METEO 481 - Weather Communications 1

Instructors:Fred Gadomski ( Syrett ( Ferger ( Ban (

Meteo 481 - Weather Communications 1

Fall 2016

Weather Communications I (Meteo 481) [3 credits]
Tues & Thurs 10:35-11:50 (126 Walker) [Weather Station]


  • Fred Gadomski (
  • Bill Syrett (
  • Marisa Ferger (
  • Ray Ban (

Topic Schedule:

  • Week 1: Aug 22 (2) Introduction and Forecasting
  • Week 2: Aug 29 (2) Forecasting
  • Week 3: Sept 5 (2) Forecasting
  • Week 4: Sept 12 (2) Broadcasting
  • Week 5: Sept 19 (2) Broadcasting
  • Week 6: Sept 26 (2) Media Business
  • Week 7: Oct 3 (2) Strategic Marketing/U.S. Weather Enterprise
  • Week 8: Oct 10 (2) Industrial
  • Week 9: Oct 17 (2) Industrial
  • Week 10: Oct 24 (2) Successful Broadcasting
  • Week 11: Oct 31 (2) Developing a Brand
  • Week 12: Nov 7 (2) Science Writing
  • Week 13: Nov 14 (2) Science Writing
  • Nov 21 Thanksgiving Break
  • Week 14: Nov 28 (2) Climatology /Forensics
  • Week 15: Dec 5 (2) Climatology /Forensics

Course Description:

This professional elective course is offered each fall semester and is a required part of the Weather Communications option. This first course serves as a survey of the field of weather communications while covering diverse topics that include the basic principles of weather forecasting, television and radio broadcasting, science writing, climate studies and forensics and applied forecasting techniques. There are five instructors, each leading a several week session on topics of their expertise. A variety of hands-on learning experiences are planned, including studio time and relevant projects. Successful completion (a C or better) of Weather Comm I is a requirement for Weather Comm II (Meteo 482). Course Protocol:

Each instructor (or team of instructors) will distribute their mini-course syllabus at the start of their session and will post relevant material on the class ANGEL web site. All questions regarding material in each section should be directed to the appropriate session instructor.

Grading Criteria:

All of the following factors will be incorporated into your grade for this class:

Class Attendance:

missed and late arrival to classes will be noted and penalized - attendance sheets will be circulated within the first 5 minutes of each class. Assignments - no late assignments in any session!

Each Tuesday starting the second week of the semester, you are required to pick up a copy of the New York Times and bring the Science Times section to class. There will be an assessment of your reading at the start of Thursday's class. You can access the NYTimes on-line by going to this web site: passes allow complimentary, full digital access to The New York Times* for 24 hours and are a new benefit of Penn State University’s Student Newspaper Readership Program. Each time you claim a pass, you will have full digital access to The New York Times on your computer and smartphone. It’s easy to pick-up the daily digital version of The New York Times! Visit:

Create an account with your Penn State email address.

For Penn State students only: Simply register with your Penn State email address and create your user password to claim a daily Academic Pass and receive access

Daily print copies of The New York Times are available to students at no charge with their student id card at over 60 locations at the University Park campus as part of The Penn State Student Newspaper Readership Program. The papers are available at the HUB, bus stops, dining halls, East Residence Halls and various academic buildings, including Walker Bldg.

Participation - you are expected to contribute to discussions As much as 15% of your semester grade will count toward your participation. Distractions such as 'unlocking' a locked computer, using the internet for non-class related material or use of cell phones in class will be logged and may result in more than a letter reduction in your final grade.

Performance - there will be quizzes and homework Academic Integrity - see the E&MS web page College

Academic Integrity web site:

Mid-semester assessment: Just after week 8, we will send those who are doing rather poorly and very well (by e-mail) an assessment of your work in Wx Comm I (remember, though, that only the section relating to forecasting and science writing will have been completed by this time). If you do not receive an e-mail, then your grade has been assessed between an Aand a C+

Final Exam: There will be a comprehensive final exam for this class during final exam week. The final grade will be determined by a consensus of the instructors based on the criteria above. There will not be any weighting based on length of the individual sessions.

