METEO 416 Gadomski SP2015

Advanced Forecasting PracticumInstructor: Fred Gadomski, 606a Walker, 863-4229, fxg1@psu.eduOffice Hours: By appointmentWhen/Where: Mon & Wed 8:00-9:55 am, 607 Walker

Meteorology 416:  Advanced Forecasting Practicum

Spring  2015

Course Description:

Competitive, simulated, operational, real-time forecasting focusing on the techniques of prediction and issues of verification of both short-term forecasts of mesoscale weather phenomena and medium-range synoptic scale patterns

Instructor: Fred Gadomski, 606a Walker, 863-4229, fxg1@psu.edu

Office Hours: By appointment

When/Where: Mon & Wed. 8:00-9:55 am, 607 Walker

Text / Web:

There is no text for this course.  The coursework and forecasts will be managed via Angel and the METEO 416 web sitehttp:/www.meteo.psu.edu/~fcstmgr/

Course Philosophy:

The goal of this course is to provide multiple learning opportunities in forecasting both short-term mesoscale and medium-range synoptic-scale weather-phenomena, to become familiar with tools that help refine these predictions, and to discover the formidable challenges of verifying mesoscale forecasts.  Because this course will use real-time data which are unlike  the classic lab exercise, it is important to have opportunities to maximize the “learning by doing” experience.  With this in mind, forecasting will include probabilistic  “Zone” forecasts mainly on Mondays  and “Threat” forecasts mainly Wednesdays. On Tuesdays, there will be a continuing homework assignment in the form of a medium-range forecasting contest designed to practice identifying major weather hazards in the 7-21 day time frame.

Class Breakdown:
Mondays

Most Monday classes will have a quiz and  the verification of the Threat forecast from the previous Wednesday (done by the instructor).  Then, the forecasting part of the class begins with a map discussion where participation is encouraged and is part of the course grade. This will be followed by individual forecast time that may be interrupted briefly for updates on verification criteria. All forecasts must be submitted by 9:55 am. At the instructors discretion, there will be a 5% penalty for every minute of all late submissions.

Wednesdays

Wednesday classes will begin with the post-mortem/verification of the Monday Zone forecast by that week’s verification team.  The team must submit the verification to the instructor by 7:30 am that day.  Then, there will be a graded map discussion, a description of the day’s threat forecast assignment, and completion of the day’s threat forecast.  Forecasts must be submitted by 9:55 am, and there will be a 5% penalty for every minute of all late submissions.

Assessment Tools / Grading.  The grades will be determined in the following manner:

Forecasting Contests: 50%

  • BEFORE SPRING BREAK
    • (10%) Contest 1a:  Probabilistic Zone Forecasts – 6 forecasting days
    • (5%) Contest 1b: Threat Forecasts – 6 forecasting days
  • AFTER SPRING BREAK
    • (15%)    Contest 2a:  Probabilistic Zone Forecasts – 7 forecasting days
    • (10%)    Contest 2b:  Threat Forecasts – 7 forecasting days 
  • BOTH BEFORE AND AFTER SPRING BREAK
    • (10%) Medium-Range Weather Hazard Forecasts – 12 forecasting days
  • In-Class Map Discussions, General Participation: (10%)
    Students will be encouraged to contribute to discussions concerning that day's (or the recent) weather patterns.  The instructor will also choose  and question students randomly during the discussions.
  • Post Mortems (Verifications): (20%)
    Each week, a Zone “verification team” will be in charge of leading a map discussion (10 minutes) on Monday, then leading a class discussion and verification of the Zone forecast on Wednesday (20-30 minutes).  The Wednesday presentation should include verifications (with sources), a thorough analysis of the mesoscale features involved (using at least four “tools” – satellite, radar, surface maps, etc), and a one-page typed summation of the event along with any relevant charts, guidance and documents.  Each student will participate in four of these post-mortems.
  • Quizzes (COMET Modules, Journal Articles):  (20%)
    You will complete several on-line modules, read several technical papers and will be quizzed on most Mondays to assess your understanding of the material.

