Hansford (President)

Keith Stellman

Joe Haynes

Mark Rowlett     

The meeting adjourned at 800 pm.---Jason Hansford, for Secretary Marcy Novak.



Meeting Date: 11.20.08

Location: Asiana Grand Buffet in West Asheville

I. Introduction and Call to Order

President Pamela McCown called the meeting to order at 6:20 PM and stated that if anyone was interested in participating in planning for the 2009 Public Education Climate Series to please sign up on the appropriate sheet.

III. Approval of the Last Meeting’s Minutes

Secretary Kathleen O. Davis was not able to attend. Pamela read the minutes from the last chapter meeting. McCown asked the members if there were any corrections to the minutes. There were no corrections, and the minutes were approved.

III. New Business

Pamela invited Alan Turco, an educator, to make an announcement. Alan suggested that interested members go to local high schools – calculus classes – to show how calculus can be applied in meteorology. Also suggested going to 5th and 6th grade classes to help students develop an interest in science. He provided his contact information and offered to coordinate this effort for those interested. This benefits both the kids and the community.

Future Meetings: Pamela announced details of the December meeting to be held Thursday December 11, 6:00 PM at Asiana Grand Buffet.  Dr. Chris Hennon of UNCA will present on the 2008 Hurricane Season.

IV. Old Business

Pamela mentioned that ERS will have a booth set up for the annual National AMS meeting in January. She will be representing the chapter at the Chapter breakfast event at the AMS Annual meeting. There are plans to submit a poster this year.

AMS will also hold national elections. Voting can be done online.

V. Treasurer’s Report

Chapter funds – received $160 in new dues; expended $100 for AMS funds; Pamela received $1000 Progress Energy check to assist in costs for climate series talks.

VI. Science Fair  Report – Bruce Burleson stated that a science fair is tentative in February at Western Carolina University.

VI1. Presentation -  Richard Heim and Michael Brewer presented a talk - “NCDC Drought Monitoring in the NIDIS Era”

The U.S. is experiencing vulnerability in drought.

The U.S. loses $6-8 billion per year due to drought.

Drought can increase even without an increase in rain – this can happen due to socioeconomics and increasing populations.

NCDC began involvement in active drought monitoring in 1988.

The Climate Monitoring Branch was established in 1999. The group produces monthly and special reports.

NCDC is involved in both the U.S. Drought Monitor and North American Drought Monitor.

NCDC also has a Living Blended Paleo Drought report – Use tree rig data to extend drought perspective back hundreds and thousands of years.

NIDIS provides:

In the future, NIDIS will utilize soil moisture data from sensors installed at USCRN stations.

There are several pilot projects to address local/regional needs. These projects look at mitigation/adaptation assessments for given regions and determine tools needed.

A portal will become available at (this will be updated soon).

- What are the conditions now?

- How is it impacting me?

- What will happen in the future?

Can display GIS information – spatial overlays

Can do analysis within communities behind the portal.

What is happening with drought now?

How do current drought conditions compare with the past?

When will the drought end?

Really long Outlook



November 20, 2008

The third meeting of the 2008/2009 Central North Carolina Chapter of the American Meteorological Society was called to order at 7:35 PM by President Kara Smith.  Vice-President Mike Gravier introduced the night’s speaker, Staff Sergeant Ann Barrett of the United States Air Force.  Her topic was titled, “Military Applications of Weather Forecasting and Technology”. 

Ann Barrett was born in Carson City, Nevada.  She studied theology prior to joining the United States Air Force in 2000.  After four years working at Edwards Air Force Base in California as an Armament Systems Specialist, she became interested in a career in meteorology.  She trained at Keesler Air Force Base in Mississippi before joining the 28th Operational Weather Squadron at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina.  Currently, Ann Barrett is stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, where she works with weather sensing equipment.  

SSgt Barrett mentioned the Air Force Weather Mission, which is to “deliver accurate, relevant, and timely environmental information, products, and services, anywhere in the world. They directly impact decision superiority by enhancing predictive battlespace awareness and enabling commanders at all levels to anticipate and exploit the battlespace environment, from the mud to the sun”.  Several groups make up the “mud to the sun”, including the United States Army Support, which includes the airborne and infantry, the United States Air Force, including aviation forecasting, space weather, and resource protection, and the United States Navy and Marine Corps, which involves sea surface and below, as well as air, ground, and space.  The US Air Force Aviation protection is extremely important both on a local level, where all flights require assistance from the group, as well as on a long-range level, for applications such as the B-2 bomber, which needs to fly around the world in a single mission.

Both enlisted military and officers are involved in Air Force weather systems.  The enlisted members typically enter basic training, acquire initial skills, and add more in depth training over the course of ten months.  Officers often have previous meteorological training and go directly to one of the weather hubs.  Hubs are located in Sembach, Germany, Hickam, Hawaii, Barksdale, Louisiana, Scott, Illinois, Shaw, South Carolina, and Tuscon, Arizona.  Additionally, Air Force Weather Specialists are located worldwide, in 110 locations between the Air Force and Army. 

SSgt Barrett reviewed some of the jobs that Air Force Weather Specialists perform.   These include radar interpretation, upper air analysis, maintaining their own satellite instrumentation, broadcasting Armed Forces news and radio, and some airmen who are in combat situations as on the ground environmental specialists. 

