Chapter News
November 2003


Minutes, Anchorage AMS Chapter Meeting, November 13, 2003

Call Meeting to Order: The meeting was called to order by Peter Olsson, Chapter President, at 12:10 p.m. The meeting was held at the Aviation Technology Center, Merrill Field. First order of business was to approve the meeting agenda.

Old Business:

The minutes from the October 2003 meeting were approved with one correction.

The December meeting will be held at a local restaurant, most likely the Glacier Brewhouse. Due to the small venue, 20 people will be the limit for this meeting, so RSVP as soon as the invitation goes out to reserve a spot.

Jim Peronto is still pursuing the "Magic School Bus" exhibit.

T-shirts are available for $15.

Treasurer's Report: Steve White, treasurer, gave a report on the current status of the bank account. As of this meeting, there is $1164.62 in the account.

New Business:

Jim Green won the first forecast contest question, date of first measurable snowfall simply by having the latest date. He was not present but in lieu of an Alaska Weather Calendar, the chapter has purchased a gift certificate to the Bear's Tooth.

Business was concluded with a round of introductions.

Guest Speaker: The guest speaker was Mark Hodges from the NOAA HAZMAT response team. His team provides assistance to the Coast Guard and other agencies during a HAZMAT event by providing weather information to forecast the flow of the spill.

HAZMAT falls under the Office of Response and Restoration, which includes oceanographers, chemists, mathematicians, biologists, Scientific Support Coordinators, NOAA Corps Officers, programmers and support staff. Since there are no weather personnel on the team, the HAZMAT team must work very closely with the National Weather Service for weather information. The number one error in spill trajectory forecasts occurs from lack of knowledge on winds, enhancing the need for involvement of professional meteorologists.

Most of the spills the HAZMAT team works with are oil spills, although chemical spills comprise a small percentage of events as well. Once a spill occurs, the team must answer what spilled and where, where it will go and how much will get there, who might get hurt and how, what response is appropriate, how much time they have to respond and what difference the response will make. HAZMAT generally has 15 minutes to respond with a forecast once they are notified of a spill. Therefore, a quick and timely forecast is essential.

Alaska currently has 3 grids available in the oil trajectory model--Harrison Bay, Prince William Sound, and Glacier Bay. Canmon Bay, the area between Lynn Canal and Juneau is also being worked on. The program is free and downloadable for government agencies. Recent events in Alaska that the HAZMAT team was involved with include the explosion of the Japanese fishing boat Genei Maru, which eventually ended up stranded on Afognak Island. Another event occurred in Dutch Harbor, where an oil spill occurred during a severe winter storm. Strong winds blew the oil into a land-bound lake near the ship, but workers were unable to begin cleanup until the 50-knot winds subsided. The NOAA HAZMAT team relied on National Weather Service forecasts to get the workers out there safely.

Several factors are involved in forecasting spill trajectories. Topography, sea depth, tides, and wind flow due to synoptic conditions are all important players when forecasting where a spill will go. Mark showed several model products and how each is used for these factors. The NOEM model uses tides combined with real time wind data. Aloha, a second model, forecasts downstream flow with no topographical effects included. CAMEO, a chemical database, works in tandem with Aloha and forecasts the effects based on the type of chemical spill. The wind uncertainty product compares statistics with actual events. Finally, a new, experimental 3D Dispersion product models the dispersion of pollutants through the water column.

The last section of the talk discussed some of the more unusual "spills" the HAZMAT team is called on for forecast trajectories. This can include airplane crashes, like JFK Jr's crash in the North Atlantic, salvage operations, and even forecast trajectories for dead whales, dead bodies, or even natural events like red tide.

For those who are interested, the HAZMAT team website is at

Mark concluded his talk by opening the floor for questions.

Next Meeting: Next meeting date is still to be determined. Speaking will be Dr. Sam Miller from the Anchorage Forecast Office. His will be discussing his dissertation research.

Adjournment: Peter Olsson, president, adjourned the meeting at approximately 1:00 pm.---Louise Williams.


Meeting Summary, 14 November 2003 meeting of the Central Illinois Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.

The Central Illinois Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (CIAMS) held the first regular meeting of the 2003-2004 year at McCarty's on the Depot in Lincoln, Illinois. Approximately 30 people attended. The meeting began at 7:00 PM on Thursday, 13 November 2003. President Mike Tannura opened the meeting by giving a report on the Midwest Extreme and Hazardous Weather Conference that was held on October 17-18 in Champaign, Illinois. The CIAMS sponsored conference was an unqualified success, both professionally and financially. 143 people attended the conference. Over 80 evaluation forms were completed by the attendees and are being reviewed. The chapter would like to conduct another conference in about two years. About 30 preprint CD's will be made available to purchase on the chapter website, Ed Kieser, outgoing chapter president, presented a motion to change the chapter fiscal year from October 1 - September 30 to August 1 through July 31 to reflect AMS Headquarters. Ed Kieser also presented a motion to add another member to the Program and Publicity Committee so that is consists of a chairperson and three members. Both votes passed. Mike Kruk presented the treasury report for absent treasurer Maria Peters. Mike stated that although not all the bills for Midwest Extreme and Hazardous Weather Conference are in, the conference was a financial success. Chapter dues are also due for the next year ($15 Members and Associate Members, $6 student Members). Mike Spinar also gave a report from the education committee.

The featured speaker for this meeting was Greg McFarquhar from the University of Illinois Department of Atmospheric Sciences. Greg's topic was "Observations and Modeling Simulations of Hurricanes: Do Cloud Microphysical Processes Matter?" Greg discussed why we study hurricane microphysical processes and how we measure hurricane microphysics. He also compared hurricane simulations with observations taken during CAMEX-4 and discussed the future plans and problems of hurricane microphysics research. The goal of the research is to improve hurricane track and intensity forecasts, especially in the 24-48 hour range and to better forecast the amount of precipitation during the life of a hurricane. Greg gave a brief overview of CAMEX-5 scheduled for 2005 in Central America

After questions the meeting adjourned around 9:10 PM.---Tom Bellinger.


