Posts tagged ‘meteorology’

Barry Myers Tabbed to Lead NOAA

President Trump has nominated a Penn State alumnus to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Barry Myers ’67 Lib, CEO of State College-based AccuWeather, was tabbed by Trump on Wednesday to lead NOAA, the agency that oversees the National Weather Service, conducts weather and climate research, and monitors U.S. coast lines. His pick is a departure from previous NOAA nominees, who tend to come from scientific backgrounds, but in keeping with Trump’s preference for candidates from the business world.

Myers’ nomination is controversial to some: As The Washington Post reports, his role as head of a private business that uses National Weather Service data has inspired conflict of interest concerns, both among ex-NOAA staffers and the NWS employee union, which released a statement arguing that Myers would “be in a position to fundamentally alter the nature of weather services that NOAA provides the nation, to the benefit of his family-owned business.”

The nomination was greeted more warmly by the Weather Coalition, an advocacy group of which both AccuWeather and the Penn State Department of Meteorology are members. A Weather Coalition spokesman said Myers “brings a strong track record in growing one of the most successful companies in the weather industry.”

Ryan Jones, deputy editor


October 12, 2017 at 11:08 am 1 comment

The Windiest Place in America

Our May/June issue featured a short profile on Tom Padham ’12, a meteorologist who is stationed at the Mount Washington Observatory in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. The weather on the mountains is famously unforgiving, as meteorologists have detected wind gusts exceeding 230 miles per hour.

While this video doesn’t feature winds quite that fast, it does show Padham and one of his colleagues going out into gusts of wind that topped out at 109 mph. The two showed how powerful the gusts were by doing things like jumping in the air and trying to walk into the wind.

As Padham said in our story, “These are weather conditions you’d associate with a 15,000- or 20,000-foot mountain—not so much a 6,000-foot mountain.”

(h/t NPR)

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

May 24, 2016 at 10:54 am Leave a comment

A Crash Course in Climate Science

WGAL chief meteorologist Joe Calhoun learned more about the science behind climate change at Friday's workshop.

As the chief meteorologist for WGAL-TV in Lancaster, Pa., Joe Calhoun ’81 is concerned about the short term. Like most TV meteorologists, he has stories about viewers calling to ask whether it’s going to rain later that day and if they should cancel their picnic, or graduation, or whatever. He knows his viewers have bigger questions, too, about climate change, but he wasn’t always sure how to handle them. He’s been out of the classroom for a long time, and he wasn’t up on the latest science.

And that’s why he was part of a committee that helped to develop a one-day workshop in which Penn State’s top climate researchers gathered with about a dozen of the state’s television meteorologists to discuss the science of climate change.

“These are issues we need to address,” Calhoun said.

And as for the researchers? They wanted to explain the science to the meteorologists—in a politics-free, collegial environment—but they also wanted some help. As organizer Jon Nese ’83, ’85g ’89g, a senior lecturer in meteorology, explained, television viewers trust the meteorologists on their local channels, so by making sure that those meteorologists understand the science, researchers can make sure that television viewers are getting the best possible information.

Nese told the broadcasters, “You excel at telling engaging, simple stories about a complex phenomenon.” (more…)

August 15, 2011 at 6:48 pm Leave a comment

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