Some of the weapons of weather used by the military include observation, “predictive battlespace awareness”, and applying emerging technologies to the situation.  Observational tools include the tactical met observing system, the Kestrel 4000, which measures wind speed and direction, and the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP), which provides solar information.   “Predictive battlespace awareness” is applying meteorological information to make tactical decisions, such as the timing of an attack, as well as linking members “from the front to the rear”, or helping to maintain communication between combat weathermen and Air Force special support individuals.

Lastly, several pieces of weather equipment were shown and described. There was a tactical weather observing instrument capable of providing temperature, dew point, wind speed and direction, and altimeter data and sending the information directly to military communication systems.  Also on display was a laser-beam ceilometer, capable of providing accurate cloud height information, and a Kestral wind instrument as a backup, which is a very small easily carried wind sensor.

Kara Smith thanked SSgt Ann Barrett for speaking to the chapter and announced that the next meeting is scheduled for December 11th.  The speaker will be local chapter member Dr. Gerald Watson.  The topic of his presentation will involve the meteorological conditions on other planets.  The meeting was adjourned at 8:50.---Ryan Cleary.



First of all, a big thank you to Owen Shieh '07 for his presentation about grad school and storm chasing.

We are planning a coat drive.  A lot of details still need to be determined, but Eowyn will send out an e-mail with more information.

Apparel forms will be available Monday.  They will be due December 3.  Items will be delivered December 12.  Only embroidered items will be available.  CCAMS members get 5% off, which leads to...

We are taking suggestions for speakers to invite for next semester.  If you have specific nominations or a preference for a type of speaker, e-mail Julia (jlw226).

The FutureTek committee needs more people to help with programming and web design so that we send our forecasts to Mann Library.  If you are interested and haven't been in touch with Ethan (edp25), contact him.

We a forming a group to promote the National Weather Service's StormReady program.  We want to encourage either Cornell, Ithaca, or Tompkins County, to develop its severe weather communications system, promote public safety, and gain some recognition for it.  If you are interested in helping with this.

We picked a winner for our Snowfall Contest.  The date of the first day of snowfall was Nov. 18.  Four people, including our own John Cintineo, guessed this date.  The winner, Kwanet Young, was chosen by a random drawing.  We raised a total of $110!

We are forming our intramural bowling teams for the spring.  Contact Ethan if you are interested in joining and haven't let him know.---Robert Gottlieb.




November Speaker Presentation Notes:

For our November meeting, the Kansas City Chapter of the American Meteorological Society was pleased to host a presentation by Dr. Anthony Lupo from the University of Missouri. Dr. Lupo is also a member of the Nobel Prize winning IPCC Working Group.  Not only is Dr. Lupo an expert in climate science, but has received numerous prestigious teaching and academia awards for his work at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Dr. Lupo also serves as an associate editor for the American Meteorological Society publication Monthly Weather Review, and has been an invited speaker and presenter for a wide array of weather and climate topics, in locations ranging from Columbia to Moscow. Dr. Lupo’s presentation was titled "Global Warming: Attribution, who is to blame?”

“Weather” as described by Dr. Lupo is considered the day-to-day state of the atmosphere.  Weather includes such state variables and descriptive materials as cloud cover and precipitation, and often these state variables can be gathered instantaneously.  However, climate is viewed as a long-term or time mean state of the earth-atmosphere system and the state variables along with higher order statistics.  In climate, the description of extremes and recurrence frequencies is required.  Simply stated however, climate is a long-term summary of what has happened and can be descriptive and even serve to allow a forecast about “what is possible” in a given region. The World Meteorological Organization standard climate averaging period is 30 years which is long enough to eliminate “year to year” variations in climate and 30 years in considered not to be a long term relative to human life spans.  Therefore the study of climate or climatology is mainly a descriptive and statistical science, popular today because of the concern over climate change.

The climate system is considered an integrated system to which the atmosphere and “weather” is only a part of.  Other important players in the climate system include the cryosphere, the oceans, the lithosphere, and the biosphere. Each component in the climate system interacts with the other, evolving or changing slowly through time.  The atmosphere however is considered a “quick response” portion of the system. Dr. Lupo stated that we make two general assumptions about the climate system.  We assume that energy that enters the system equals the energy exiting the system and that the mass within the system is conserved.  But how do we acknowledge the mass within the system in terms of humanities contribution to climate?  It has been proven there is a strong correlation between global temperatures and carbon dioxide concentration but on an extremely long time-scale of tens of thousands of years. Studies have shown that the rate of carbon dioxide increase has been steady up to the early 2000’s, however unacknowledged is the fact that there is also some evidence of its dropping in recent history.  The fingerprint of carbon dioxide, its mass, reveals that there is no doubt that some of the increase in carbon dioxide has been generated by humans (industry).  Futuristic modeling of changing carbon dioxide levels is done constantly by climate skeptics to analyze future impacts on the global society.  These modelings consistently draw a comparison between rising carbon dioxide levels and increasing global temperatures some 1.5 to as high as 12 degrees by the year 2100.  Changes in the atmospheric portions of the climate system by this magnitude could cause significant weather phenomenon such as droughts, floods, storminess, and increased heat waves.

