Minutes of the May 20, 2002 Meeting
Smoky Mountain AMS Chapter


Six members met at Naples for dinner and conversation. There were about 13 members at the meeting on the UT campus. There was some conversation about a possible meeting at Oak Ridge and the problems with security. The July meeting was mentioned as a possibility.

Our speaker for this meeting was Richard Heim (Climate Monitoring Branch, National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)) who spoke on: "Drought and Climate Issues".

Mr. Heim graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1977, with a major in mathematics and minors in physics, computer science, geography, history, and English. He earned his masters degree in Geography at the University of Nebraska in 1982, specializing in meteorology/climatology. He then graduated from the NWS Intern Program in 1985, after spending 3 years at the Great Falls, Montana Forecast Office. For the last 17 years, he has been working at the NCDC in Asheville. He has worked on several projects, including the 1961-90 climate normals and the U.S. Snow Climatology Project. He spent 6 weeks in Melbourne, Australia, as part of a scientist-exchange program between NCDC and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology Research Center. Mr. Heim has been involved in operational climate monitoring since 1988; he is one of the authors of the Weekly Drought Monitor (available on the web).

Richard's presentation overwhelmed us with the details of drought definition, the various formulas involved, and the politics of their use in different geographical areas. He spoke of the problems of changing to newer more accurate methods of both defining drought and the possibilities of long range forecasting.


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