Vice-chair Mike Abraczinskas of the North Carolina Division of Air Quality introduced the speakers for out October meeting, Dr. Dev Niyogi, Dr. Lane Tredway, and Dr. Gary Lackmann. Niyogi and Lackmann are professors in the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences at North Carolina State University, and Tredway is a professor in the NCSU Department of Plant Pathology. The speakers presented some preliminary findings on the development and evaluation of a weather-based plant disease forecasting system.

Dr. Tredway began the presentation with an overview of the scale of the turfgrass industry, which is largely driven by golf courses. Up to $2 million a year is spent on turf maintenance at a golf course, with the majority of that money spent maintaining greens. In addition, most sports injuries that occur are a result of problems with the playing surface itself, which directly relates back to turf.

In the U.S., the turfgrass industry is a large and expanding. In 1999, $22.2 billion was spent by U.S. golf courses on turfgrass maintenance while in 1994 personal lawns and landscape turf accounted for $13.4 billion in spending. In North Carolina, turf is grown on over 2.1 million acres, and the industry is second only to the poultry industry in economic value in the state.

Turf pathology at NCSU focuses its research on understanding and diagnosing the various forms of disease that affect turf, as well as managing that disease, evaluating fungicides and agents to treat the disease. Fungi cause the most damaging turf diseases, and their growth is largely dependent on weather conditions. Fungicides make up about 50% of the pesticide budget of an average golf course, which in 1993 totaled about $85 million a year nationwide.

Broad-spectrum fungicides that were previously widely used are slowly being phased out due to human health concerns. This has lead to the development of a new generation of fungicides that are environmentally safe, but expensive, prone to resistance and control only a narrow spectrum of fungi. As a result, a considerable increase in spending on fungicides has occurred in recent years. For example, in North Carolina, the amount of money spent on fungicides nearly doubled from 1994 to 1999.

The goal of this particular project is to develop an internet-based system for turf disease prediction using observed and forecasted meteorological data, and make this system freely available to turfgrass managers to help them better time fungicide applications. To this end, a field program was undertaken in the summer of 2003 to study the ability of current models to predict turf disease and to develop an automated forecast system for disease warning over the Internet.
Dr. Niyogi described the results of the project, which was designed to observe the growth of two diseases, brown patch and Pythium blight. No Pythium blight development was observed in 2003, so only results from brown patch were presented. Observations of brown patch were taken at the NC State Faculty Club Turfgrass Field Lab from 8 June-17 August, 2003.

Meteorological observations of temperature, relative humidity and precipitation were collected at Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) and onsite at the turf lab. The observations were used to produce daily forecasts for brown patch from pervious models, and the forecast was compared to observations of whether brown patch was actually active or not on the day of the forecast. The model prediction using observed data from RDU was correct 57% of the forecast days, producing more false alarms than misses. Using on-site Turfgrass lab observations resulted in a marginal improvement in the correct model forecast percentage, to 61%. This result suggests that it is may not be worth the expense to install on-site observations to predict turfgrass disease growth if representative regional observations are available.

In 92% of the misses, the maximum daily temperature was greater than or equal to 30°C, suggesting that extreme heat may strain the turf and make it more susceptible to infection. In 72% of the false alarm cases, more than 0.10 in. of precipitation occurred during that day, suggesting that precipitation might physically destroy the means of disease growth.

Dr. Gary Lackmann presented some considerations for future forecasting. First, why does the model correlate to actual observations of disease only 57% of the time? Can brown patch spread even under less-than-ideal meteorological conditions once it develops? What are the effects of precipitation on disease growth? How do the uncertainties in meteorological measurements and disease behavior affect the model? The good news is that forecasts of the disease indices based on numerical model output correlate strongly with those based on actual meteorological measurements. The bad news is that the indices themselves are much more weakly correlated with disease behavior. This will require the development of a better disease model. Future work includes performing a statistical regression to develop an improved model, which will make it possible to address the forecasting questions.

November 2003

Vice-chair Mike Abraczinskas of the North Carolina Division of Air Quality introduced the speaker for the November 2003 meeting. Lew Weinstock of the Forsyth County Environmental Affairs Department. Their website is located at: Lew is the manager of the analysis and monitoring division and the lead air quality forecaster in the Triad. Lew has a B.S. and M.S. in meteorology from Cornell University.

Lew began by noting that there are three local air quality programs in North Carolina, located in Forsyth, Mecklenburg, and Buncombe Counties. Ground level ozone is a major issue in North Carolina, with 21 counties violating the eight-hour ozone standards during the 2000­2002 period. The Piedmont Triad metro area (Greensboro and Winston-Salem) ranks in the top 20 worst air quality locations in the U.S. The Triangle is slightly worse, and Charlotte is in the top 10 of the worst air quality locations in the country.

In recent years the contribution to poor air quality from fine particulate matter (PM) has been scrutinized more closely. PM is defined as any particulate matter with a diameter of 100 ?m or less. Particular attention has been paid to contribution of PM 2.5, which is particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 ?m (for reference, the average human hair has a diameter of 70 ?m), since these particles are able to penetrate deep into the lungs. The public health issues of PM 2.5 overlap those of ozone and add additional sensitive groups. It is expected that portions of North Carolina will exceed the new 15 ?g attainment standard for PM 2.5.

PM is a secondary pollutant and is caused by direct emissions as well as chemical reactions. The measurement of PM has evolved significantly in the last 15­20 years, and new continuous PM 2.5 monitors are being installed in Winston-Salem and Greensboro in the Triad forecast area, which covers nine counties.

The highest concentrations of pollutants typically occur during the “absence” of active weather. Because of this, subtle changes in weather conditions, such as a wind direction change of only 20­30? or a wind speed change of 3­4 kt. can have a large impact on air quality.

Air quality conditions are forecasted on a color code system and are verified at the air-quality monitor in the forecast region that reports the highest value, which is standard practice nationwide. Unfortunately, pollutant emissions are not monitored in real-time, so forecasters are forced to infer the chemistry processes based on other available data.

