Chapter News
August 2012


The Ark-La-Tex Chapter of the American Meteorological Society held its 4th meeting of 2012 on Monday, August 20th at the H.W. Pirkey Plant in Hallsville, Texas.  This meeting began at 6:00 pm, with ten members present.

Kelley Spencer, an engineer with AEP-SWEPCO (Southwestern Electric Power Company), owner/operators of the H.W. Pirkey Plant, presented an overview of their power network and the history and operation of the Pirkey plant.  The briefing was accompanied with a meal.  Following the 30 min overview, we began a 1 hour tour of the facility.  Many topics were covered and questions asked, however, some specific meteorological topics were discussed.  Particularly the operation of the cooling system, radar returns in relation to the smoke stack, and how temperatures and seasons affect demand on the plant and AEP-SWEPCO power grid.

Following the presentation, President Jason Hansford held a short business meeting to discuss topics for fall meetings.  Final dates for a combined University of Louisiana Monroe meteorology meeting and a fall AMS fellowship dinner will be distributed via email.

The following members were present:

Jason Hansford, President                      Randy Pritchard

Bryan Walter, Vice President                  John Pritchard

Leslie Sexton, Treasurer                         Steve Holloway

Kelley Spencer                                        David Bonnette

John Mussey                                           Susan Farrell

The meeting adjourned at 8:05 PM.---Bryan Walter.



The High Plains AMS held a teleconference on Monday, August 13th, with 16 members logged into the call.  Vice President Bill Taylor officiated this meeting, since our President Chris Foltz had recently been transferred to Montana.  The executive committee had voted via email both Bill Taylor of North Platte, NE to fill in as President and Jeremy Wesley of Hastings, NE as Vice President for the remaining Chapter year.  A Chapter vote (with a quorum) ratified these choices unanimously. The only new business item discussed was whether we should provide the funds ($250) to a Nebraska teacher who requested our chapter to fund a Weather Loan Box.  This box would contain various weather items to assist K-5 students to learn about weather.  John Stoppkotte at North Platte has taken the lead on this project.  We voted unanimously to fund this box and donate it to the Nebraska Academy of Science, made up by members of the Nebraska Association of Teachers.  Feel free to email John Stoppkotte at North Platte with any suggestions on what to include in the Weather Box.  It was discussed the Kansas offices may follow the Nebraska lead later, and purchase a Weather Box for use in Kansas. A strong opinion was evident that our next meeting be a face to face meeting.  However, this may or may not be possible, depending on each office’s travel budget.  The next meeting will likely be Tuesday, October 30th in Norton (or other location).  A presenter from Hastings volunteered to speak on the Phased Array Radar subjects picked up recently at a conference in Norman, OK.  VP Wesley will notify us all of the exact date, time and place of the next meeting.---Bill Taylor and Tim Burke.



August Chapter News.---Sean Stelten.



Meeting Minutes – August 30, 2012



The meeting on August 29th, 2012 was called to order at 11:15AM CDT. Being the first meeting of the year the executive officers each introduced themselves and stated their favorite weather phenomena. Treasurer Dave Caulfield's favorite part about weather is watching the clouds, Secretary Hanna Colliander's favorite part of weather is in the winter being blinded by the high albedo of a fresh snowfall, Vice President Zach Sefcovic's favorite precipitation is hail, and President Alex Kotsakis can appreciate a good water spout.

Mr. Caulfield reported the dues for this academic year will be $15 and are due by the third meeting. Also a new system is in place for the snack/pop vending. When all tabs are paid the selection will be replenished and expanded to encourage on-time payment. Ms. Colliander reported the annual beginning of year picnic will be September 16th and take place at Kirchoff Park. Upcoming events include the first snowfall forecasting contest and pumpkin carving contest, both to raise money for the spring Relay for Life. Mr. Sefcovic reported that he did not have much to report at this time. Later in the semester he will begin planning the Great Lakes Meteorology Conference which will take place in the spring.