During the second half of his presentation, Dr. Lupo posed an interesting case for those against “global warming” theory.  Skeptics counter with charts showing that temperature change on various scales correlates to natural phenomenon.  Temperature changes on the level of centuries can be correlated to changes in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation. Temperature changes can also be tracked back millenias and correlated to solar forcing on ice age scales.  When looking at the past 150 years of climate change (global temperatures shown to be increasing) skeptics point to the lack of volcanic activity forcing which tends to cool climate.  Therefore, despite a series of opposing viewpoints to the global warming theory, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is able to quantify these climatic influences and estimate their errors. 

In order to provide adequate and useful modeling of the climate, one must realize the three main flaws to a climate model.  Often, climate models suffer from incomplete or missing physics, the model numerics are often inadequate, and there are often too few observational for the climate system.

Despite often inadequate modeling, humans have still been thought to contribute to climate change.  Global warming, as used in Dr. Lupo’s presentation, represents the contribution of humankind to the increase in carbon dioxide. Graphs and studies have shown there has been a contribution to carbon dioxide levels by humans especially during the past century.  So, the question is needs to be posed, can humans impact the climate? This question, answered by Dr. Lupo, is that yes humans can impact the climate but our contribution is likely small.  Certain studies indicate global temperatures have risen 0.6-1.2 degrees since 1860; however the margin of error to these studies is as high as 0.5 degrees.

Wrapping up his presentation, Dr. Lupo stated that despite the uncertainties to the study of climate,  the uncertainties to what is causing climate change, the uncertainties to the amount of human contribution, and whether or not you believe in what is causing climate change, there are still many things we can do to help our environment.  Regardless of our opinions, we still need to be good stewards to our planet and our environment.---Matthew Dux.




November 5, 2008 General Business Meeting

Attendance: 47 (Including Executive Board)

Start Time: 7:03pm

              President Hayley welcomed the club back to our third General Business Meeting of the year.  The club began the meeting with an update on the Northeastern Storm Conference and how the planning is going thus far. She also thanked all those who attended to vote on what food options will be served for the banquet at the 34th Northeastern Storm Conference at the NESC meeting last week. Those items will be presented to the club again in December to choose the final selections. She also thanked those who showed up at the last Northeastern Storm Conference Committee meeting and helped with the first mailing for the event. It was a long night, but with everyone’s help it went very smoothly.  Moving on to a new charity event, Hayley discussed sign-ups to go caroling at local nursing homes as well as sign-ups for those who are interested in giving talks there as well. These events will be held sometime in December.  Next, Hayley began discussing the weather calendar. Calendars will be arriving the week before break and will be sold for 10 dollars a piece as a fundraiser. All of the photos in the calendar were taken by club members. She then went over the procedures for selling them and what this means for the club if we sell them all. Finally, she mentioned the idea of having a guest speaker come to campus. Ideas surrounding topics included Climate Change and Severe Weather. She asked the club to research possible speakers and email any ideas to a board member. This will occur sometime next semester.       

              Secretary Kaitlyn Jacobs then recapped the bulletin board process and how the even-tracker works. She also thanked the club for cooperating with the event sign-up process and reminded all the members to sign up at every event they attend.

              Tony McGee, treasurer of the AMS, updated the club on the status of the LSC Student Government.  He encouraged members to come to him with any issues they would like brought up at the Student Government meetings, telling the members that he represents the thoughts of the club. .

              Richard Maliawco Jr., our Public Relations Director, started by recapping the First Inch Contest and Flag Football Tournament.  Both were a huge success.  He then explained that there would be an Events Committee Meeting on Wednesday (11/19) at 6:00pm to discuss the upcoming Talent Show. Talent Show auditions will be held at 7:00Pm on the same day in the theatre. He encouraged all members to get the word out to there friends.

              Community Outreach Officer Rich Maliawco let the club know that the science fair is all set up and scheduled for Friday March 13th. This event will be put on for 5th-8th graders and he asked the club to volunteer at this event if possible.  Next he discussed the skywarn event which will be occurring sometime next April. Plans are still in the works and updates will be coming soon.

              Historian Joe Ditamasso informed the club of an upcoming Alumni Newsletter, as well as the photo contest results. He thanks all those who entered photos and announced the winners as well.

              The club then voted for 8th Person Award.  The nominees for this month were Kevin Kelly, Garrett Combs, and George Krauszer.  A vote was conducted, and George Krauszer won the award.  The club then ended the meeting at 7:42pm with a candy raffle.

Start Time: 7:42pm---Kaitlyn Jacobs.



Meeting Type: General Assembly

Meeting Date: November 19, 2008

Attendance: 21

Meeting In Session: 8:32 pm


Budget Update (Treasurer Joe Moore)

Committee Report on Fundraising (Treasurer Joe Moore)

Committee Report on Outreach (Webmaster Bill Deger)

Game Night (Vice President Sam DeAlba and Secretary Samantha McGraw)

Meeting out of Session: 10:00 pm---Samantha McGraw.



Minutes from:

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Odegard Hall Room 356

5:17 p.m.

Members Present:

Al Borho – Advisor

Dan Koller - President

Kelsey Watkins - Vice President

Erin Bertschi - Treasurer

Kevin Skow - Secretary

Andrea Neumann

Leah Tatarak

Matt Saari

Amanda Homann

Nichole Shotwell

Miranda Hilgers

Kathryn Crosby

Aaron Kennedy

Blake Johnson


Call to Order:

              President Dan Koller called the AMS meeting to order at 5:17 pm.

