Dynamic Weather Forecaster

A weather forecasting exercise that automatically grades by collecting 24-hour weather data from Unidata

The Dynamic Weather Forecaster is a forecasting exercise created by meteorology faculty at Iowa State with technical implementation by Pete Boysen. It allows students to submit professional-level forecasts that are automatically graded by connecting to the weather data stream that comes to Iowa State from Unidata. Unidata is a branch of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research that has been tasked with providing real time weather data to meteorology programs around the world.  

The tool has been used in classes at ISU since the late 1990s and by students in other schools, including St Cloud State and San Francisco State Universities. Its pedagogical use has been demonstrated in several peer-reviewed publications.  With Pete's upcoming retirement, there is an urgent need to move the activity to a platform that will continue to be supported by technical staff at ISU.  Pete has urged that the activity be moved into ThinkSpace where it should work well.  The first step would be to port the activity as it now stands into ThinkSpace.  Next, the activity can be expanded and made more flexible based on valuable user feedback that we have received in the past few years.  The proposed changes would enhance the activity and make it more relevant in an age where sources of weather forecasts via the internet have become more abundant but not necessarily more scientifically sound.  For students to learn about processes important in forecasting the weather will give them a better understanding as well of processes influencing global climate change.  The Dynamic Weather Forecaster is uniquely designed to provide this valuable learning experience.  Each year, roughly 400 ISU students would be using this activity.

10/28/14 Update: Funding identified by LAS College for further development.  Anticipated delivery Fall 2015.

Supporting Webpages and Documents:

Proposed by: Cinzia Cervato
Created: 27 May 2014
Last Updated: 28 Oct 2014
In Pilot
Funding Path:
Yes - Other / Departmental
LAS College funds
Likes: 69 ( like )
Volunteers: 3 ( volunteer )
Followers: 14 ( follow )
Share: http://www.techstarter.iastate.edu/31


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0 Lars-Jacob Larsen 28 Oct 2014

Funding identified by LAS College for further development. Anticipated delivery Fall 2015.

0 Paul Castleberry 28 May 2014

I have taught an introductory meteorology course for Suquehanna University (Fall 2001), Unversity of Northern Iowa (Spring 2002) and Simpson College (2007 to the present) and the weather forecasting exercise is a critical component and center piece of the course. Without the use of the daily weather forecasting exercise, concepts such as Radiation, Stability, Cyclogenesis, etc. would be words on a page to most non-major students. With end of the term evaluations students have raved (positively) about the forecasting exercise and how it made real-world connections to the concepts presented in the text and lectures. I also have a colleague, Seth Loyd who currently uses the weather forecasting exercise for his course at DMACC.....Dave Dempsey at San Francisco State University has used the weather forecasting exercise as well. As I peruse ClassNet, which hosts the Weather Forecasting Exercise I see Universities like UNI, Univ of Ga and many others that have used this exercise as well. I am glad to hear that the weather forecasting exercise will be ported to another server but am hoping that it is done between semesters so as to not impact courses such as mine that are using it for the Summer 2014 session....I also plan to use it for upcoming terms in Fall 2014 and 2015. I also encourage you to keep the PALs server up as well or if not possible, transfer it to another server as well since I also use the simulations (RadSim and MtnSim) in my course. The research and development of the Weather Forecasting exercise along with the Simulations that Pete Boysen, Mark Van Gorp, Doug Yarger and Leslie Pease did with these exercises is very well appreciated by students and faculty alike

0 Russell Mullen 28 May 2014

I think this forecasting exercise would be a good instructional opportunity to integrate and apply active learning activities for students in a large enrollment class.

0 S. Taylor 28 May 2014

During the 4 years I taught AGRON/MTEOR 206 more than 200 students expressed (in their own words) that the forecast exercise is the difference between learning about meteorology and actually learning meteorology.

0 Ethan Dahlhauser 28 May 2014

As a former student in Agron 206, I think that this would be a great opportunity for future students.

0 Susana Goggi 28 May 2014

This activity is essential for student development and learning.

0 Michael Burkart 28 May 2014

This tool is an innovative opportunity for ISU student participation as well as improving the scientific basis for weather forecasting. It is activities like this that give evidence of Iowa State's leadership among other institutions in field important to scientists and the general public. Michael Burkart GEAT

0 Brian Hornbuckle 28 May 2014

I teach AGRON/MTEOR 206 in the fall semester. We don't currently use this activity, but we have been invited to participate in the potential re-design and will strongly consider including the new activity in our course. In that case, add 300 students to Cinzia's estimate of 400.

0 William Gutowski 27 May 2014

This is an excellent opportunity to have a large science class engage in "Science with Practice".