An updated studentódeveloped weather data resource

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Monday, 18 January 2010
Joe S. Young, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK; and K. H. Goebbert, T. A. Supinie, and M. J. Laufersweiler

The Hoot development lab, part of the student led and run Oklahoma Weather Lab (OWL), has recently updated their web site to increase availability, accessibility, and expandability of their data and products. The Hoot project was initially created to provide members with experience developing meteorological resources, and to give OWL forecasters specifically requested weather data and products. Recently, the Hoot project has become increasingly popular in the meteorological community, in large part due to an enhanced web presence. During the 2007/08 academic year, students migrated the website from HTML to PHP/JavaScript based services. Using template and request techniques, the hundreds of HTML web pages on the original Hoot site were condensed into approximately ten PHP documents.

In addition, the site has been able to increase the complexity of the products offered on the website by placing the burden of data sorting on servers instead of users. These changes have enabled the site to provide detailed Oklahoma Mesonet products, thousands of NWS text products, worldwide soundings, and numerous model and radar products. The site also implemented a complex JavaScript looping system and keyboard commands, which has made visualization of weather data substantially easier via the website. In the year and a half since implementation, it has been found that moving from HTML to PHP has greatly increased the ability of the Hoot team to create and distribute new products, simplify data visualization, ease maintenance procedures, and fix problems that arise.

The Hoot site (http://hoot.ou.edu) has become a more comprehensive, advanced, and useful resource for the weather community as a result of the student-based developments. In the future, the Hoot project will continue to expand the products offered on their website and the way in which they are presented. Examples of some the changes to occur: a) localized WRF model, b) increased personalization of services, c) formatting for the mobile platform. These new products and services are already in development and preliminary results of these efforts also will be presented.