Past Minutes:

The minutes from 10/28/08 were read.

Officer Reports:

-Vice-President’s Report: None

-Secretary’s Report: None

-Treasurer’s Report: As of right now, our balance is: $2135.31.

Guest Speaker:



Old Business:

-Trick-or-Treating took place on October 30

-Studio One show on November 13—several people showed up for the show

-Turkey drive turned out well, our collection box was full

-50/50 contest runs until tomorrow, although it might be extended

-Bowling went well—it was attended mostly by the juniors

-Photo contest was not done this semester, but will be done next semester


New Business:        

-The Who’s Who Wall has still not been done because many people haven’t submitted information.

-We were going to vote on the T-shirt logos, but due to the lack of people at the meeting, we held off on voting until next meeting. The logos will be posted on HTML-ez soon.

-The baked goods signup sheet will be posted on HTML-ez soon so people can remember when to bring items.

-50/50 Contest: People should drop off their guesses and money in a box outside of the secretary’s office. Be sure to paperclip your guesses and money together when you submit them.

-The ATSC department potluck is on Reading and Review Day. Members of the activities committee will be going around to professors and grad students to see who is bringing food to the potluck. More info will be sent out after Thanksgiving break.



-There is a possible internship this summer at University of Alaska this upcoming summer. Talk to one of the officers for more info.

-Meridian is also looking for interns for next semester—students can receive credit for this internship.




-Meeting was adjourned without objection at 5:32 pm.---Kevin Skow.



November Executive Meeting Minutes 11/17/08.

November General Meeting Minutes 11/18/08.---John Smith.



18 November 2008

Guest Speaker: Mr. Michael Shonka, Solar Heating and Electric of Omaha

Item 1:

The meeting was called to order by Chapter President Evan Kuchera.  Evan announced the next two chapter meetings.  The December meeting guest will be Greg Carbin, and the January meeting speaker will be Mr. Brian Smith from the Omaha-Valley NWS office.

Item 2:

Chapter member Karen Sittel proposed that $100 be allocated towards the purchase of books to give as prizes to science fair participants.  The proposal was put to a vote and unanimously approved the allocation proposal.

Item 3:

President Kuchera notified the chapter that the Sarpy County Museum is looking for speakers for their “Sunday Series Program”, wherein a guest speaker gives a presentation covering interesting eastern NE historical events.  Anybody interested in doing this presentation should contact chapter member Karen Sittel, or contact the Sarpy County Museum directly at 292-1880.

Item 4:

At the moment, none of the chapter officers are planning on attending the chapter breakfast at the national AMS meeting.  Any member who will be attending the meeting should contact the chapter officers for information on the breakfast if they would like to attend.

Item 5:

The Weather Explorer Post starts this Thursday, and they are always looking for participants and people who would like to be speakers.  Additionally, they will be joining the AMS chapter for the December meeting to hear Greg Carbin’s presentation.

Item 6:

Chapter recording secretary Scott Rentschler read the October meeting minutes, and chapter treasurer Becky Selin gave the treasurer’s report:

Chapter checking account balance: $2154.49

Chapter balance including petty cash: $2325.95

7 new members in October, 6 new members in November.  Total chapter membership is 41.

Item 7:

Chapter member Bruce Telfeyan announced that he conference with the student members on the WAF conference committee, wherein prizes and nighttime social activities were discussed.  Anybody who would have any ideas for the student participants at the WAF conference can contact either Mr. Telfeyan or any chapter officer.

Item 8:

President Kuchera informed the chapter that thus far little interest has been shown for the student presentation night.  Evan encouraged all student members to get the word out in the schools and try to get participants.

Item 9:

Evan expressed thanks to Dr. Jay Martinelli for putting together this month’s newsletter and let everybody know that forecast contest entries are due on November 21st.  Anybody looking to volunteer to put together next month’s newsletter should contact any of the chapter officers.

The floor was then opened to the chapter.  Dr. Martinelli announced an outreach opportunity; there will be a career fair at Metropolitan Community College in May, and anybody willing to assist Dr. Martinelli with his presentations (a brief talk given several times) should contact either Dr. Martinelli or the chapter officers.

The evening’s guest speaker was Mr. Michael Shonka of the Solar Heat and Electric of Omaha.  Mr. Shonka presentation discussed solar technology available as a replacement (or partial replacement) to non-renewable energy sources widely used today.  Mr. Shonka emphasized the differences between passive and active solar energy (Mr. Shonka deals primarily with active solar energy, wherein captured energy  is actually transported from one place to another, as opposed to passive energy propagates through natural diffusion).  Mr. Shonka then proceeded to describe various types of solar energy systems, including solar air systems, solar hot water systems, and solar electric systems.  Mr. Shonka concluded his presentation with a brief discussion about the way ahead, noting that consumer demand would grow, and further research needs to be done.---Scott Rentschler.



“2008 Vancouver Tornado” by Dave Elson, NWS, and Steve Pierce, OR-AMS Councilor

We had 34 attend this technical meeting.  Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission hosted the meeting.  Our guest speakers were Dave Elson, Lead Forecaster, from the Portland NWS Office, and Steve Pierce (Storm Chaser).  This was also a “dessert meeting,” so yummy desserts were shared.  Kyle Dittmer presided over his last meeting as outgoing Oregon-AMS President.