Weather processes that air quality forecasters look for are similar to those that operational weather forecasters are concerned with, namely vertical air motions, inversion development, winds, trajectories, and source regions. Upper-level ridges that induce sinking air over much of the troposphere generally lead to poor air quality as they inhibit the development of cloud and precipitation and favor a shallow boundary layer that limits vertical mixing and keeps pollutants concentrated near the ground.

Inversion development can also limit mixing. In the summer a subsidence inversion can cap the mixed layer at 2,000­3,000 ft., while nocturnal inversions in the winter can trap emissions in the very shallow nocturnal boundary layer for the long winter nights.

The impacts of cloud and precipitation on ozone formation are rather straightforward, as precipitation inhibits ozone formation. The impact of cloud and precipitation on PM is more complicated. Precipitation does little to decrease PM 2.5, however, it does wash out concentrations of PM 10 (PM with diameter of 10 ?m or less). Cloud and precipitation can also serve to limit surface heating and boundary layer growth and mixing, resulting in higher PM 2.5 concentrations. In fact, the conversion rate of sulfur dioxide to sulfate is enhanced by as much as 50% by the presence of moisture.

The synoptic setup for the highest PM concentrations in North Carolina occurs just ahead of a cold front approaching from the northwest, with southwesterly flow ahead of the system. This leads to PM “piling up” ahead of the boundary.

Lew then led the audience through a forecast exercise of an air quality event from 27­31 August 2003, including images from the Triad haze cam which shows Pilot Mountain, NC. The cam is visible online at: Brennan.


DC Chapter. The November 12, 2003 DC-AMS Meeting took place at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) building in Washington, DC. Meeting participants convened at 11:30 AM. During the first half hour of the meeting, participants enjoyed a light lunch buffet while taking advantage of the opportunity to meet each other, talk to the guest speakers, and chat with the DC-AMS officers.

Vice Chairperson Jason Samenow called the meeting to order at 12:00 PM. He thanked everyone for the great turnout. He also noted that this meeting was a joint effort between the DC-AMS and the EPA. He stated that the December meeting would feature Raymond Ban, the Executive Vice President of the Meteorology Science and Strategy Department at the Weather Channel. The meeting has been moved from December 4th to December 3rd.

Vice Chairperson Samenow announced that the DC-AMS has been selected as 2002-2003 AMS Chapter of the Year. This is the second year in a row that the chapter has been given this award. Unfortunately, because of AMS bylaws, the DC-AMS cannot receive this recognition for more than two consecutive years in a row. Nevertheless, the DC-AMS leadership will continue to schedule great meetings and activities for the membership to participate in.

After acknowledging the efforts of the DC-AMS officers and Ken Carey, the former DC-AMS Vice Chair, Vice Chairperson Samenow introduced Eva Wang, an employee at the EPA. She briefly described how her work focuses on helping states and localities reduce global gas emissions by performing energy environment analyses. She helps to foster partnerships between government and the private sector to combat pollution.

Jason then introduced Dr. J. Marshall Shepherd, the first of the two guest speakers for the evening on the topic, AUrban Meteorology and Environmental Effects.@ Dr. Marshall is currently a research meteorologist in the Laboratory for Atmospheres at NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center. He is currently on detail to NASA Headquarters where he serves as the Science Communications Manager for the Office of Earth Science. For the past 10 years, he has conducted research into mesoscale weather systems using aircraft, satellites, radars, and sophisticated computer models. This research seeks to understand mesoscale atmospheric processes and to relate them to current weather and climate change. Dr. Shepherd=s most recent work is investigating the linkage between urban cities and rainfall modification using space-based instruments.

Dr. Shepherd received his B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in physical meteorology from Florida State University. He was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. from the Florida State University Department of Meteorology, one of the nation's oldest and respected. He is an AMS/TRW Industry and Dolores Auzene Fellow as well as a National Achievement Scholar. He is a member of Chi Epsilon Pi Meteorology Honorary, Omicron Delta Kappa National Honorary, and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. He has numerous written publications, oral presentations, and media (TV and radio) appearances as a NASA expert on weather, climate, and remote sensing. Dr. Shepherd is also frequently asked to present findings and results to key personnel at NASA, OMB, OSTP, DoD, and officials from foreign countries. Dr. Shepherd also recently co-authored a children's book on conducting weather-related science projects and understanding basic weather information.

Dr. Shepherd's research has focused on urban induced rainfall. This has involved studying areas that have experienced large amounts of urbanization over the past few decades and how the climates of these areas have changed. Dr. Shepherd stated that 80% of the population in the United States lives in cities. The U.S. population is continuing to grow with the U.S. urban areas seeing the largest growth rate.

Dr. Shepherd pointed out that the surfaces in cities such as asphalt and concrete alter evaporation, surface runoff, and temperature. Dark surfaces in the urban environment can be as much as 70 degrees warmer than light surfaces on a hot summer day. The urban heat island phenomena has a great impact on temperature. In fact, many question whether or not temperature observations which seem to indicate global warming are in part due to increased urbanization and the resulting heat island effect. Several papers have been written linking global warming to urban heat islands. In addition to this, heat islands have also been linked to increased occurrences of smog.

According to Dr. Shepherd, accurate global precipitation measurements are necessary for global climate analyses. Dr. Shepherd has used several techniques in an attempt to measure urban induced rainfall. Because rain gage networks can be sparse, even in the urban setting, he has relied upon radar and satellite precipitation estimates to supplement them. What he has found is that in cities there tends to be an increase in turbulence, modification of low level moisture convergence, and modified microphysical processes due to increased aerosol concentrations.

Infrared analyses have shown that the Atlanta and Houston urban areas are significantly warmer than their suburbs. Lightning analyses have also shown increased thunderstorm activity in the vicinities of these cities. Many of the rainfall events occurred between midday and early evening, corresponding well to the warmest time of day in these cities. Analyses of gages upwind and downwind of Houston show that the downwind gages tend to report more precipitation. Gages downwind of urban areas experiencing rapid growth have shown increased annual amounts of precipitation.

