6.2 The Storm Prediction Center in the University of Oklahoma Classroom: Applications of Meteorological Theory to Severe-Thunderstorm Forecasting

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 4:00 PM
Room 353 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Ariel E. Cohen, NOAA/NWS/NCEP/Storm Prediction Center, Norman, OK; and S. M. Cavallo

As a collaborative initiative between the NOAA Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, Oklahoma and the University of Oklahoma (OU) School of Meteorology, Ariel Cohen, (SPC mesoscale assistant/fire weather forecaster and OU meteorology Ph.D. candidate), and his advisor, Dr. Steven Cavallo (OU assistant professor of meteorology) created and taught the first-ever letter-graded, graduate-level course focused on operational meteorology offered by the OU School of Meteorology, during spring semester of 2015. The title of this course was “Applications of Meteorological Theory to Severe-Thunderstorm Forecasting.” Over a dozen meteorologists from the SPC, along with other meteorologists from the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) and the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Tulsa, Oklahoma provided lectures on their areas of expertise. Following introductory material, which covered many theoretical principles including equation derivations relevant to operational meteorology, more than a dozen forecasters and managers presented information about their areas of expertise. Topics included the following: storm-induced perturbation pressure gradients and their enhancement to rotating updrafts, supercells and tornadogenesis, mesoscale convective system motion, tropical cyclone tornadoes, surface and upper-air analyses and their interpretation, and forecast decision-making. This collaborative effort strengthened the bridge between research, operations, and education, exposing OU meteorology students to the vast array of severe-thunderstorm forecast challenges, our state-of-the-art operational and research tools, communication of high-impact weather information, and teamwork skills. Students interacted directly with experienced forecasters and researchers, participated in hands-on forecasting exercises, and presented map discussions with the guidance of SPC forecasters. Such experiences, which fostered stronger relationships between the OU School of Meteorology and the SPC, and their impact on the students' appreciation of the intricacies of severe-thunderstorm forecasting, will be detailed in the presentation.
- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner