201 Teaching Atmospheric Dynamics Classes with Unidata Tools: Visualizations, Models, and Online Data

Tuesday, 8 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Dorothea Ivanova, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ

Visualizing Earth's atmosphere, its processes, and the evolution through time of its dynamics is a fundamental aspect of the meteorology education process. Engaging students in using research data to address scientific questions is an integral aspect of science education. It is a fundamental component of the learning enterprise in a way that: a) supports student inquiry and participation in the learning process, b) supports effective evaluation of data uncertainties and applicability, and c) improves students' quantitative and critical thinking skills. The goal of this study is to examine how meteorology students use, analyze, and understand real-time datasets and existing Unidata resources to explore scientific questions during the Advanced Atmospheric Dynamics I and II (WX 490 and WX491) courses for junior and senior undergraduate students in the Arizona campus of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and to engage them in using research data to understand better the nature of the atmospheric dynamics processes. Another objective is to significantly facilitate and present new opportunities to use 2-D and 3-D meteorology data such as modeling output, satellite images, cross-sections and time series of important atmospheric variables. For effective teaching, the course combines access to Unidata repositories with implementation of new educational technology in the meteorology classroom. The project makes use of data easier and more intuitive as an essential step in promoting discovery- and inquiry-based education and how it affects students' knowledge base, skills or attitude toward science and learning about meteorology. The Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) is linked to the Black Board course-pages, and current projects and assignments data are interactively displayed online, addressing the students' needs. Working with real research data teaches students how to describe and interpret complex graphical information. It helps them explore the significance of fluid dynamics and boundary layer problems, and atmospheric dynamics principles. Writing a course project paper helps writing skills and critical thinking. Students learn to use skills that help them understand how scientists analyze and present findings.
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