Dr. Shepherd has also made extensive use of computer models for modeling the effects of urban heat islands on urban climates. These models have also indicated that heat islands can greatly influence the transport of pollutants in and around cities. In particular, he noted that the heat island circulations in and around Washington, DC, and Baltimore, Maryland, can cause large amounts of pollution from DC to be transported to Baltimore.

Dr. Shepherd said that research is being conducted to find ways to minimize the urban heat island effect. Possibilities include using landscaping to reduce exposed asphalt and concrete surfaces. Properly placed trees may reduce energy costs by as much as 20%. Also, it may be possible to modify the albedos of existing urban surfaces so that they reflect more light and absorb less heat energy. This may be especially useful on rooftops.

After a 10 minute question and answer session, Vice Chairperson Samenow introduced the second speaker, Dr. Ivan Cheung. Dr. Ivan Cheung is an Assistant Professor of Geography. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Dr. Cheung received most of his undergraduate education at the Hong Kong Baptist University (Honor Diploma with Distinction in Geography) in 1990. From 1990 to 1992, Dr. Cheung attended both Washington State University and University of Idaho, obtaining a Master of Sciences in Environmental Sciences (WSU, 1992) and a Bachelor of Sciences in Geography (University of Idaho, 1992). Having spent almost a year as a substitute teacher in two high schools in Hong Kong, he moved to Los Angeles in 1993. In 1998, he received a PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), specializing in Climatology. After spending a year as a visiting assistant professor at Slippery Rock University in Western Pennsylvania, he joined the George Washington University in 1999.

Dr. Cheung's research interest concerns the use of Geographic information systems (GIS) and spatial analytical techniques in both environmental, public health, and social processes and issues. He is currently conducting research in understanding the relationship between local landcover characteristics, urban thermal morphology, and near-surface ozone concentrations. He also has strong collaboration with colleagues from the Children National Medical Center, School of Public Health and Health Services (GWU), and other faculty members inside and outside the Department of Geography. More information regarding his research interests and publications can be found at his personal website [].

In his talk, Dr. Cheung focused on the relationship between land features and ozone morphology. The basic questions is how do different landscapes on the local scale affect the concentration of ozone around the Washington, DC area. Dr. Cheung stated that the Washington DC, Baltimore areas are ranked in the severe ozone category, so work is being done to determine how to prevent ozone from forming.

Dr. Cheung used high resolution LandSat images to map out the differing landscapes in the DC area. He also used high resolution aerial photographs. He set up 16 ozone measurement sites across the area. Through the use of statistical analysis, he was able to determine that if the brightness temperature of a surface is higher, then the concentration of ozone over that surface is also likely to be higher. Surfaces with low brightness temperatures, such as vegetated surfaces, also tend to have lower ozone concentrations. But the immediate environment around the ozone sensors seemed to have less impact on the ozone concentrations. For example, the ozone concentrations over a hot roof tend to be low, something Dr. Cheung attributes to surrounding trees and low brightness temperature surfaces.

Dr. Cheung summarized his discussion by stating the urban heat island effect plays an important role in the daily maximum of ozone observed in cities. Also, LandSat derived parameters tend to have a high correlation with daily ozone concentration maxima.---Bryon Lawrence.


ISU AMS Meeting Minutes for November 17, 2003

Dr. Alan Czarnetzki of the University of Northern Iowa gave a presentation on the STORM Project.

If you attended the 2003 Central Iowa NWA Severe Storms Conference and would like to receive a refund, contact Kevin (ksully01@iastate).

We will be going on a Spring Break trip to Norman, OK. If you are interested contact Kevin.

We will be ordering ISU AMS t-shirts, sweatshirts, and polo shirts early in the spring semester.

As a social event, we are considering going to and ISU Hockey Club game. Also, Chase will be graduating in December, so we will be in need of a new social chair. If you are interested, contact Jon (

All members are encouraged to sign up for the National AMS. Dues are $15. Go to for more information.---Stephen Konarik.


The bi-monthly KU AMS meeting was held on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2003 in 6092 Malott.

Kirby Mullenberg announced that KU AMS is finally recognized by the University as a club and congratulated Cameron Lewis and Laura Walter, who were selected to volunteer at the 84th Annual AMS Meeting in Seattle, WA. Cameron gave a brief presentation on some possible t-shirt designs and prices. T-Shirt orders and money will be due on Friday the 21st by 5:00 pm in the weather lab. A social event was planned for Friday, consisting of a group dinner at Uno's, with pool to follow. Treasurer Alex Perkins said that dues are slowly coming in and we have some money to work with now.

Kirby encouraged everyone who wasn't a member of the national AMS to pay the $15 dues and become one. She also asked for ideas and volunteers to work on an Atmospheric Science Bulletin in Lindley Hall. We decided to put up photos of severe weather and anyone who has any is welcome to submit a copy to be put on display. We also discussed the possiblility of recruiting members from our hometowns to join KU AMS.---Laura Walter.


Meeting Minutes
November 12, 2003

Our speaker for this meeting was student Dennis O'Donnell, presented a lecture titled "A Summary of Pollution Events during NEOPS-DEP 2002." He outlined 4 out the 7 events that experienced while doing his research. The first of which was the "Haze Event" on July 1-3, 2002. During this event he witnessed high levels of ozone, low visibility, and high scattering and backscattering. The second event was the "Smoke Event" of July 6-8, 2002. This event included high trace gas levels, very poor visibility, slight pine smell in the air, highest Dust Trak levels seen during NEOPS, and highest ozone concentration in 2002. The third event was the "Pollution Event" of July 17-19, 2002. High ozone, high NOX and high humidity which led to low visibility all outlined this event. The final event that Dennis talked about was the "Sea Breeze Event" on July 20, 2002. Early on July 20th a front passed through early in the day that set up a weak east flow. Then at 8:15 that evening the sea breeze front passed over and there was an unusual rise in trace gas concentrations. In conclusion, Dennis found that urban pollution is not limited to city limits and transport can take both synoptic and mesoscale phenomenon.---Wayne MacKenzie.