Mr. Kotsakis announced our goal for the year: to win local chapter of the year! We will be doing more community outreach such as adopting a highway here in Valparaiso. We will be having an event with Central Michigan University, possibly visiting a research facility in Muskegon, MI. Internship talks will be September 5th, come and hear about what your fellow students did over the summer and learn how you can do those internships too. There will be free pizza afterwards in the weather center. Still looking for a fall speaker if anyone has ideas. There are several upcoming conferences in the area if you are interested. The NWA conference is in Madison, WI from October 6-11. Severe Local Storm conference in Nashville, TV from November 5-8. The AMS Annual Meeting is in Austin, TX from January 6-10. We highly encourage going to the AMS conference in January, it's during the first week of classes so you wouldn't miss much school and it is a great networking opportunity.

Other announcements from faculty present are that we will be having a joint meeting with the Chicago chapter sometime this fall so be on the lookout for more information regarding the date and time. Become a national member of the AMS, there are great benefits for students including but not limited to discounted textbooks and conference registration. Membership for students is only $20 and includes a subscription to BAMS. There will be a meeting of the Valparaiso University Storm Intercept Team on September 6th at 11:15AM. Meeting was adjourned at 11:45AM.

Annual Report.

---Hanna Colliander.



OUCAMS held their first meeting on August 28th.  This meeting was a very simple one. The officer's introduced themselves and the chapter to the members and all the members made a brief introduction to the entire chapter. We had an ice breaker for old and new members to mingle.  Overall, it was a success! This was the only meeting held in August.---Elise Dolinar.



San Diego AMS

Downslope Winds in Southern California

Prof. Robert Fovell, UCLA

22 Aug 2012 MCAS Miramar
review October 2012 meeting

The San Diego chapter’s 2012/13 program opened on August 22  with a special topic and speaker: Santa Ana winds by AMS 2012 Teaching Excellence Award recipient  Dr. Robert Fovell, Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, UCLA. This meeting was hosted by the Regional Meteorology and Oceanography Center (METOC) at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar (MCAS).

Professpr Fovell described Santa Ana winds as a category of downslope winds phenomena. He specifically related his research to San Diego County and the historic Witch and Guejito fires of October 2007. The classic Santa Ana signature is a cold high pressure dome over the Mojave Basin. Resulting downslope winds are dependent on environmental conditions and the imperfect curtain of mountains between the Mojave and southern California.  WRF simulations show great sensitivity to model physics, the elevated inversion and terrain. A 667 m resolution grid gives best modeled winds-observations agreement: increasing grid size quickly loses important terrain definition.  The critical terrain height-inversion relationship can be expressed in a rotor pattern, a standing lee wave with hydraulic jump, or a propagating pattern. More than 20 southern CA fires during the October 2007 outbreak were all associated with days of peak Santa Ana winds. When modeled, the Witch and Guejito fires prove to be locations of closely packed isentropes and highest modeled winds. Simulations show max winds may exceed 100 mph and may not be at the surface. A dense network of observations is essential; this work utilizes a rich surface network, including data from 120 San Diego Gas & Electric (SDGE) sites. RAWS obs were found to be problematic when compared to ASOS data and modeled winds, due to RAWS sampling time, instrument height and protective siting characteristics.

Special thanks to Brandt Maxwell, National Weather Service-San Diego, and to Gy Sgt Joseph Lester, MCAS Miramar METOC, for arranging this meeting! 

Please join us at the NWS office in Rancho Bernardo on 3 October to plan the coming year, and get first-hand weather with the best weather view and technical discussion-at the source and in real time.  For details and add your email to our list, contact Brandt Maxwell, or 2011/12 SDAMS president Virginia Bigler-Engler,, 858-578-1936.---Virginia Bigler-Engler.



Meeting Minutes for Wednesday, August 22, 2012 Meeting

Geography Building Room 300A

Jared Rackley, President

Matt Daniel, Vice President

Minh Phan, Secretary

Lauren Lindsey, Treasurer


4:40-5:15- Officers and members help grill burgers and hotdogs for the meeting.

5:30 – Food is served. Members eat and mingle for fifteen minutes.

