Penn State Live
February 16, 2011
by Kimberly Del Bright
Forty-three undergraduate meteorology students from the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences attended the annual American Meteorological Society (AMS) conference in Seattle, Wash., in the last week of January. This was the largest group of student attendees from Penn State and represented 1 percent of the overall attendees at the conference. Students are members of the Penn State Branch of the AMS (PSUBAMS), Campus Weather Service, and the meteorology honors society.
The theme of the meeting was “Communicating Weather and Climate.” At the students‘ recent meeting at University Park, they discussed the many lessons they learned. Secretary of the honors society, Chris Slocum said, “I discovered that it’s important to consider the end-user when communicating scientifically correct forecasts, and also how difficult this can be when forecasts are more uncertain.” He was also surprised to learn how meteorological data informs US intelligence agencies on piracy threats.
Burkely Twiest was surprised to learn that Weather is the most popular Mobile App, but on average people spend only 30 seconds on it. “The whole job of communicating science with the public has to be done quickly,” she said. “You have to (provide the news) in a context they understand.”
Ryan Leddy learned that “trust and responsibility are key to effective climate communication.”