General Meeting Minutes
November 20, 2003

President Clark Evans called the meeting to order at 7:20 p.m. The following executive members were present: President: Clark Evans, Vice President: Joe Marzen, Treasurer: Ariel Rodriguez, Secretary: Robert Banks, and Officer-at-Large Richie Schwerdt .40 members were present including the executive board. We saw a lot of new faces tonight and our membership is growing. The meeting began with President Clark Evans discussing what will be addressed in the meeting.

Treasurer s Report

Treasurer Ariel Rodriguez addressed to the chapter our current state of finances and urged every member to pay their dues before this year is out. He noted that dues are only $5.00 for students and $10.00 for non-students for a year s membership.

Subcommittee Reports

President Clark Evans ran down the list of subcommittees which are each headed by an officer and then each officer gave a report of how their subcommittee is coming along. Treasurer Ariel Rodriguez is the head of the membership subcommittee and he expressed that there is a need for more members in his subcommittee so they can encourage others from the community to join the chapter and in that way we can expand even further. Secretary Robert Banks is the head of the publicity subcommittee and he announced the current state of advertising for the chapter which includes an advertisement in the Tallahassee Democrat for meetings every month, fliers around the campus, and by word of mouth in order to promote a bigger and better chapter. Member-at-Large Richie Schwerdt is in charge of heading up our donations and community service activities along with the education subcommittee which is headed by senior undergraduate, Chris Bennett. Richie is currently helping us gather canned goods for the local food bank, ECHO, so they have enough food for the holidays. Chris Bennett as aforementioned, is the head of the science/education subcommittee and he announced that the chapter is planning to help with the Alachua School Science Fair as volunteer judges. Also he mentioned the need for more speakers and help for school visits to educate younger individuals.

Canned Food Drive

Officer at Large Richie Schwerdt asked that if every member could bring a canned food to every event that we have if they remember to do so. He said that these would all be donated to ECHO food bank because they are in great need of them for the upcoming holiday season.

Chapter Ideas

President Clark Evans announced a few ideas to the members to try and get a feel of what they wanted to do. He talked about chapter expenditures for a chapter website and the idea of a flag football game for some social interaction. The football game is set to be on November 22 or 23 but it seemed that not many members had an interest. The website was a good idea and will be pursued further in the coming months. Also, Clark noted he will be going to the WIMSE program on December 1 to try and gather more interest from the outside community.

AMS Conference in Seattle

President Evans announced the winners from the AMS Assistantship/Scholarships for the AMS Conference to be held in January. Also, he said that department funds will be announced shortly.

Presentation T.J. Turnage, SKYWARN Program

Vice-President Joe Marzen introduced tonight s guest speaker. He is T.J. Turnage of the National Weather Service. He is the director and instructor of the SKYWARN program which is an introductory course in training people to spot storms and other severe weather. Mr. Turnage gave an exciting and informative talk about different types of thunderstorms and tornadoes and how to spot them and report them to your local NWS.

Next Meeting

The next meeting is tentatively set for Thursday, January 15 at 7:15 PM in Room 353 Love Building but may be changed due to the number of people attending the AMS Annual Conference in Seattle.


The meeting was adjourned at 8:40 PM.

The above minutes are a true and correct reflection of the October 16, 2003 meeting.---Clark Evans, President; Submitted by: Robert Banks, Secretary.


AMS Chapter Meeting Minutes - November 2003

The Omaha-Offutt chapter of the AMS held its November meeting on December 4, 2003, at the Greek Islands restaurant in midtown Omaha.

At 7:09 PM chapter President Jeremy Wesely called the business meeting to order.

Recording Secretary John Roth announced 32 members and guests were in attendance, and read the minutes from the October meeting. A motion to approve the minutes was made by Bruce Telfeyan and seconded by Gene Wall, and the minutes were accepted.

In Treasurer Matt Sittel's absence, Jeremy presented the treasurer's report. There were 7 new memberships paid.

Corresponding Secretary Dave Keller announced the results from the October forecast contest. Scott Risch won the question on the first Omaha freeze, Karen Sittel won on the first snowfall question, and Bruce Telfeyan won the best story for his reminisces of snowfall events. Bruce is the overall leader.

Old business:
Four chapter members will be attending the national AMS conference in Seattle. The four are John Zapotocny, Daniel Nietfeld, Bruce Telfeyan, and John Eylander. Jeremy thanked Dr. John Zapotocny for putting together a new chapter abstract for the national AMS. Text of the abstract is included in the chapter newsletter. Jeremy announced he had finished work on the new chapter poster, and thanked all involved in the project. He showed attending members a miniature version that he had printed out.

New business:
Jeremy announced that the January meeting is tentatively planned for 4 PM Thursday January 22, and includes a tour of the KMTV channel 3 studio, including viewing the 5 PM newscast. Due to station policy, only members (no guests) will be allowed to attend. Dr. Ken Dewey announced the Central Plains Severe Weather Symposium was scheduled for March 20 2004 in Lincoln. A severe weather spotter training session would be held at the end of the day. The announcement would be posted on the High Plains Regional Climate Center's web site.

Gene Wall of the education committee announced that the Omaha Children's Museum has lost all of its exhibit funding. All changes to exhibits, including the planned weather related exhibits, are on hold until the funding situation is resolved. The museum would still like chapter participation in the projects once it is able to fund them. John Eylander is hosting an education committee web site on Creighton's web server. The committee is encouraging local area high school teachers and counselors to use the site.

A meeting of the local Weather Explorer post was taking place at the same time as the chapter meeting. It is for high school students interested in meteorology and astronomy. Gordon Brooks is the contact for anyone interested in participating.

The 84th annual AMS national conference, and the third annual Student AMS conference, will take place January 10-15 in Seattle WA.

A motion to adjourn the business meeting was made by Steve Byrd and seconded by Lou Riva. The meeting was adjourned at 7:32 PM. Dinner was then served.

