Chapter News
June 2012


A teleconference/GoToMeeting of the High Plains Chapter of the AMS/NWA was held at Noon on June 13th, 2012.  President Chris Foltz of Goodland, KS served as the leader of this GoToMeeting.  There were 14 High Plains members logged into the call.  This meeting started with a presentation by Jason Ahsenmacher of North Platte, NE.  His subject was “Vorticity Aspects of Case Studies of Rapid Cyclogenisis.”  Occurrences of rapidly forming cyclones are relatively rare, but can produce significant weather.  One case Jason reviewed was from February 28th-29th, 2012.  In this event in western Nebraska, a major winter storm occurred, as well as did a few tornadoes.  He emphasized low level moisture is an important factor in rapid cyclogenisis.  Another forecasting tool which might lead to earlier rapid formation of cyclones is the dprog/dt, defined as the “change in forecast over time, for a given date”.  Further, Jason found that the model QPF in these situations is poor.  Jason Ahsenmacher answered a few questions at the end of his presentation. 


Our business meeting started at 1:07 PM.  Rick Ewald, the SOO at Hastings, NE gave the treasury report, in absence of the treasurer.  Our Chapter balance was approximately $6000, with about $2000 in the Jim Johnson Scholarship Fund.  Mike Umscheid is still working with Jim Johnson on getting the forms in line to submit to the IRS for our Chapter to be tax exempt.  Our Jim Johnson Scholarship winner for 2012 was Conner Dennhardt, of Grand Island, NE.  Conner will attend the University of Nebraska and will major in meteorology.  Conner stopped by the Hastings WFO and the staff enjoyed meeting him, prior to presenting him with the scholarship.  Check out more information on Conner, with pictures, on our web site:


Our next meeting is planned for August 8th, and may possibly be a face to face meeting.  Drop President Chris Foltz an email on how many can attend.---

Chris Foltz and Tim Burke.



Meeting Minutes for June 26, 2012

I.  Call to Order

The June NWA/AMS Chapter meeting of 2012 was called to order at 7:10 p.m. by Corresponding Secretary

Mr. Eric Carpenter.  The Chapter meeting was held at the Russell C. Davis Planetarium, 201 E. Pascagoula St. in Jackson, MS 39201. 

II. Rolls & Old Business

Recording Secretary Ms. Nancy Lopez took attendance, and the sign-in sheet confirmed 25 attendees but a head count totaled 35 guests.  There may have been a few new guests not signed in.  Also invited to the meeting were the JSU-sponsored (Jackson State University) weather campers, as well as friends and family members.  Weather campers hailed from California, Georgia, Texas, and Indiana to name a few states across the U.S. that visit the University for a five-day workshop that was scheduled this week.

III. Minutes Approval and New Business

Treasurer Ms. Joanne Culin gave an update on the financial report for 2011-12.  The balance was $188 and $125 of the funds will be used towards the cost of reserving the theater.  The group reservation cost $250 to rent the theater for two hours.  Guests contributed $4 to cover remaining costs, and it was estimated 35 guests were available to pay by head count.  She reminded the group on $20 dues for regular membership and $10 for student Chapter membership and that cash or check is acceptable.  She collected dues at the meeting and even some dues for next year’s fund.

Condolences and prayers were extended to Dr. L. White’s family on the passing of his daughter.  After a recap on the last Chapter meeting, the group watched a private showing of the New Horizons movie.  This movie was an introduction of a spacecraft to help study Pluto and stamp out the mythology behind the planet.  Viewers were able to view the night sky and constellations as if launched into it.  Studying Pluto is key to understanding life on the planet because of the water component.  This viewing was the first movie for one child, who was only three-years old!  Everyone clapped to that occasion and to the movie.

Afterwards, a Happy Birthday wish was extended to the Chapter’s media/webmaster Mr. Daniel Lamb.  This is the last Chapter meeting of the 2011-12 year, with the next opening meeting being planned for September 2012.  Ideas and topics are welcome to Mr. Carpenter, with one possible member talk lined up.

