Meteorological Displays for a Cloud and Visibility Observatory

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Sunday, 4 January 2015
Megan Murat, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX; and A. Harte, D. Bosworth, B. Sullivan, S. Vaxter, E. Lewis, C. Rindfuss, D. Conlee, and S. L. Nasiri

When originally constructed in 1973, the Texas A&M Oceanography and Meteorology Building included a top floor panoramic view observatory. This space has had various functions over the years but has fallen into disuse. As part of the 2014 Summer SOAP (Student Operational ADRAD Project) undergraduate research program, Texas A&M meteorology students have taken the initiative to introduce technology into the observatory for present and future students to enhance meteorological education. Early work incorporated researching cost efficient technologies to provide radar, satellite, and directional live video cloud loop displays. Miniature computers were tested with different operating systems including Linux, Microsoft Windows, and Android for seamless displays of loops conducive for observation and analysis. The final configuration consisted of four stations, each comprised of a three high-definition monitor display using a limited user interface. The system also aids the observer in determining directional visibility using annotated panoramic imagery. The completed Cloud and Visibility Observatory allows students to make the connection between what modern technologies describe and what their own eyes observe.