Officers pass out questionnaires during this time to get feedback about the upcoming year and ideas from members.

5:45 –President, Jared Rackley calls the meeting to order.

An introduction about the University of Georgia Student Chapter of the American Meteorological Society is given by President, Jared Rackley.

New Business 

Vice President, Matt Daniel, briefly mentions exciting upcoming events.


Meeting Adjourned at 6:45


Meeting Minutes for Thursday, August 30, 2012 Meeting

Geography Building Room 200C

Jared Rackley, President

Matt Daniel, Vice President

Minh Phan, Secretary

Lauren Lindsey, Treasurer

5:30 –Pizza and soft drinks are served. Members mingle and talk amongst each other for just a few minutes.

5:40 – President, Jared Rackley, calls the meeting to order.

New Business

About our Guest Speaker, Bill Murtagh

Bill Murtagh is a Senior Forecaster and the Customer Focus Representative for the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colorado. He is also the principal point of contact for the National Weather Service space weather outreach and education activities. Bill works closely with private industry, national and international agencies, emergency managers, and government officials to ensure operational impacts of space weather are minimized through appropriate response and adequate preparedness plans.

Before joining NOAA, Bill served several tours of duty as a weather forecaster in the U.S. Air Force. He served in a variety of locations in the United States and Southwest Asia. Bill transferred to the SWPC in 1997 as a space weather forecaster and liaison between the SWPC and the U.S. Air Force. He joined NOAA in 2003 after retiring from the Air Force with 23 years of service.

Bill is a regular guest speaker at universities, government organizations, and national and international conferences. He recently spoke on space weather issues at the House of Representatives in Washington D.C. He has provided numerous interviews to major media outlets in the U.S. and around the world. Bill is also the Conference Coordinator for the leading national conferences on space weather, held annually in Washington, D.C. and Boulder, Colorado.


About the Presentation from Guest Speaker, Bill Murtagh

Bill Murtagh presents a captivating presentation on space weather. A brief explanation of key space weather terms (solar flare, sunspot, etc...) is given by Murtagh. He then dives into his discussion regarding the importance of understanding space weather. It is not a topic that is often learned in many meteorology departments at universities, but he hopes that it will come to the forefront.

Subsequently, a compelling slide proves his point.  A large list of well-known organizations and corporations depend on NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center for forecasts so that they can prepare and operate accordingly. Major events in the past are related to space weather. One instance is with an airliner losing contact with the control tower for over half an hour. This was due to impacts from solar flares.

The aurora borealis and other phenomenon are touched upon, and maps and charts of cycles in solar flare and sunspot activity are shown and related to specific years in the past. Several questions are asked from the audience regarding climate change and space weather and their interaction and relationship to one another. There is a possibility of a connection, but further research is needed as not enough data has been collected due to the relatively small amount of time that space weather records have been kept.

6:45 – Meeting adjourned. Dues are collected.---Minh Phan.



August 28, 2012

This meeting was held at the National Weather Center in Room 1313.  The meeting opened with Lauren Duhon, President of OUSCAMS, welcoming all new and returning members.  The officers were then introduced by Lauren Duhon. The officers are as follows: Bethany Hardzinski, Vice-President; Brian Henning, Treasurer; Emma Fagan, Senior Representative; Addison Alford, Junior Representative; Connor Keef, Sophomore Representative; and Timothy Hardin, Outreach Coordinator.  It was then announced that elections for Secretary and Freshman Representative will be at the end of the meeting.

Next, Lauren talked about the dues and how the incentive points work within OUSCAMS.  Then the different upcoming outreach events were briefly discussed.  Kaitlyn Smoleroff talked about the upcoming National Weather Festival, held on November 3, 2012, and needing volunteers for different positions, but said she would discuss this more at a later date.  The normal events OUSCAMS participates, Big Event, Relay for Life, Mr. Meteorology, were briefly touched, but will be discussed at a later date.