Lectures and Modules:

This is not a formal lecture course. Real-time discussions of the weather will form the basis for exploring topics.  COMET modules and journal papers will supplement the in-class discussions

  • Module/Paper/Lecture Topics (Tentative Schedule)

Week of / Topic

  • Jan 12 / Course Overview/Contest Mechanics – Modules 1
  • Jan 19 / No Monday/Quiz /THREATcast - Modules 2
  • Jan 26 / Quiz/ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 3
  • Feb 2 / ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 4
  • Feb 9 / Quiz, ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 5
  • Feb 16 / Quiz, ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 6
  • Feb 23 / Quiz, ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 7
  • Mar 2 / Quiz, ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 8
  • Spring Break
  • Mar 16 / Quiz, ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 9
  • Mar 23 / Quiz, ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 10
  • Mar 30 / Quiz, ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 11
  • Apr 6 / Quiz, ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 12
  • Apr 13 / Quiz, ZONEcast/MRcast/THREATcast - Modules 13
  • Apr 20 / Quiz, ZONEcast/THREATcast - Modules 14
  • Apr 27 / Quiz, ZONEcast - Modules 15

Accommodations for students with disabilities:

 

The Office of Disability Services at http://equity.psu.edu/ods/ requests and maintains disability-related documents; certifies eligibility for services; determines academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services; and develops plans for the provision of academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services as mandated under Title II of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  A list of these ADA List of Services is provided at http://equity.psu.edu/ods/current-students.

Academic integrity:

For information about the EMS Integrity Policy, which this course adopts, see:
http://www.ems.psu.edu/current_undergrad_students/academics/integrity_policy

Here’s a brief interpretation of that integrity policy, as it applies specifically to this course:  You may never copy answers from another person and present them as your own.  This applies to quizzes, exams, and problem sets.  You are allowed to discuss the problem sets with other students, but the work you turn in must be your own, in your own words.  Suspicion of copying on problem sets will result in an immediate 50% reduction for the first offense, and an F for the course on the second offense.  Cheating on exams or quizzes will result in an immediate F for the course.

Accommodations for students with disabilities:

The Office of Disability Services at http://equity.psu.edu/ods/ requests and maintains disability-related documents; certifies eligibility for services; determines academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services; and develops plans for the provision of academic adjustments, auxiliary aids, and/or services as mandated under Title II of the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) of 2008 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  A list of these ADA List of Services is provided at http://equity.psu.edu/ods/current-students.

Cancellations and delays. 

Campus emergencies, including weather delays, are announced on Penn State Live at http://live.psu.edu/ and communicated to cellphones, email, the Penn State Facebook page, and Twitter via PSUTXT sign up at http://live.psu.edu/psutxt .

Prerequisites. Meteo 414, Meteo 415
Enrollment policy. 

Students who do not meet the prerequisites may be dis-enrolled during the first 10-day free add-drop period after being informed in writing by the instructor (see: PSU Enrollment Policy at http://www.psu.edu/dept/oue/aappm/C-5.html).  If you have not completed the listed prerequisites, then consult with the instructor.  Students who re-enroll after being dis-enrolled according to this policy are in violation of the Student Code of Conduct (http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/conduct/codeofconduct/).

Course Objectives:

  1. Students can demonstrate the ability to produce short-term forecasts of a variety of weather variables for atmospheric systems that occur throughout the year
  2. Students can demonstrate the ability to use real-time observations and numerical weather predictions to guide the creation of timely short-term probabilistic and threat weather forecasts at a variety of locations
  3. Students can demonstrate the ability to add value to medium-range global numerical model forecasts by identifying important weather hazards with lead-times of 7-21 days

 Course Outcomes:

  1. Students can demonstrate the ability to lead discussions and verifications of mesoscale forecasts using satellite, radar, and surface observations
  2. Students can demonstrate a knowledge of a variety of forecast verification tools and measures of forecast skill
  3. Students can demonstrate the ability to use knowledge of synoptic climatology, teleconnections and medium-range NWP guidance to identify potential weather hazards with lead-lead times up to three weeks.
  4. Students can demonstrate the ability to create and disseminate a useful real-time mesoscale weather prediction under time constraints, based on current observations and numerical forecasts of the atmosphere
  5. Students can demonstrate discernment among a wide variety of data sources and evaluate their applicability to the forecast problem

Document Actions