4.2 About the use of Weather-Bug Achieve in entry level research undergraduate experience projects: Combining weather, physiology, engineering, and mathematics

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 11:15 AM
Room 13AB (Austin Convention Center)
David Quesada, St. Thomas Univ., Miami Gardens, FL; and V. Iglesias, H. Castro, A. Perez, and H. Rodriguez-Gallo

Handout (5.7 MB)

The increasing interest in engaging new generations in STEM tracks has incentivized the debate about methods of delivery of Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Earth Sciences. Within the context of Meteorology, AMS has promoted Online Weather and Ocean Studies for several years, and recently Climate Studies. On the other hand, the GLOBE program operating across the world is increasing the awareness of K-12 students about the weather and climate. In parallel to these approaches, Weatherbug network, and now on Earth-networks has grown enough within the United States, to the point that it constitutes the largest network of automated weather stations across the nation, surpassing the 8000 operational units distributed in educational institutions, business and private sector. The traditional use of collected weather data has contributed significantly during emergency management efforts as well as helped National Weather Service meteorologists to improve local forecasts and to estimate the damages from rapidly developing weather events. Along this line, Weatherbug's educational side, known as Weatherbug Achieve provides an excellent platform to access weather data produced by the entire network, import it into programs like Excel or Origin, and create entry level projects of interdisciplinary nature that may increase the awareness and interest for Science within students. Different numerical weather prediction tools are operational nowadays (Advanced Weather Research and Forecast + Chemistry WRF – Chem, and Community Model for Air Quality CMAQ); where most of them solve complicated systems of non-linear partial differential equations describing the conditions of the atmosphere as well as the reaction kinetics of dissolved into the air chemicals. Despite of the high accuracy of these models, it would be very instructional to beginners to formulate similar conditions but appealing to simple “holistic” mathematical models. Additionally and motivated by the increasing levels of urbanization seen since the second half of the Twentieth Century, which represents a challenge for health professionals as well as for the urban environmental protection in this communication, different projects combining information about the weather, health statistics, environmental engineering, and mathematics were prepared for students majoring in Applied Mathematics, also participating in the Summer Research Undergraduate Experience (SRUE): Analysis of the impact of air patterns on air quality: Wind Roses and Polar Coordinates, Modeling CO2 dynamics using ordinary differential equations: Comparing compartment models with competing Lotka-Volterra model, Modeling ENSO with delayed differential equations and stochastic term, Modeling temperature evolution within a single residence house: Newton cooling versus Stefan-Boltzmann Radiative cooling. In all cases, students were introduced to techniques of numerical computations by using Mathematica 8.0 software provided by Wolfram Research, and Origin Pro 8.0 by Origin Labs.
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