12th Symposium on Education


The Benefits of a Nine Year Partnership between the National Weather Service and Penn State University

Richard H. Grumm, NOAA/NWS, State College, PA; and P. Knight and J. Diercks

The National Weather Service Forecast Office (NWS) opened in State College in 1993. The office was collocated with several meteorologists from the Pennsylvania State University Department of Meteorology (PSU), about two blocks from the Meteorology Departmentís main offices. This collocation facilitated immediate collaboration and partnerships between the NWS and PSU. The university provided web connectivity to the NWS in late 1993. This fostered educational and forecast-based web pages by the winter of 1994.

Through a computer based learning course (METEO 418W) undergraduate students completed COMET modules and conducted studies using WSR-88D archive II data. Several of these studies were made available on the web. This effort, begun in 1995, has continued for the past seven years. It provides students an exposure to WSR-88D data, mentoring from an NWS employee, and a case study to learn from.

Several courses have been offered in the collocated space over the years including mesoscale meteorology, radar meteorology, and an independent studies course. More recently, using a designated joint research and teaching room, subject matters range from ensemble forecasting and mesoscale processes to longer range predictions and flash flood forecasts. Personnel from the NWS include the Science Operations Officer, the Warning Coordination Meteorologist, the Service Hydrologist, Lead Forecasters and the Hydrological Analysis and Support. Several different faculty members from the department of meteorology continue to be involved in this joint instruction.

The classroom, recently converted to a high-tech facility by PSU, is also used for NWS seasonal workshops. The guest speaker at each workshop is typically a subject matter expert from the PSU. Attendees typically include a mix of NWS, PSU, and local weather media.

More than several dozen undergraduate meteorology students have benefited from these sessions. These courses have afforded the opportunity to test current joint research efforts between the NWS and the PSU in areas of ensemble and significant weather event forecasting.

The presentation will show a sample of lessons from a variety of recent courses. Additionally, several of the student based radar studies will also be made available.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (164K)

Session 5, University Educational Initiatives: Continued
Tuesday, 11 February 2003, 3:30 PM-5:00 PM

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