Maegan Rowlinson and Stefan Rahimi talked about SPaRCE, Schools of the Pacific Rainfall Climate Experiment, and the need for people to write letters to these schools.  She has offered up incentives to people that write 5, 10, and 15 letters.

After introductions and outreach events, the floor was handed over to Dr. Dave Parsons to welcome all the students back to what we hope is a wonderful school year.  He mentioned the incoming freshman class and how 6 out of the 14 AMS Scholarship winners are at the University of Oklahoma.  He mentioned the faculty is working on making the class sizes smaller so that there is a smaller student-to-teacher ratio.  He also touched on the exchange programs we have, especially the one at Reading, England. He mentioned it is a great experience and you get to meet new people.

Next, Dr. Petra Klein took the floor to discuss all the exchange programs the School of Meteorology participates in.  She is the coordinator of the School of Meteorology European Exchange Program.  According to her, there are many reasons to study abroad, including broadening your horizons, learning foreign languages, making friends, travelling, learning about weather in other parts of the world, networking, and learning to live in culturally diverse environments.  OU Meteorology offers there study abroad programs: Reading, England; Hamburg, Germany; and Monash, Australia.  The courses taken while studying abroad, match up with courses taught at OU, allowing students to graduate on time.  The study abroad is done in the Spring semester of the student’s Junior year.  All study abroad students take 12 INTL hours and remain OU students, paying tuition at OU.

Dr. Klein then talked in detail about the program at Reading, England.  Reading is a large town located 40KM west of London with an excellent public transportation system that allows students to visit London whenever they want.  The University of Reading has an excellent meteorology program and a beautiful campus.  The campus is over 300 acres and is located close to the Reading town Centre.  Teaching at Reading is divided into three 10-week terms, with OU students taking classes in Spring and Summer terms.  Most study abroad students stay in the Residence halls while at Reading.  The School of Meteorology Reading Coordinator is Dr. Pete Lamb.  Recent OU students at Reading are Lindsay Ross, Jonathan Wille, and Austin Harris.  Current Reading students at OU are Rachel Bartlett, Michael Cartwright, Joanna Maybourn, Chuen Chui, Matt Feist, Luke Phillipson, Jake Gristey, and Nicholas Lee.

The next thing Dr. Klein discussed was the program at Monash, Australia.  The University of Monash is ranked in the top 50 universities in the world.  It has Australia’s largest campus, and has a strong focus on international exchange with the student body being 30% international students.  Meteorology courses at Monash are part of the Mathematical Science department, with METR courses also offered in the Geography and Environmental Science department.  Classes at Monash start around March 1st, which is known as the Fall Semester there since they are in the Southern Hemisphere.  Study abroad students need to be at Monash two weeks before classes start.  The School of Meteorology Coordinator for Monash is Dr. Fred Carr.  Casey Peirano attended Monash in the Spring and we currently do not have any students from Monash here.

The last place Dr. Klein discussed with OUSCAMS was Hamburg, Germany.  Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city with 1.8 million people.  It is a harbor city with great public transportation as well.  The University of Hamburg is an urban campus, Germany’s 5th largest University, and one of the European Centers for Atmospheric Research.  Classes at Hamburg typically start around April 1st and go until July 15th.  Classes are typically taught in German, but there are English-speaking tutors available.  Students should not be scared about learning German.  The School of Meteorology has funds to pay for language lessons that are taught at a top language school from January through March.  The School of Meteorology Coordinator for Hamburg is Dr. Petra Klein herself.  Recent OU students that attended Hamburg are Kaitlyn Smoleroff, Daniela Spade, and Nicole Ramsay, a grad student.  We current have five students from Hamburg at OU: Astrid Eichhoin, Mareike Burba, Gerrit Woerner, Jonas Lauer, and Philipp Henckes.

The last thing Dr. Klein talked about was the study abroad application process.  Prospective students must have a 3.0 GPA and must have gotten a ‘B’ in the Intro to Meteorology sequence.  In addition, prospective students must contact the faculty liaison of their chosen program and send said person an email before September 21st.  These students must attach an OU transcript, a brief statement of why they want to study abroad, and two personal references with contact information.  Students must then complete the study abroad application from OU with the questionnaire and two letters of recommendation by September 21st.