IV.  Adjournment

The meeting concluded at approximately 7:48 p.m.---Nancy Lopez.



Atmospheric Rivers, California Floods & Climate Change

The Los Angeles chapter held its annual awards banquet at Beckham Grill, Pasadena. Our guest speaker was the Meteorologist in Charge, NWS Oxnard, CA, Mark Jackson, who attended with his wife, Linda.  Mark Jackson gave a colorful, insightful presentation entitled, “Atmospheric Rivers, California floods & climate change,” on what atmospheric rivers are all about and what they mean to California’s climate and water resources.

Atmospheric rivers (AR) are defined as narrow (250-400 km wide) bands of moisture, mainly from the tropics. They are responsible for about 90% of pole-ward transfer of moisture from lower latitudes. California is one of the regions where these events can bring powerful winds and flooding, or simply valuable needed water resources.  Orographic uplift enhances AR rainfall bringing about much greater precipitation amounts, in general than other Pacific storms.  Research has shown there were 42 ARs that impacted CA during the winters from 1997 to 2006, and the resulting seven floods that occurred on the Russian River watershed northwest of San Francisco during this period were all associated with AR conditions (

Mr. Jackson also mentioned the December 2010 AR that brought over 20” to parts of southern California, helping make that unusual La Nina year well above normal.  Because of the nature of ARs and the configuration of California’s mountains, the state shares with the Gulf coast the highest frequencies of precipitation events with over 20” in 3 days (Dettinger 2011). Research concerning the nature of AR events in California during the PacJet experiments showed that these moisture rivers are fairly shallow (Ralph and Dettinger 2011).  Additional research by Dettinger in 2011 examined any possible AR trends associated with climate change and showed, using the A2 (middle) emissions scenario, that the average number of AR events changes little.  However, there are seasons with many AR episodes and the AR season is longer.

Mark went on to describe a related study of extreme flooding, the USGS Multi-Hazards  Project “ARkStorm.”  the “AR” in ARkstorm comes from atmospheric rivers, with the “k” from the 10-1000 year storm event that would be experienced across the state (most areas experience a 50-100 year storm event).  Based on scenarios of the worst combination of storms (including ARs) to affect both southern and northern California, scientists estimate that such a series of rainstorms, such as those that struck the southern end of the state in January 1969 combined with ones similar to the February 1986 storms in the northern portion of the state could lead to disruptions reaching $750 billion in damages. Incidentally, this is 3 times the amount estimated due to damages from the Great Shakeout, a massive earthquake scenario, yet each has the same probability of occurrence.  Also by comparison, damages from hurricane Katrina totaled $81-$105 billion. And, ARkStorm’s impacts could prevail for decades!

On a lighter note, the LA Chapter hosted the recent Los Angeles County science fair winners of the best weather-related projects, and their families.  Following Mark Jackson’s presentation, Mark helped out picking winners to our annual raffle, featuring mostly weather-related prizes.  Overall, the presentation, the food, and the company made for an enjoyable evening.---Steve LaDochy.



June 2012

Summer internships

The UPRM AMS Student Chapter is proud to announce that during the month of June, eight of its members left Puerto Rico to pursue summer internships in different weather forecasting offices across the country. This endeavor is made possible by the NOAA-UPRM Partnership Program that has been in effect for years in the university and which brings many research opportunities to our members. We wish them the best of luck and hope that they are successful in their research.

Activity: Lending a hand with the Puerto Rico Weather Camp 2012

The 2012 Puerto Rico Weather Camp was held during the week of June 24-30 in Isla Magueyes, Lajas, Puerto Rico. It was a week packed with learning and fun for the 15 eager high school students who attended, and they got to know the UPRM AMS Student Chapter first hand when former member Gian Villamil and member Alexandra Ramirez gave them a brief orientation as to what the chapter is and what we do. (Figure 1)

Figure 1 – High school students from the Puerto Rico Weather Camp 2012 listen attentively to a conference about the UPRM AMS Student Chapter



June Chapter News.---David R. Roache.


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