Session 2A.4 COMET’s influence on meteorological education and research within universities: The Saint Louis University experience

Monday, 1 August 2005: 11:15 AM
Empire Ballroom (Omni Shoreham Hotel Washington D.C.)
James T. Moore, Saint Louis University, St. Louis, MO; and C. E. Graves

Presentation PDF (113.0 kB)

Since its inception in 1989, the COMET program has developed numerous ways for students, educators, and operational meteorologists to upgrade their skills and keep abreast of rapid developments in the field. Saint Louis University (SLU) has been involved in COMET programs including residence courses, distance-learning education, and outreach programs that team university faculty with National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters. Like many universities, SLU has benefited from COMET's various programs through enhanced meteorological teaching aids, research grants, and invaluable collaborations with NWS forecasters. In kind, SLU has contributed to COMET's efforts by contributing subject-matter expertise on various mesoscale meteorological topics, teaching at residence courses, and service on COMET committees. This presentation will focus upon the various ways in which SLU and other universities have been involved with COMET and how this relationship has proven to be mutually beneficial.

Since 1991 SLU has been involved in six partners projects and two cooperative projects with NWS forecast offices, resulting in sixteen M.S. theses and five doctoral dissertations on topics ranging from forecasting fog, bow echoes, and heavy convective rainfall to understanding how tornadoes develop from landfalling hurricanes. Many of these graduates now work for the NWS, bringing their COMET research experience to the field. COMET-sponsored research at SLU has involved nearly a dozen NWS forecast offices, bringing faculty and students in contact with operational meteorologists, thereby facilitating technology transfer and new friendships. COMET's web-based educational materials at are used regularly as undergraduates earn credit for completing various modules, while graduate students receive in-depth training on numerical modeling, data assimilation, and ensemble forecasting. Residence courses at COMET designed for faculty help professors upgrade their understanding of new topics as they strive to keep current with developments in meteorology. COMET has also prepared GARP case studies for the synoptic laboratory that offer students the opportunity to investigate severe local storms and winter weather using a wide variety of data and numerical model forecasts. Also, expertise at COMET has been critical in preparing releases of the workstation Eta model and the Weather Event Simulator (WES) for use in the academic setting. In these ways and others COMET has revolutionized meteorological education in the United States and beyond, redefining the paradigm of how meteorologists continue their life-long learning beyond the classroom. Most importantly, these activities help to bridge the gap between the research and operational communities, making both better for the effort.

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