87th AMS Annual Meeting

Sunday, 14 January 2007
Crafting an entertaining and informative weather display at the Lubbock Science Spectrum
Exhibit Hall C (Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center)
Mark R. Conder, NOAA/NWSFO, Lubbock, TX; and J. Weaver, S. Cobb, B. Lamarre, G. Skwira, C. Hill, E. Calianese, L. Vannozzi, and J. Hickman
Poster PDF (1.8 MB)
The National Weather Service (NWS) Weather Forecast Office (WFO) in Lubbock, Texas is co-located with the Science Spectrum, a popular non-profit museum for science education. The Science Spectrum serves over 150,000 persons annually at the museum facility. Teachers, students, families and individual visitors come to the museum from a large region of West Texas and eastern New Mexico for hands-on science activities, film (Omni Theater), live presentations and exhibitions. This arrangement presented an excellent opportunity for WFO Lubbock office to promote the science of weather and reach thousands of visitors daily, thereby increase the visibility of the NWS.

In 2004, WFO Lubbock formed a team to design and construct a professional, interactive weather information display. The goal was to both educate and entertain children and adults alike, with an emphasis of severe weather preparedness information. Through close partnership with Science Spectrum management, the display was given a prominent location within the museum. The team designed, constructed and deployed the display during the winter, spring and summer of 2004.

The centerpiece of the display is a large-screen LCD monitor that continuously displays a short presentation highlighting a variety of weather topics and information about the NWS mission. To the left of the LCD monitor is a touch-screen monitor that provides more detailed information on weather safety, a look at the history of the NWS and at the operations of WFO Lubbock, and features the popular “Jetstream” educational site from the NWS Southern Region web site. To the right is another monitor where visitors can browse live weather information on the Internet through a series of custom-designed websites that organize the information by topic. Another section educates visitors about NOAA Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR), shows a map of the WFO Lubbock transmitter coverage areas, and allows them to listen to any of the live radio broadcasts directly from the Lubbock WFO. Another highlight of the display is an exercise bicycle modified with a generator connected to a motorized fan. This enables visitors to “operate” the anemometer and wind vane by pedaling the bicycle.

This paper will summarize the construction and development, educational features, and future expansion plans of the display.

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