April 5, 2018 to April 16, 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


The Doppler on Wheels (DOW) deployed to Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) from 5 April to 16 April 2018. The objectives of the visit were to (1) allow students to gain experience in field collection of weather radar data, (2) enhance student knowledge and understanding of conventional and dual-polarization weather radars, (3) introduce real-time forecasting activities as part of determining DOW radar project deployment timing and location, and (4) conduct several outreach events to provide the college community (i.e., students, staff, and faculty) and the general public across central New York opportunities to tour the DOW facility and learn about weather research.


The GEO-WIND-HWS-III project focused on observing high-impact weather systems in the central New York/Finger Lakes region. In particular, the DOW radar collected data during weather events, such as mixed-phase precipitation, and frontal passage. Students not only gained valuable experience in the field collection of data, but also honed their real-time forecasting, communication, and presentation skills.

Figure 1: Region for potential DOW deployment during the GEO–WIND– HWS project. The blue marker indicates the location of HWS.

Students in GEO 260 Weather Analysis and GEO 265 Weather Measurements and Computing played a significant role in the GEO-WIND-HWS-III project. GEO 260 is an intermediate-level course taken by students during a semester following their completion of our introductory meteorology course. GEO 265 is an advanced course taken by students further along in atmospheric science curriculum. GEO 260 contains a component that focuses on forecasting, while GEO 265 spends multiple weeks discussing radar meteorology. Thus in preparation for the GEO-WIND-HWS-III project, students in GEO 260 conducted weather briefings to help build skills that could be used during the project. Students in GEO 265 were well versed in radar meteorology by the time the DOW arrived. Thus, the GEO 265 students often were able to take the lead in devising scanning strategies while the DOW was in the field. When possible, a student from GEO 265 was deployed with the DOW in order to help mentor other students who were not as versed in specifics of radar meteorology.

Students in both classes were asked to participate in the various outreach activities held during GEO-WIND-HWS-III. As a part of these activities, students utilized large 6’ x 3’ vinyl posters that were created during GEO-WIND-HWS-I. These thirteen posters described different aspects associated with radar meteorology and severe weather. A sampling of these posters is shown in the appendix of this report. At each outreach event, a number of the posters were set up and in conjunction with the DOW itself and served as a springboard for discussion on radar meteorology and severe weather systems. The Office of Communication at HWS also posted an article about the visit of the DOW radar to HWS for the education and outreach project. (http://www2.hws.edu/hws-welcomes-back-doppler-on-wheels/).

In addition, students in GEO 182 Intro to Meteorology utilized DOW radar data in classroom exercises. This class of 36 students also took a complete tour of the mobile weather radar and were invited to participate in deployments if space was available. Several students in GEO 182 also were individually trained in the operational procedures of the DOW radar.

Students who participated in both meteorological and outreach deployments predominately came from the two upper level classes (GEO 260 and GEO 265). In total, the pool of students who were trained for deployment numbered between 20 and 25. Each of these students were given the opportunity to sign up to participate in both operational and outreach deployments. An additional 36 students gained experience with the DOW radar through the introductory classroom work and tour in GEO 182. In order to add to the data collecting experience, students collected hand measurements of meteorological data in at least one deployment.