April 5, 2018 to April 17, 2018
Project Location: 
Geneva, NY
Project Description: 
Geoscience Education and Outreach of Weather in New York using the DOW at Hobart & William Smith Colleges (GEO-WIND-HWS-III)

Principle Investigators: Neil Laird and Nicholas Metz
Where: Hobart & William Smith Colleges
When: 5 -17 April 2018
Facility: CSWR Doppler on Wheels
 

Introduction

Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) is requesting a 13-day (April 5-17, 2018) deployment of one dual-polarimetric Doppler-on-Wheels (DOW) radar, managed by the Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR), for the purposes of: 

a. Education: Nearly 70 students from three atmospheric science courses offered by Drs. Laird and Metz during the spring 2018 semester will have opportunities to gain first-hand knowledge of the DOW radar system through field work and exercises integrated into courses during the GEO-WIND-HWS-III project. Approximately 20-30 of these students will be Geoscience majors/minors enrolled in two advanced courses; Weather Measurements & Computing (GEO-265) and Weather Analysis & Forecasting (GEO-260). This subset of students will gain valuable experience with the planning, deployment, collection, and analysis of DOW measurements along with accompanying meteorological measurements from the HWS mobile sounding system. The remaining 40-45 students, enrolled in an Introduction to Meteorology course (GEO-182), will complete in-class exercises using DOW radar data and be encouraged to participate in DOW radar data collection and outreach activities.

b. Outreach: Several outreach events are planned both on the HWS campus, at a regional K-12 school, at a community library with Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) lab during a regional Maker Fest, and at a Rochester, NY television station. These events will provide students, as well as the general public an opportunity to tour the DOW facility and learn about severe weather systems, as well as weather research. We expect that these events collectively will allow 600-1,000 people to learn about and tour the DOW radar. Additionally, the HWS admissions and communications offices plan to publicize the on- and off-campus events and invite television and other media within the western and central New York region (Buffalo, Syracuse, Ithaca, and Rochester) to the various events.
We have included a preliminary calendar of the 13-day deployment for the GEO-WIND-HWS-III project to demonstrate the balanced schedule between education and outreach.

Project Goals and Expected Outcomes

The Department of Geoscience at HWS has a rich history of incorporating field labs and research into its student educational experience. For example, the location of HWS in the Finger Lakes region and near Lake Ontario provides unique opportunities for field-based pedagogy. With the recent growth of atmospheric science at HWS, we have acquired mobile sounding and mesonet facilities that are being utilized in conjunction with several different course offerings (e.g., Laird 2014) and been used in NSF-sponsored research projects (e.g., Kristovich et al. 2017). The use of the DOW in tandem with these other observational platforms, specifically the mobile sounding system, will allow students to better understand and appreciate the work connected to a meteorological field project. Drs. Laird and Metz have previously been involved with several meteorological field projects and have experience with performing radar analyses.

The deployment period in April 2018 will be ideal because students will have had several weeks prior to the arrival of the DOW radar to gain foundational knowledge in radar meteorology, mesoscale weather systems, and weather forecasting. Given the location of HWS within the Finger Lakes region of New York State and close proximity to the eastern Great Lakes (Ontario and Erie), we anticipate being able to collect DOW radar measurements during a variety of weather situations. Our specific focus will be on frontal passages; however, we also plan to deploy the DOW during other weather situations and clear-air conditions if necessary, such as observing non-meteorological targets (e.g., wind turbines and bird migration). We have identified several DOW deployment sites near the HWS campus (i.e., within 30-minute drive) that can be used during the GEO-WIND-HWS-III project (map provided in section 3). Several of these sites were used for DOW radar deployment during the NSF-supported Ontario Winter Lake-effect Systems (OWLeS) field project in the winter of 2013/2014 (Kristovich et al. 2017) and during two previous educational deployments by the DOW radar at HWS in 2013 and 2015.

Activities and measurements related to the DOW deployments will be incorporated into three HWS atmospheric science courses during spring 2018 and in future offerings of GEO-265.

GEO-265: Weather Measurements & Computing (12 students) 
One of the main topics in this course is radar meteorology. GEO-265 students will be largely responsible for operating the DOW and managing DOW deployment. This hands-on activity will bring to life main topics discussed in class, such as scanning strategies, dual-polarimetric radar parameters, and issues related to radar measurements and data quality. The radar will also be used to illustrate foundational concepts related to radar meteorology, such as the relationship between maximum unambiguous range, the Nyquist velocity and the PRF, velocity folding, bright band identification, ground clutter, and anomalous propagation. Additionally, GEO-265 students will gain experience working with collection and analysis of radar data through GEO-WIND-HWS-III operations and completing a case study using DOW radar measurements.

GEO-260: Weather Analysis (20-24 students)
A cornerstone of this course involves teaching students meteorological analysis techniques by focusing on the forecasting process. Students regularly make real-time forecasts and lead current weather discussions. While the DOW is deployed at HWS, students will work with Drs. Metz and Laird to provide the necessary forecasts to determine the potential for DOW operations each day. Thus, their forecasts will more closely align to the “real-world” as they will not just be forecasting for a grade, but rather for the specific outcome of DOW deployment. Following DOW operations, the observed conditions along with details of the DOW deployment will be reviewed and assessed to discuss the forecast quality. GEO-260 students interested in being part of the DOW deployments will also have an opportunity to work as student DOW radar operators.

GEO-182: Introduction to Meteorology (36-40 students)
This course not only serves as a survey course in meteorology, but has also historically been used to recruit students into the growing atmospheric science concentration in the Department of Geoscience. A large number of in-class exercises are utilized in this course to provide an active learning environment – primarily within the classroom because of the larger enrollment in this course. Consistent with this successful approach, Dr. Laird will use in-class exercises from our previous DOW project coupled with an overview and tour of the DOW facility. GEO-182 students interested in being part of the DOW radar deployments will also have an opportunity to be trained on DOW operations and work with other student DOW operators.