105 A Place for Us: How a High School Weather Club Can Contribute to the Understanding of the Weather

Monday, 7 January 2019
Hall 4 (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Andrew Freund, Concord Carlisle High School, Concord, MA; and J. Chelton, S. Bigay, and J. Irza-Leggat

Concord Carlisle Weather Services is a club of 15-20 high school students who are interested in not only weather, but in being citizen scientists and sharing our work with our peers and the community at large. Today, most students have access to weather prediction by one or more apps on their phone. This means that our role as weather data informers has become less important to our community. Why check out our broadcasts or facebook page to find out the forecasted temperatures for the week? Our role as a weatherclub should shift to using the weather forecast or the weather event that students are experiencing as a jumping off point to teaching them about the science behind the weather and to giving them data and analysis they can’t get from an app. What we can offer is data that is more local, from our own backyard and rooftop. We will seek to personalize weather with photos and videos and with data collected from people they know in places they are familiar with. We will try to answer richer weather questions beyond what is the weather forecast to why is the weather forecast. Why are we predicting such a large temperature swing between today and tomorrow? Exactly when did yesterday’s cold front arrive and how can we tell from our data? What do the clouds look like today in Concord and why? If a prediction is wrong, why did the meteorologists get it wrong? What is the range of precipitation types and amounts in our town from a single winter storm? We see weather as a chance for us to learn and teach our peers, engaging them more in the weather we find so fascinating.

This year, in addition to compiling weather forecasts for our local TV station, radio, hallway TV’s and facebook group based on weather data collected and distributed by the NWS and others we want to enhance the ways we collect hyper-local weather information and use it to engage our peers in weather science. We will augment the weather data that is readily available for our area by taking photos of clouds and precipitation events. We will be measuring precipitation totals and onset at a high resolution within our town using weather stations in student’s yards. We will, as a club, determine the local “weather events” for the week and use events like a cold front passage or a nor’easter passage through our town to engage and educate. As students are experiencing these weather events we will share an in-depth explanations of what they are experiencing and how we can detect the event using our roof-top weather station data, creating graphs showing high resolution data patterns that we can share using our Twitter and Facebook pages as well as our TV broadcasts. Additionally, we want to enhance the resolution of weather data available and the chance to geek out during precipitation events. We will do so by building snowboards and mounting CoCoRAHS raingauges at CC weather club members’ homes. We will seek training from meteorologists in the proper data collection and set-up of this equipment. We will share our data in real-time with our club, school community and the weather community at large. We will be able to map out precipitation patterns, show time-lapse movies of snow accumulation, and collect data at a hyper-local scale becoming the experts on each of these events in our local community. We will engage in the science process we learn about in school by sharing our findings with the NWS, local TV meteorologists, and school community through twitter and facebook posts. We will also enhance what an App can do by contributing weather photos and video clips from our weather cameras and our own phone cameras to help our peers and the local community visualize the weather events that are being discussed and experienced. Finally, by Skyping and conversing with meteorologists from local college meteorology programs, the NWS, and our local TV station we will be able to more effectively analyze and critique the data that our equipment provides us with.

This year CCWS wants to be a weather club that goes beyond what an app can tell us to learn more about the weather that is happening in our local area from original data sources and engage our peers and community at a deeper level in the science behind the weather and forecasting it. We think that is the place for us.

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