Guest Speaker:
The guest speaker for the evening was Greg Carbin, mesoscale forecaster/meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center. He is a graduate of Lyndon State College in Lyndonville VT, and has worked in private industry in the New York/New England area, and at National Weather Service offices in North Carolina, before SPC. His talk was "Ten Weather Memories from 2003". The ten events, in chronological order, were

  1. January 3-4 Nor'easter snowstorm in New York and New England. Formed from a classic upper air pattern, with a trough over eastern North America and a 100 knot jet at the base. As the trough moved toward the coast it acquired a negative tilt, and a surface low formed along the coast and moved quickly northeastward. This produced a band of heavy snow from eastern New York to southwestern Maine. Occurred on the heels of a Christmas snowstorm in much the same area, resulting in a combined snow depth of three to four feet. Included were a set of pictures of the snow piling up on a backyard.
  2. February 1 Space Shuttle Columbia crash. The weather was tranquil, with clear skies over most of the area that could view the reentry. Notable weather connection was that the debris trail showed up on the Shreveport LA WSR-88D radar.
  3. March 17-19 Colorado record snowstorm. Weather pattern started with a strong jet entering the base of a trough over California, followed by the low closing off over the four corners region. The surface low meandered over Colorado for two straight days, with cold air feeding into the system and a feed of moisture from the southeast.
  4. May 4-10 weeklong severe weather outbreak. A record number of tornadoes for the month of May were reported during the week. Mean pattern had a broad southwesterly flow over the central U.S. with embedded troughs moving through. The pattern persisted through the week. There were 2729 severe weather reports for the week. This one compares with other notable weeklong outbreaks in 1917, 1930, and 1949, but had fewer reports than 3-4 April 1974.
  5. June 22 record large hail in Aurora Nebraska. Record hailstone was 7 inches in diameter and 18.75 inches in circumference, beating out the long time record held by the Coffeeville Kansas stone. A picture of the hailstone was showed. Very large hail also fell in Deshler NE. Occurred in extremely unstable environment, with ML CAPE values over 4000 from central Kansas to central Nebraska. Atmosphere was capped, but a small area of thunderstorms formed along an old outflow boundary, and developed explosively in the unstable environment.
  6. July 26 Northeast "Derecho". Weather pattern showed a surface low over Lake Michigan, and a 50 knot jet across Indiana and Ohio. Around 1 PM an area of convection formed in northeastern Ohio, and formed a line that moved quickly across northern Pennsylvania and New Jersey, producing a damage path hundreds of miles long.
  7. August 30 fatal flash flood in Kansas. Resulted from persistent area of heavy rain. A circulation had formed at 850 mb over Oklahoma and Kansas. A strong moisture feed and a jet at 250 mb combined to produce moderate to heavy rains across eastern Kansas for most of the day, with several areas of training radar echoes noted. It dumped 5 to 7 inches of rain on an area that had received nearly 3 inches of rain several days earlier.
  8. September 7-19 Hurricane Isabel. The storm followed a fairly steady track northwestward from the central Atlantic, with its main effects being high winds and coastal flooding in North Carolina and Virginia. The talk noted the good job forecasters did in predicting the track and timing of this storm. Included were pictures of the storm from weather satellites and the space station.
  9. October 25-29 California wildfires. Occurred in a typical dry pattern, with a large ridge off the west coast and north-northeast winds over southern California. The worst fire weather was on the 26th, with temperatures in the low 90s, relative humidity less than 10%, and winds gusting 40 to 70 miles per hour. The fires and their smoke plumes showed up distinctively on satellite pictures.
  10. October-November solar storms. Affected some communications; largest effect on Earth was major displays of Aurora. Some spectacular pictures of eruptions viewed from GOES satellites were shown.
To view pictures from this meeting, please go to the following Web site: Roth.


The November 11 meeting of the Packerland Chapter of the AMS drew a large audience to the Christie Theater on the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay campus. Dr. John Beaver, professor of astronomy and physics at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley, lit up the night with his presentation "Sprites and the Northern Lights."

Most people are familiar with the northern lights, a complex electromagnetic phenomenon related to the sun. Sprites are a lesser known electromagnetic peculiarity related to thunderstorms. Governed by dynamic magnetic fields and electricity, these spectacular displays of light are rich coupled phenomenon that must be modeled if we hope to improve our limited understanding of them.

Dr. Beaver first addressed the concept of sprites. They are dim flashes of light appearing 40-100 km above Earth's surface, apparently induced by rare positive cloud-to-ground lightning strikes. The lightning gives off a pulse of energy that excites the electrons in nitrogen atoms in the atmosphere. Photons of light are given off when the excited electrons return to their original lower-energy states. The result is a branching, red and blue flash of light known as a sprite. Sprites are rarely observed because they occur above the thundercloud and last only 10 milliseconds.

Two luminous curiosities related to sprites are "elves" and "blue jets". Elves are rapidly expanding rings of light that appear at the base of the thermosphere (about 100 km above Earth's surface). They appear when extremely low frequency waves given off by lightning interact with nitrogen atoms in the upper atmosphere. Blue jets have a similar branching shape as sprites, but they are blue in color and occur at lower levels in the atmosphere, immediately above the convective cell of a thunderstorm. They seem to be associated with negative cloud-to-ground lightning commonly produced in this region of the storm.

Sprites, elves, and blue jets received their first significant scientific attention in the mid-1980's. The current understanding is limited, but a preliminary hypothesis is that the three phenomenon represent an electrical connection between thunderstorms and the ionosphere.

The northern lights, or aurora, was Dr. Beaver's next topic of discussion. This curtain of light is related to the solar wind, a constant outflow of charged subatomic particles from the sun. The solar wind is responsible for distorting Earth's magnetic field into a teardrop shape, but the wind has a magnetic field of its own. The interaction between these two magnetic fields channels some charged particles into two doughnut-shaped belts surrounding the Earth's magnetic poles. The charged particles excite gases in the ionosphere and create the display we know as the aurora.

