196 Teaching Data Assimilation to Undergraduates at the University of Georgia

Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
John A. Knox, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA

Handout (374.1 kB)

Data assimilation is regarded as one of the "grand challenge" problems of atmospheric science. However, a lack of scientists with the knowledge and skills required for data assimilation research has been cited as a bottleneck that hinders progress in this specialty. Nevertheless, most discussions of data assimilation education focus either on graduate-level atmospheric scientists or scientists in other fields. This is true at a time when the number of undergraduate degree recipients in atmospheric science has never been higher, and amid anecdotal reports of rising unemployment/underemployment of young meteorologists. If more undergraduates in atmospheric science knew more about data assimilation, this could be a win-win situation for the data assimilation community and the pool of new B.S. recipients.

To meet these multiple needs, I have developed an "Introduction to Data Assimilation" course at the University of Georgia that is tailored to upper-level undergraduates in atmospheric science and related sciences. In this presentation, I outline the motivations for this course, discuss the novel curricular and extracurricular innovations that help make the concept of data assimilation appealing to undergraduates, and preview a new computer-based laboratory component using software from the Data Assimilation Research Testbed.

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