After Dr. Klein finished, OU students gave presentations on their times at their respective schools and answered any questions.  After these presentations were complete, elections for Secretary and Freshman Representative were started.

Nominations were called for Secretary and Megan McClellan was elected unanimously.  Next, all Freshman members present were invited to vote and/or run for the position of Freshman Representative.  The top three vote-getters were chosen; they were Zackery Zounes, Kate-Lynn Walsh, and Rachel Norris.

The meeting was then adjourned.  The next meeting will be held at the National Weather Center, in Room 1313, on Tuesday, September 11, 2012, at 6:30 P.M.---Megan McClellan.



August 2012

Freshmen Orientation

              On August 2, 2012, members of the UPRM AMS Student Chapter participated in the Freshmen Orientation Week. As participants to this week, our members introduced the Society to the students, explained the Chapter workings and the Curricular Sequence in Atmospheric Sciences offered by the University, and invited prospective Atmospheric Science students to join in. This first successful encounter with new students set the stage, so to speak, for the rest of the semester. We are very grateful for those who helped!

Chapter Officers Meetings

              The school year started with the officer’s first meeting on campus, which took place in the Chapter’s office on August 8. This meeting served to organize the calendar of activities, meetings and important events for the first semester and to reaffirm everyone’s commitment and involvement with the Chapter. During the rest of the month, the officers held three other meetings.


“Huracanes y Casa Segura” (Home Safety and Hurricanes)

              The members of our Student Chapter have the honor to work every year with meteorologist Ada Monzón and architect Astrid Díaz on their yearly week-long expo, “Huracanes y Casas Segura (Hurricanes and Home Safety)”. This year, the activity took place during the week of July 30 – August 4th at Plaza las Américas, Puerto Rico’s biggest shopping mall. Our members got to work hand in hand with meteorologists, scientists, emergency managers, reporters, and many others during August 3-4. During those days they presented demonstrations and experiments and they gave a talk regarding studying meteorology in Puerto Rico.  

Ninth Atmospheric Sciences Symposium

              On August 7th, we welcomed back the eighteen students who interned during this summer in the Ninth Atmospheric Sciences Symposium. During this activity, the students got the opportunity to present their projects and findings to their fellow students and the faculty. In the end the students received certificates congratulating them for their successes during the summer and thanking them for their participation. We are very proud of our members and their accomplishments, and we hope that their success continues to shine during the semester and year to come!

First monthly meeting

              Our chapter held its first monthly meeting of the academic year was held on August 16th, 2012. A total of  23 members attended. The meeting served to present the Work Plan for the rest of the year, as well as to talk about the upcoming activities, like a beach field trip, and the General Assembly.

Promotion for the General Assembly

              The days leading up to our General Assembly were busy days, as Chapter officers and members spread the word about the Assembly throughout the campus. Chalk writing in the streets and sidewalks, a small “Weather Riot” accompanied by chants and experiments, and an aggressive poster campaign...we got the UPRM campus ready for what was coming!

Seventh General Assembly

The chapter’s General Assembly was held on August 30th, 2012 at the UPRM Planetarium. A total of 14 regular members and 27 prospective members attended the meeting.  The activity included a Weather Briefing that detailed the conditions of several tropical systems that were currently in the Atlantic Ocean, a brief overview of the National AMS and our Chapter and activities, and a brief talk from the Department’s professors. The Assembly finished with weather-related demonstrations and an impromptu musical performance to the rhythm of some “pleneros”, native Puerto Rican instruments.  The prospective members showed a lot of enthusiasm in joining the Chapter, and we hope to see them in the future meetings and activities!

Hot dog sales

              This month we brought back our famous Hot Dog Sales in the lobby of the Physics Department. Manned by our Treasurer and some very helpful chapter members, we’ve been selling hot-dogs, sodas and water bottles every Monday, and we’ve raised some good money that will go towards buying supplies for our new Chapter office and other activities throughout the semester.




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