Dave outlined the tornado climatology of the Pacific Northwest: F0-F1 tornadoes, with a few F2/F3 reports.  Sittings tend to cluster in the Willamette Valley (Oregon), Puget Sound (Washington), eastern Washington, and southern Idaho.  Many remember the F3 tornado that hit Vancouver on April 5th, 1972Common factors for local tornado formation include: post-cold front, cooling aloft, and moderated surface marine air.  Geographic channeling helps make wind shear.  For the January 2008 storm, horizontal convective rolls were a key source of rotation.

Damage was mostly confined to the east side of Vancouver Lake.  The tornado was classified at EF-1 (enhanced Fujita scale) or 90-110 mph.  The track was 10 miles.  The damage included 200 down trees, 30-40 homes impacted, totally $525,000, but no deaths or injuries.  These tornadoes are rare but are favored by north-south oriented valleys and local terrain.  Two of the three most significant tornadoes to hit southwest Washington and northwest Oregon in the past 50 years touched down within a few miles in Vancouver, WA.

Steve gave a slide-show of the damage: ripped roofs, downed signs, snapped trees, sheared trees and branches, uprooted trees, and downed power lines and poles.  An hour after the tornado passed, ½-inch hail was spotted near I-5 and NE 134th Street.  A boat dock near Vancouver Lake had metal roof strips wrapped around trees, suspended 100 feet in the air The presentations can be found on the chapter website: Dittmer.



Minutes for November 2008

We've continued with our program called the "Better Forecasting Bureau" to help freshmen and any other students out with forecasting and GARP. On November 8 we're going to be visiting the Binghamton, NY NWS and TV station. That was a success and we learned some great new things. We had a "Lowest Temperature in a METAR" contest to follow up our interesting surface plot contest. We finished our Octoberfest forecasting competition much like the national game. We continued talking about going to the Northeast Storm Conference in March as well, finalizing who's going and how.---Alexia Martinez.



November was a great month for PSUBAMS. To kick off the month, PSUBAMS hosted its annual Internship Meeting on November 5th. In an informal setting with complementary pizza and soda, members shared their internship opportunities over the past year. Examples of internships include the National Weather Service, NASA, JP Morgan, and Weatherbug. Members enjoyed hearing about the experiences and advice other students had to share. The Internship Meeting was certainly one in which all members could appreciate, as the variety of internships covered a wide range of fields within meteorology.

During the following week, on November 13th, Matt Glazewski of NOAA Corps came to Penn State to speak about the opportunities available to young men and women in the NOAA Corps. Matt, a 2005 graduate of Penn State Meteorology, shared examples of the types of projects he has been working on since graduating just a few years ago. Now a commissioned officer corps, Matt works on board research ships and travels to exotic places around the world. Matt spoke about how to become involved in the exciting assignments offered at NOAA Corps, including piloting a P3 “Hurricane Hunter” aircraft.

On November 17th, Penn State graduate Zack Byko, along with coworker Greg Harnish, discussed the sweet rewards for working as a meteorologist at Mars candy company. Both presented a unique perspective on weather purchasing decisions, by guiding the audience through an interactive case study of a real-life weather risk scenario. As an added incentive, chocolate bars were periodically tossed to members of the audience throughout the presentation. Overall this meeting was a terrific opportunity to learn about careers in weather risk. As the fall semester draws to a close, PSUBAMS is extremely proud of its successes over the past year and looks forward to great times in 2009!---Alex Matus.



Meeting Minutes

December 4, 2008

Meeting commenced at 4:00p.

Adjourned at 5:30p.---Patrick Joyce.



The November meeting of the Smoky Mountain AMS Chapter was held on the 17th. Around 10 people met first for dinner at 'Calhoun's on the River' in Knoxville, and then around 20 people convened for the meeting in the Plant Biotech Bldg. on the University of Tennessee Agricultural campus. Grant Goodge (former climatologist with the National Climatic Data Center) spoke about atmospheric visibility. The following was a synopsis of his talk: "Over the last 40 years there has been much discussion concerning anthropogenic air pollution and its relationship to climate change. Regionally, there have been efforts to reduce both gaseous and particulate pollution. One of the ways to assess any resulting improvements would be to do a time series analysis of the reported visibilities from professionally staffed US airports. Unfortunately, the transition (in the mid 1990’s) of weather stations from manual to automated sensors essentially ended any effective long term analysis of those visibility records. Starting in the mid 1990’s, all reported visibility values were confined to a maximum of 10 miles. This presentation will reveal some interesting aspects of a visibility record that extends from 1984-2004 that were taken from a mid-elevation site in Western North Carolina. I will use surface, aerial, and satellite imagery to show that air pollution is a world wide problem that is not confined to industrial sources."---David Gaffin.



November 6th, 2008

Meeting called to order at 3:30 P.M. by Jennifer.  Nine members were in attendance. 

Old Business

Five members plus four other graduate students in the department attended the Haunted Hayride on October 29th, 2008 located at the Territorial Prison in Laramie, WY. The AMS paid for its members to participate in this fun Halloween activity.

Treasury Report: New balance is $250.00.

