16th Symposium on Education


An interactive thermodynamic diagram for use in meteorology instruction

Gregory Byrd, UCAR/COMET, Boulder, CO; and A. Bol and A. Laing

The Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training (COMET) has developed a web-based interactive Skew-T, log-p module for meteorology education and training. This effort was primarily funded by the Air Force Weather Agency and is intended to replace their reliance on the widely-used hardcopy version of the Air Force Skew-T, log-p manual. Besides the benefits to operational forecasters in the Air Force and other agencies, we anticipate a great deal of interest from the academic community. As always, this module will be freely available to all via the MetEd website at http://www.meted.ucar.edu.

The distance learning module is organized roughly along the lines of the aforementioned hardcopy Skew-T manual. There is a basic introduction and description of the Skew-T diagram, followed by a parameters section that defines and demonstrates techniques for determining important meteorological quantities. These quantities include temperatures (e.g. convective, potential temperatures), moisture (e.g. relative humidity, mixing ratio), other levels (e.g. equilibrium level), stability assessment (e.g. lifted index, CAPE) and shear assessment (e.g. helicity). In many instances, rich graphical animations are used to illustrate procedures, complemented by conceptual diagrams depicting meteorological processes. The module also includes a stability section that uses animations to illustrate the basics of parcel processes and stability types as well as processes that change stability. In the forecast applications section of the module we highlight use of the Skew-T diagram in a variety of forecast scenarios, ranging from determination of precipitation type to forecasting hail size in severe thunderstorms.

The cornerstone of the module is the interactive Skew-T diagram, which displays a plotted sounding, along with a display of various sounding parameters. It features a click and drag capability which can be used to edit/modify the sounding, a display of wet bulb temperature, parcel processes, and the corresponding hodograph. A bookmarking feature allows modified soundings to be saved for future reference. The diagram is frequently used in the nteractive exercises imbedded throughout other sections of the module. Our presentation will demonstrate many of the important features of this initial version of the module, and will outline next steps towards developing future additions and improvements.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (416K)

Supplementary URL: http://meted.ucar.edu/mesoprim/skewt/

Session 3, University Educational Initiatives
Tuesday, 16 January 2007, 8:30 AM-9:30 AM, 206B

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