Gusts of solar wind called coronal mass ejections cause particularly intense auroral activity. Two such ejections occurred in late October 2003, creating high auroral potential from October 29 to November 1. Unfortunately, northeast Wisconsin was overcast during that period, but spotters from across the northern United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia reported auroral sightings.

Dr. Beaver shared some of his own spectacular photos of the aurora, taken two years ago in Menasha, WI. Another of his visual (or more appropriately, audio) aides was a Very Low Frequency Receiver used to detect electromagnetic waves emitted from lightning bolts up to hundreds of miles away. No lightning could be heard in the auditorium because of interference from nearby electricity sources, but if one were to take the receiver farther from power lines, strange whistles and buzzes from lightning could be heard.

Dr. Beaver's presentation was truly enlightening. Keep an eye to the sky and perhaps you will capture a glimpse of one of the atmosphere's most mysterious lights!---Katie Hemauer.


11/5/03 - Professor Tom Carney, head of the Department of Aviation Technology at Purdue and Ph.D. graduate of the Purdue University Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, spoke to the Purdue University Meteorological Association about the effects of weather on aviation tonight. After his detailed and informative discussion, Dr. Carney regaled the group with details and stories of his aviation career, from his time as a student to his work as a fledgling flight instructor, to his long career in education. In addition, the professor shared with the group several terrific photographs taken during his career as a pilot and meteorologist. Our thanks go to Dr. Carney for taking time out of his evening to share his insight with us.---Joseph Nield.


On Thursday November 6, we had our third meeting of the year. We had only a few topics to discuss and also had a fund-raising game. The meeting first started with informing everyone about how we raised money for the club. A few of us in the club went to work at Great Adventure last weekend to raise money. Next we told everyone of a Skywarn session that would be held in December. Skywarn is a program where people go to a session and get trained on reporting severe weather events, and can get certified to be able to call in storm reports to the National Weather Service Offices. Every year we get lots of students in the club who participate in this event. Megan Linkin, a senior in Meteorology, gave a presentation on her trip to the National Center for Atmospheric Research(NCAR) in Boulder, CO over the summer. She explained what NCAR was and the kinds of research they do, and also gave her experience of the entire trip and the topics that were discussed. The last topic of the night was our annual snowpool. Students in the club will try and forecast how much snow will fall for the entire winter season, and when the first inch of snow will occur.

That's basically what we discussed at the meeting. It was short to make time for our fundraising game. It was called METAR Jeopardy. Each person had to pay $5 to play. We had questions made up on METAR code and students in the club competed against each other. The game consisted of three rounds of questions with contestants being eliminated after every round. The person who had the most questions correct in the final round would be the winner. The winner got half of the total money put into the game and the other half went to the club.---Mark Sannutti.


November Meeting Notes:

On November 18, 2003 the Southeastern Arizona Chapter of the American Meteorological Society had a guest speaker from the Optical Sciences Center at the University of Arizona. Dr. Kurt Thome is an Associate Professor with the Optical Sciences Center on the University of Arizona campus. Dr. Thome has a bachelor of science in Meteorology from Texas A&M University and he has a MS and Ph.D. in atmospheric science from the University of Arizona. Dr. Thome is extremely active in the radiometric calibration of satellites and aircraft based sensors and has served on the science teams for ASTER, MODIS, and Landsat-7.

Dr. Thome's speech was entitled, "Studies of dust and Aspen fire smoke in Tucson". Dr. Thome discussed an instrument that NASA has developed known as Aeronet. Aeronet is a ground-based instrument that is designed to characterize the type and amount of atmospheric aerosols. The University of Arizona has one of these instruments and is using it to make a comparison study of the changes in atmospheric aerosols in the Tucson metro area. Dr. Thome and his team are using recent data and comparing to data from the time period of 1975 to 1977.

The Aeronet instrument has ten telescopes inside of it that are pointed towards the sun. Each telescope has a different wavelength of light that it is looking at. The type and amount of aerosols in the atmosphere along with the optical depth of the atmosphere can all be determined with an Aeronet. The instrument tracks the sun throughout the day, so that it is always looking directly at the sun, and it measures the brightness changes in the sky. The distribution of the sky brightness indicates the sizes of the particles in the atmosphere. Looking at a graph of the atmospheric aerosols throughout the year in the Tucson area, you can see that June, July and August have a much larger concentration of aerosols than the rest of the year. This is due to the Monsoon season that southeastern Arizona experiences during this time frame. It also shows that the spring in Tucson has much larger particles, and the wet season has much smaller particles.

Dr. Thome also showed some pictures from different satellites of the smoke from the wildfires this past summer. Dr. Thome also talked about what the atmospheric aerosols looked like during this time frame, when there was a lot of smoke in the air and he talked about the importance of being able to distinguish smoke from clouds when looking at the aerosol composition. Overall Dr. Thome shared a great deal of information with our chapter members, and his time was greatly appreciated. ---Tom Evans.


The meeting was opened with a warm welcome from President Travis Herzog. The Secretary and Treasurer reports were giving by Roger Gass and Paul Roller.

Travis then talked about our trip to tour KTVT in Fort Worth, and KWTX in Waco that will take place November 14th and 15th. Kevin Walter then talked about TAMMSSDA news and happenings. Vice President Morgan Gallagher spoke about the Chemistry Open House and took a list of volunteers.

Paul informed the members about car sticker sales and took a vote on t-shirt designs. Roger then talked about the web site updates and the plan to go to NASA in Houston next semester.

Social Chair Brad Hlozek gave updates on intramurals and movie night planed as a social get-together. After normal meeting agenda, Travis introduced Dr. Carey (New Professor at A&M). And he spoke about his career and his position at Texas A&M University.

Travis then wrapped up by thanking everyone for coming and asked everyone to join in on the drinks and snacks up stairs. Also, he announced the next general meeting to be held on December 2nd.---Roger Gass.


The Twin Cities Chapter of the American Meteorological Society met on the evening of November 20th, at the National Weather Service Office, Chanhassen MN. After a few items of old business were taken care of, the floor was given to James Husaby for the evening's presentation.