New Business


Group picture was taken for the National Conference Poster.


Pizza party was planned for Friday, December 12th at 1:00pm for an end of the semester group activity.

Voted on whether the money in our treasury should be used for people attending the National AMS Conference.  It was voted no and funds will be used for other events. 

Discussion was held on producing t-shirts for the department. Ideas and/or designs should be sent to Jen by the next meeting on December 4th. Ordering will take place the beginning of next semester.

Reminders: Next meeting will be held December 4th (Thursday) at 3:30 P.M. in EN-6060.

Meeting adjourned at 3:45 P.M.---Jen Vogt.



November Meeting Minutes.---Emily B Sheer.



TAMSCAMS (Texas A&M Chapter) met on November 6, 2008. We discussed our upcoming travel plans to Phoenix for the AMS conference. We had Bill Reed, head of the Hurricane Center in Miami, come and speak at our meeting. He discussed his job at the Hurricane Center and also gave us some data on Hurricane Ike.---Elizabeth Bange.



The November 2008 meeting of the Twin Cities chapter of the American Meteorological Society was called to order at 7:06PM on November 18, 2008 by President Chris Bovitz.  Vice President Lisa Schmit, Secretary/Treasurer Bryan Howell and Newsletter Editor Kevin Huyck were also in attendance along with nearly 20 members and potential members.  The meeting was held at WeatherNation in Excelsior, MN.

Due to a prior commitment, speaker Paul Douglas asked to lead off the meeting.  Paul Douglas is a nationally respected meteorologist with 27 years of broadcast television and 31 years of radio experience.  Mr. Douglas graduated with a B.S. in Meteorology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1980.  Mr. Douglas is well known to the citizens of the Twin Cities and Minnesota from his time at KARE and most recently at WCCO.  He also spent some time in Chicago at WBBM-TV.  Mr. Douglas also has a few books to his credit and writes a daily column for the Star Tribune.  In addition to his television work, Mr. Douglas started EarthWatch Communications which provides 3-D weather graphics technology to TV stations worldwide.  Not only is Mr. Douglas Minnesota’s first Certified Broadcast Meteorologist, he is currently the Director of Meteorology for LaCrosse Technologies and founder and CEO of WeatherNation.

After welcoming the chapter to WeatherNation, Mr. Douglas provided some insight into the reasons for starting his new venture.  After brainstorming the idea the idea for the past 27 years he found himself in a position where he could put it into motion.  That idea was outsourcing newscast weather coverage to an outside source, but would stations be willing to do it?  Mr. Douglas was ready to find out.  He estimated that small and medium market TV stations could use WeatherNation at 30-40% of the cost of a full time set-up at their stations.

In March 2008, Mr. Douglas took a tour at the empty building that would become WeatherNation.  By late September/early October, things were ready to go and the first tests were conducted.  The studio setup consists of two weather desks with a large flatscreen TV between them and a green screen on a side wall.  Five HD cameras are placed in the studio with an additional HD camera in the next room, which is dubbed the ‘War Room’ where multiple computers are available for monitoring conditions and tracking storms.  The flatscreen TV is hooked up to a WeatherCentral graphics system as well as multiple sources including GRLevel2 Analyst software and GoogleEarth with satellite overlays.  The flatscreen can show all these sources so the Met can be on-screen as well, or the sources can be shown independently with a Met voice-over, or even be put on the green screen.  All of this is controlled by innovate touch screen panels at each station in the studio.  From these panels, the Mets can control the entire show, there are no directors here.  Mets can choose which camera and which source to use and can set up an entire automated show from these panels.  On-screen Mets Todd Nelson, Kristen Clark, and Gretchen Mishek then showed all the various sources available to use and presented a mock weathercast.

Mr. Douglas then went on to explain how WeatherNation embraces a new medium, a medium that is a combination of the best that the internet and television have to offer.  WeatherNation weather casts can be viewed in real-time on the internet or sent as an HD file to television stations in 5-7 minutes in a variety of video formats.  With the current set-up and space available, Mr. Douglas guesses about thirty clients can be handled.  WeatherNation currently has three clients with four more in the works.  Eleven clients are needed for the company to be profitable and WeatherNation is well on its way to achieving that.  Six meteorologists are currently employed by WeatherNation with one being bilingual.  Eight meteorologists total would be ideal after more clients are attained.    

Mr. Douglas then thanked the AMS chapter for visiting and handed the meeting back to President Chris Bovitz.  Secretary/Treasurer Bryan Howell then followed by reading the minutes of the October meeting and presenting the treasurer’s report, both of which were approved by the membership.  President Chris Bovitz then spoke about some of the events of interest to the chapter over the past few months.  The Northern Plains Winter Storm Workshop was held September 25-26 and the Twin Cities AMS Chapter was a sponsor of the event.  Members Matt Friedlein, Lisa Schmit and Tom Hultquist attended and presented at the workshop and reported that it went well.  Scout Day was held at the Chanhassen WFO on October 4th while Vice President Lisa Schmit was on shift at the WFO.  She reported that is was well attended and very well received from what she observed.  Finally, the 16th Kuenast Lecture was held on November 5th.  A few members attended the event including Jonathan Cohen and Doug Dokken.  That reported that the presentation entitled “World of Change: Climate Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” was very good.