Recommendations: All of the class is strongly encouraged (just shy of required) to participate in the College’s Poster Exhibition Contest: If you finish in either 1st, 2nd or 3rd place – you will be exempt from the final exam (receiving an A). In Wx Comm II (Meteo 482), e-portfolios are required; therefore we encourage you to become acquainted with their design (even consider enrolling in .

If you are truly interested in a career in broadcast meteorology, we suggest that you shadow the Weather or Not team (Wednesday evenings). There will be an opportunity to audition for Weather or Not this semester (during late Sept) as we expect two openings starting in the spring 2016 semester. We also strongly recommend that you plan for your summer 2016 internship during this semester.

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Office for Disability Services (ODS) Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus: For further information, please visit the site: http.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, documentation: http. If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.

Residence Instruction: Campus emergencies, including weather delays, are announced on Penn State News: http:/ and communicated to cellphones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUAlert (Sign up at:

Program Objectives

Program Objectives are statements that describe the expected accomplishments of graduates during the first few years after graduation 1. To produce graduates who possess quantitative, scientific reasoning skills that can be applied to atmospheric problems. 2. To produce graduates who have a general knowledge of a range of atmospheric phenomena and applications, and have expertise in one or more program subdisciplines or related interdisciplinary areas 3. To produce graduates who are equipped to contribute to solving problems in the atmospheric sciences and related disciplines, through service in business or as educators, researchers, and leaders in academia, government, the private sector, and civil society.

Program Outcomes

Statements that describe what students are expected to know and are able to do by the time of graduation. These relate to the skills, knowledge and behaviors that students acquire in their matriculation through the program.

  1. Graduates can demonstrate skills for interpreting and applying atmospheric observations
  2. Graduates can demonstrate knowledge of the atmosphere and its evolution
  3. Graduates can demonstrate knowledge of the role of water in the atmosphere
  4. Graduates can demonstrate facility with computer applications to atmospheric problems
  5. Graduates can demonstrate skills for communicating their technical knowledge

Objectives for Meteo 481:

  1. Students can demonstrate knowledge of effective approaches for communicating accurate information about the weather, both via speaking and writing (relate to program objectives 1, 2, and 3)

Outcomes for Meteo 481:

  1. Students can demonstrate knowledge of the basic principles for creating weather forecasts (relate to program outcomes a, b, and c)
  2. Students can demonstrate the ability to present a weather forecast in both radio and television broadcasting formats (relate to program outcomes a, b, c, and e)
  3. Students can demonstrate the ability to write for a general audience a scientifically accurate summary of an atmospheric topic (relate to program outcomes b and e)
  4. Students can demonstrate knowledge of the role that climatology plays in forensics (relate to program outcomes a, b, c and e)
  5. Students can demonstrate knowledge of the relationship between the atmosphere and the environment (relate to program outcomes c and e)


Students in this class are expected to write up their problem sets individually, to work the exams on their own, and to write their papers in their own words using proper citations. Class members may work on the problem sets in groups, but then each student must write up the answers separately. Students are not to copy problem or exam answers from another person's paper and present them as their own; students may not plagiarize text from papers or websites written by others. Students who present other people's work as their own will receive at least a 0 on the assignment and may well receive an F or XF in the course. Please see: Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Policy:, which this course adopts.


This course abides by the Penn State Class Attendance Policy 42-27:, Attendance Policy E-11:, and Conflict Exam Policy 44-35: Please also see Illness Verification Policy:, and Religious Observance Policy: Students who miss class for legitimate reasons will be given a reasonable opportunity to make up missed work, including exams and quizzes. Students are not required to secure the signature of medical personnel in the case of illness or injury and should use their best judgment on whether they are well enough to attend class or not; the University Health Center will not provide medical verification for minor illnesses or injuries. Other legitimate reasons for missing class include religious observance, family emergencies, and regularly scheduled university-approved curricular or extracurricular activities. Students who encounter serious family, health, or personal situations that result in extended absences should contact the Office of Student and Family Services for help: Whenever possible, students participating in University-approved activities should submit to the instructor a Class Absence Form available from the Registrar's Office:, at least one week prior to the activity.