Mr. Husaby is employed by the National Weather Service as a Hydrologist at the North Central River Forecast Center in Chanhassen. He spent 5 years in the United State Navy as a Sonar Technician aboard submarines. With the money from the GI Bill, he went to school after he left the military.

He began his training as a hydrologist as a student volunteer while working on a B.S. in Earth Science at Minnesota State University, Mankato. While still working on a B.S., he was offered a position in the Student Career Educational Program (SCEP). He completed a B.S in 2000 and continued in this program while pursuing a M.S. degree in Geography at Mankato.

Mr. Husaby spoke on the Wapsipinicon River Basin, an area where current lumped parameter models have performed poorly in the past. The failure of the lumped parameter model to adequately predict river levels on the Wapsipinicon River was the basis for his study. The purpose of this study was to produce a more accurate river flood forecast by developing and testing the resolution of lumped inputs necessary to simulate a river profile. This was done with a state of the art one-dimensional unsteady flow routing model for the Wapsipinicon River reach between Anamosa, Iowa and its confluence with the Mississippi River near Camanche, Iowa. Significant hydro-geological changes occur from upstream to downstream on this sub-watershed, making lumped parameter models difficult to calibrate over the flow spectrum. The FLDWAV routing model, with spatial variation explicitly accounted for, has the potential to improve the forecast simulation of stream-flow hydrographs in this area. The calibrated model shows promise in achieving this objective. Improvements of river forecasting on the Wapsipinicon River Basin include improved spatial forecasting of the river basin, with nine stage forecast forecasts now available (versus two from the current operational model), and first generation Manning "n" values for the entire reach in the Wapsipinicon River basin study area.

A brief question and answer session followed Mr. Husaby's presentation, before the meeting adjourned for the evening.---Seth Binau.


University of Utah American Meteorological Society Student Chapter
Meeting Minutes
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
3:30 P.M., WBB 802

*Third meeting of the 2003/2004 school year.

*Members were reminded of the Student AMS bowling social on Friday, November 14, 7:00pm at Ritz Classic Lanes (2300 S. State St.).

*Frisbee golf, after being postponed and now cancelled due to changes in the season, has been replaced by a tailgate party at the Gallivan Plaza on Saturday, November 22, to watch the Utah vs. BYU football game. Specific time for those interested to meet up is yet to be determined.

*Members voted between two proposed times for a pizza and movie study break with Thursday, December 4, 3:30pm winning...the movie that will be showing in a campus theatre had not been decided upon and suggestions are to be sent to President Todd Foisy.

*An update on the status of the club t-shirts was given by t-shirt committee member Dan Zumpfe. The club t-shirts should be available by Monday, November 24 and can be picked up at INSCC 480-7 (Dan Zumpfe's cubical). Additional t-shirts will be available for purchase for a price to be determined later by the club officers.

*According to Educational Outreach Coordinator Maura Hahnenberger, there will be no more educational outreach until the spring semester.

*Some details of the ameteur nature and weather photography contest were discussed. A flyer made by James Monroe was passed around the room and suggestions for changes/improvements to the flyer were made by members in attendance. Volunteers to solicit prizes from area businesses for the contest were coordinated as well. Treasurer Dave Myrick indicated that there is approximately $300 for Student AMS to use toward advertising for the photo contest. The photo contest webpage is

*In addition to the usual campus forecast (, a ski forecast is now being updated by Student AMS members (

*The meeting was adjourned by President Todd Foisy.---Todd Foisy.


November 2003 Meeting of the Joint AMS-NWA Wright Memorial Chapter

On November 21, 2003, the Wright Memorial chapter met for lunch at the Eastern Buffet Chinese Restaurant along Springboro Pike in Kettering Ohio. There were 14 chapter members present, which is not bad considering that many members were busy with the visit of the AF Director of Weather to Wright-Patterson AFB. Maj Roohr initiated the discussion with business minutes, announcing a concern with finding a new treasurer, discussing the forecast contest for October, and saying who was going to speak in December. The AMS members voted on the new treasurer, and Maj Roohr ensured that non-present members got the chance to vote as well (Greg Fox was eventually chosen). Steve Callis won the forecasting contest for October (receiving an AMS mug), even though he did not win any of the three questions (third on the question regarding temps for Youngstown Ohio, second on the question regarding snow amount at International Falls MN, and fourth regarding temps at Hastings NE). Jon Leffler was in second place, with John Turnbull in third. Maj Roohr ended the discussion by saying that Mike Haap would be the speaker in December, talking about his experiences 40 years ago in and around the Thule airbase area in Greenland.

Maj Roohr was the speaker, presenting a talk he gave at the recent National Weather Association meeting back in October 2003. His talk referenced the famous winter storm that hit Washington DC with upwards of 13" on Veteran's Day 1987. Pete concentrated on the convective nature of the storm and how the lack of knowledge of convective elements (in winter storms) and erroneous model output from NCEP led to a very embarrassing situation for forecasters in the DC area. Forecasters, based on the fact that the model had the main storm close to shore and moving fast, just called for mainly rain and maybe some flurries. The storm actually moved off shore, about 100 miles east of where the model positioned it, and intensified more abruptly than the model had predicted (more than 6 mb). By the time forecasters saw what was happening (literally finding out when heavy snow started to fall in Suitland MD, home of NCEP) and heard the thunder, it was too late.

Confusion went up exponentially as forecasting agencies changed their products, and two major school systems had kids that could not get home for up to 12 hours; added on to this was a mess in terms of the airport operations, Metrobus scheduling, and cars/trucks getting stuck in 14 hour traffic jams in the eastern suburbs of DC. Maj Roohr emphasized that forecasters have many tools to get a heads up on convective snow events, to include lightning data (which was available for the 1987 storm), upper air data to see depth of cold air, surface pressure tendencies, and radar data/summaries. President Roohr closed the meeting reminding the members of the December meeting.---Pete Roohr.  

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