New Business was then opened with new Science Fair Coordinator Matt Friedlein informing the membership of a few science fairs that are upcoming in 2009.  The first is for 7th-12th graders and will be held February 21 with the second for 3rd-6th graders and will be held on May 2nd.  More information about these and other local science fairs will be forthcoming and potentially posted on our website.  President Chris Bovitz then spoke on some of the upcoming events of interest to the chapter.  The first two are our next chapter meetings.  The December meeting is tentatively scheduled for December 11th and will be our annual TV station visit.  The location is still to be determined.  The January meeting will be held at the Chanhassen WFO on Thursday, January 15th.  Member Kevin Huyck will be speaking about the WeatherEye Radio Network.   The last event is the Government on Display Expo at the Mall of America February 6th and 7th.  The NWS will have a booth at the expo.

The final item under new business was the renewal of our chapter website domain.  Our current registration for ‘’ will expire on February 7th.  President Bovitz explained that for $88, the use of the domain could be extended for another 9 years.  Dean Braatz moved to spend $88 to extend the use of the website domain with a second from Nicolle Morock.  A unanimous approval then followed from the membership.  President Bovitz then went over a few other items on the agenda.  The chapter website was recently mentioned on an episode of the podcast Jet Streaming, possibly directing a few new people to the site.  President Bovitz then briefly talked about his idea for chapter liaisons and for members to bring a friend and tell two friends about the next meeting.  Vice President Lisa Schmit then informed the membership that she is again working on a Chapter Poster for the upcoming AMS Conference which she will be attending.  Anyone willing to help is asked to contact her.  Finally, Newsletter Editor Kevin Huyck inquired about the status of the Speaker Committee.  He and President Bovitz are currently the only members and interested parties are asked to contact them.

Vice President Lisa Schmit then made a motion for the meeting to be adjourned followed by a second from Jim Marusak.  The membership then gave its unanimous approval and the meeting was adjourned at 8:05 PM.  Members were encouraged to stick around and visit with the WeatherNation employees and enjoy some refreshments. 

The business portion of the meeting was then adjourned at 7:39 PM.---Bryan J. Howell.



Monthly Meeting

November 14, 2008 11:30am


The meeting started with a guest speaker, Marty Kress, Executive Director of the National Space Science Technology Center.  He told stories about his career timeline and gave advice on mentors and working hard. 

An update on the Graduate Student Association was given by Jessica Busse.  She discussed the possibility of having an outing with other graduate students from UAH next semester. 

The Social Potluck will be held on Friday, December 5th.  All members are invited to bring a dish and their family members. 

The Educational Outreach Committee will have a meeting in December after finals.  Possible activities will include upcoming school talks and weather radio programming. 

Two bake sales will be held on Friday, November 21st and Thursday, December 4th.  Both of these provide a substitute for annual dues.  Sandy LaCorte gave an update on the soda fund. 

Apparel ideas were discussed in order to provide advertisement for the organization and as trinkets to give at the AMS Conference.  Some ideas were T-shirts, polos, and car window clings.  These will hopefully be processed before the AMS meeting in January. 

The AMS Conference will be held in January in Phoenix, Arizona.  Volunteers are needed to help with the chapter poster and to help out and the department table. 

President Elise Johnson discussed the Member-get-a-member campaign for the National Weather Association. 

The website for the UAH AMS is  Suggestions and student information can be given to webmaster, Christina Crowe. 

Our next meeting will be held next semester after the holidays.---Holly Ramey. 



SCAMS-UIUC Meeting Minutes

6-Nov-08 @ 4:50 pm, Classroom (ASB 109)

Weather Briefing (Paul)


It was announced that attendance will be tracked more thoroughly and that you would like them to notify us when they can’t come to the meeting.


Announcements (Sara)

We have a Google calendar on which we can add SCAMS events.  There will be upcoming meetings with CI-AMS/Department to discuss prospect of hosting a conference.

Treasury Report (Brittany)


Fundraising Committee (Eric, J. Keeler, Sara)

SCAMS received $84 for 42 forecasts and $160 for raking 5 yards to be split between the National AMS Scholarship fund and the Red Cross.  There will be a calendar sale/photo competition joint with CI-AMS.

Community Services (Allie and Marile)

We may make an online resource for boy/girl scout troop leaders to help them with the weather merit badge. This way we can help people all over not just East Central Illinois. We were asked to give climate change talks for a class.  Possible next semester community services were mentioned, such as participating again in Science Olympiad and Boy Scouts.

Member Services (Tosha)

 Upcoming social events were mentioned, such as SCAMS dinner night at the Hometown Buffet, activity/movie night, roller-skating (beginning of semester activity for recruitment).  The possibility of setting up a SCAMS info table in the Union in spring ’09 was mentioned.

Conferences (Dan and Sara)

We will soon be working with the Department and CI-AMS to host a student research conference.


Academic and Professional (Isaac)

Isaac asked students to volunteer to give weather briefings.

National AMS Services (Justin T.)

Justin prepared an introduction to the National AMS, covering some of its history and current enrollment.

SCAMS-UIUC Meeting Minutes

20-Nov-08 @ 4:50 pm, Classroom (ASB 109)

Speaker: Steve Nesbitt

Steve discussed preparing a CV for both academic and professional positions, using his own curriculum vitae as examples.---Catrin Mills.



