NSF Facilities and Funding for Educational Deployments

A subset of NSF's Lower Atmosphere Observing Facilities are available for educational purposes to college campuses across the continental United States every year. This funded NSF effort was designed to expose bright young college students in science and engineering to observational meteorology, without requiring faculty to design and propose a full-scale scientific field campaign.

The Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) as well as the Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR), and the University of Wyoming are in a unique position to provide hands-on training opportunities and exposure to several mobile surface, sounding and remote sensing instruments, at no cost to the educator.

Additional outreach activities involving demonstrations and lectures for the general public and K-12 can add to the overall experience, and raise the awareness of the need for high-quality measurements. Combined, these activities will convey the excitement and intrinsic value of observational research to a wider audience.

Contributing in this way is part of the EOL mission. The mechanisms EOL provides to support and inspire undergraduates and graduates, high school students, teachers, and faculty will ensure the field of atmospheric science remains vibrant well into the future.

Requesting Facilities for Educational Deployments

A portion of the NSF Deployment Pool is set aside every year to support short-term deployments of NSF's observing facilities to various colleges across the U.S. Educators wishing to gain access to these observational facilities for classroom instructions and hands-on learning experience are encouraged to submit a short proposal and facility request four to six months before the start of the intended activity. Proposal submission by students will also be accepted but require approval by a faculty advisor.

Educators must contact the relevant facility manager to discuss the proposed project, identify the appropriate time period and work on a feasibility and cost estimate. Learn more about how to submit a proposal requesting the use of an NSF facility for educational purposes.

Requestable Ground-based Remote Sensing Facilities:

  • NCAR High Spectral Resolution Lidar (HSRL)
  • CSWR Doppler on Wheels (DOW)
  • CSWR Rapid-Scan Doppler on Wheels (Rapid-Scan DOW)
  • CSWR Weather Pods
  • CSWR Mobile Mesonet

Requestable Surface and Sounding Systems:

  • NCAR Mobile Integrated Sounding System (MISS)
  • NCAR Integrated Surface Flux System (ISFS)

Requestable Research Aircraft:

  • University of Wyoming King Air (UWKA)* 
    *requestable with special consideration

Examples of how Facilities are integrated Into Educational Deployments

NCAR Integrated Surface Flux System (ISFS)

CABL: The “Characterizing the Atmospheric Boundary Layer” (CABL) educational deployment leveraged multiple outreach opportunities to provide scientific opportunities to high school, undergraduate, and graduate students in Colorado’s Front Range. Several EOL facilities were deployed as part of CABL, including 12 sonic anemometers and 6 temperature/relative humidity probes mounted on the Boulder Atmospheric Observatory (BAO), 40 mobile GPS Advanced Upper-­‐air Soundings (MGAUS), and the deployment of two Integrated Surface Flux stations, one at the BAO and in the vicinity of Erie High School.
» Read more about CABL

CWEX: The NCAR Earth Observing Laboratory deployed four surface flux stations from 22 June through 16 August 2011 in a utility-scale wind farm in central Iowa. Turbines in the wind farm have towers with hub height of 80 m, blades of length 37 m, and rated power of 1.5 MW. This deployment, a part of the 2011 Crop/Wind-energy EXperiment (CWEX-11), provided experiences and data that complemented a concurrent summer NSF Wind Energy Science, Engineering and Policy (WESE) Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site program at Iowa State University.
»  Read more about CWEX

NCAR Mobile Integrated Sounding System (MISS)

BaSE CaMP II: In the fall of 2012, Saint Cloud State University was visited by a Mobile Integrated Sounding System (MISS) provided by NCAR’s Earth Observing Laboratory. The deployment was termed Boundary Structure Experiments with Central Minnesota Profiling (BaSE CaMP). Within one week, the MISS was deployed to five different locations, was visited by forty-nine students, and collected datasets of features including a cold pool breakup, a subsidence inversion, a cold frontal passage, and a small graupel event. The first of these cases has been a subject of research by the PI and two students which was presented as a poster at the 2014 AMS Mountain Meteorology conference. 
 » Read more about BaSE CaMP II

University of Wyoming King Air (UWKA) Research Aircraft

SEAR-MAR: Four universities are partnering for a two-week educational deployment of the University of Wyoming King Air aircraft (UWKA) in early November 2017 that will serve as the stimulus for 175 undergraduate and graduate students to be immersed in the study of the atmosphere from an airborne platform. In particular, faculty and students from Millersville University (MU), Pennsylvania State University (PSU), Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (RU), and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) will use this valuable airborne observing system to study synoptic scale cold fronts and other atmospheric phenomena in the mid-Atlantic Appalachian Mountains, Piedmont, and Coastal Plain.
» Read more about SEAR-MAR

CSWR Doppler on Wheels (DOW)

WIUDOW: The Doppler on Wheels (DOW) was deployed to Western Illinois University (WIU) from September 16 to October 4, 2013, and was used as part of the PI’s GEOG 300: Principles of Meteorological Instrumentation course, which had an enrollment of 19 undergraduate Meteorology majors, ranging from Sophomores to Seniors. There were 9 field deployments to various sites in west-central Illinois. In addition to student projects in the weather instruments course, the DOW was also involved in 7 outreach events for the community and local schools.
» Read more about WIUDOW

CSWR Rapid-Scan Doppler on Wheels (Rapid-Scan DOW)

TOM: The Teaching flow Over Mountains (TOM) activity is a collaborative effort between the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science (ATOC) at the University of Colorado (CU) and the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences (MEAS) at North Carolina State University (NCSU). The instrument will be used in the CU undergraduate courses ATOC 1050 (Weather and the Atmosphere) and ATOC 4500 (Weather Analysis and Forecasting). The resulting data will be used in the aforementioned CU courses and the NCSU course MEA511 (Introduction to Meteorological Remote Sensing).
» Read more about TOM

CSWR Mobile Mesonet and Storm Pods

BASS: The primary objective of the Boundaries Across Severe Storms (BASS) Project was to expose undergraduate students to such state-­of-­the­‐art facilities as the CSWR mobile mesonet vehicle and tornado pods while sampling airmass characteristics across supercell thunderstorm gust fronts. Fifteen undergraduate students [1 engineering student from the State University of New York (SUNY) Environmental Science and Forestry college; the remainder were meteorology majors from SUNY Oswego, Brockport, Albany, and Penn State] were participants in the 2015 SUNY Oswego Storm Forecasting and Observation Program during which time they were trained by CSWR staff on how to operate these facilities and designed and carried out experiments.
» Read more about BASS