Florida Coastal Ocean Observing Systems

DATE:                        11/12/08

LOCATION             USF College of Marine Science, St. Petersburg, FL

OVERVIEW: The Florida Coastal Ocean Observing System (FLCOOS) was the topic of discussion for the November meeting of the West Central Florida Chapter of the AMS. The Executive Director of the FLCOOS Consortium (also the presenter) is Dr. Jyotika Virmani. Virmani mentioned that the Consortium was formally formed in October, 2006 and received state funding for the 2007/2008 year of $1.25 Million. Virmani noted that FLCOOS feeds into a larger national (Integrated Ocean Observing Systems – IOOS) and Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). Currently about 60% of the GOOS network is complete. The national program, IOOS, consists of eleven integrated Coastal Ocean Observing Systems (COOS) regions (Figure 1). Virmani explained that the purpose of dividing the IOOS up into regions is because each region is unique in terms of its oceanography. FLCOOS falls into two regions: the Gulf of Mexico region and the Southeast Atlantic region and the FLCOOS Consortium provides a unified approach to deal with these two regions.

FLCOOS is being developed by a Consortium of 18 organizations including state and private universities, non-profit organizations as well as private companies, all based in Florida, who have interests in documenting and preserving Florida’s coastal and oceanic environment. These include University of South Florida, University of Florida, University of Miami, Florida International University, Florida State University, Florida Institute of Technology, Florida Atlantic University, University of North Florida, University of Central Florida, University of West Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, Nova Southeastern University, Mote Marine Laboratory, Roffer’s Ocean and Fishing Forecasting Service, Inc., Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at FAU, HARRIS Marine Communication Services, State of Florida Institute of Oceanography and WeatherFlow, Inc.

Virmani emphasized the main goals of the Consortium which are designing and implementing an integrated and sustainable COOS for Florida as well as to improve communications between those parties that are interested in the marine environment. COOS implements a network of observations, data management, and modeling to describe, forecast, and understand the coastal environment.

Virmani explained that COOS is a combination of instruments found on buoys, underwater vehicles, ships, drifters, satellites, and radars (Figures 2 and 3). All of these components combine to map out observations of the oceanic environment surrounding our state. These instruments measure physical, chemical, geological, and biological data. Core variables monitored include temperature, salinity, sea level, surface current, surface waves, heat flux, sea ice, momentum flux, i.e. Winds, bathymetry, bottom character (e.g. benthic habitats) , optical properties, dissolved nutrients (N, P, Si), dissolved oxygen, chemical contaminants, fish species, fish abundances, zooplankton species, zooplankton abundance, phytoplankton species and waterborne pathogens. This information is also being used with computer models to provide model forecasts (under development) of red tide, storm surges, ocean currents (useful for search and rescue for example), etc.   Virmani described a program where lifeguards on beaches are given palm pilots to note the red tide conditions at the same time of the day. This information is relayed and displayed on the web so the public can get an understanding of which beaches have good and bad conditions. Red tide does not affect all beaches at the same time.

Virmani stressed how our coastline (being the 2nd longest in the United States) and its environment are critical to the state of Florida. In addition to the many tourists who visit each year, over 75% of the population resides in coastal counties. Thus a very large portion of our economy and businesses depends on the coastal environment. Figure 4 shows a sample of a sea surface temperature product provided to recreational fisherman.

Virmani’s presentation can be viewed on the chapter’s website: and more information about the FLCOOS may be found on their website:


Figure 1: Regional Coastal Ocean Observing Systems Associations



Figure 2: FLCOOS instrumentation: BreveBuster (top left) used to detect Red Tide. Other pictures are underwater platforms - a glider (bottom left and top right) and a Bottom Stationed Ocean Profiler (bottom right). Image credit: Mote Marine Lab and USF.


Figure 3: R/V Suncoaster deploying a buoy. Image credit: USF


Figure 4: Sea surface temperature image and with currents from NOAA and NASA infrared satellite imagery. This is a product that shows the sea surface temperature for December 06-07, 2007 showing the Loop Current and Florida Current, the coastal waters, as well as, the major estuaries in the State of Florida. However, when available in a variety of formats including GEOTIF, a data analyst will be able to zoom into the various areas of interest to the 1.1 km spatial resolution of the data. Image credit: ROFFS.


SPEAKER:     Dr. Jyotika Virmani is the Executive Director of the Florida COOS Consortium. Her research is based on climate studies and physical oceanography. She also worked as an atmospheric research scientist at GEC-Marconi Research Center in the UK before relocating to Florida 15 years ago. She has written and collaborated on several key research papers in her field, including “Relative Humidity over the West Florida Continental Shelf” and “The 2005 Hurricane Season: An Echo of the Past or a Harbinger of the Future”.

BUSINESS MEETING: A brief business meeting was held by Andy Johnson to start off the evening. Discussed were the meetings planned for the upcoming year. Last months meeting was also reviewed and discussed, as well as the abstract poster to be presented at the national meeting.


TREASURER’S REPORT: Our Chapter Account as of 10/29/08 is $1,211.01

CONCLUSION:  The meeting was attended by 14 people, including several students of Dr. Jennifer Collins, University of South Florida. Refreshments were served to the members and guests.---Jennifer M. Collins.

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