Meteorology Faculty, Students Present Research at Northeastern Storm Conference

March 23rd, 2006 by Adam

At this month’s 31st Annual Northeastern Storm Conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Plymouth State University’s chapter of the American Meteorological Society was the second largest group in attendance. Five faculty members and 46 students attended the meteorological conference, held March 10-12 and sponsored by Lyndon State College, the American Meteorological Society and the National Weather Association.

Attending the yearly conference is one of the exciting educational opportunities provided to students who are members of PSU’s chapter of the American Meteorological Society, a professional and educational organization dedicated to promoting meteorological research, innovation and experience. The student AMS chapter at Plymouth State is one of many academic organizations at PSU that allow students to engage in research, collaboration and career growth opportunities. PSU’s meteorology program, with a current enrollment of 85 undergraduates and 5 graduate students, is the only meteorology degree program in the state. About 65 students participate in the American Meteorological Society chapter, which has received “Local Chapter Honor Roll” awards from the national AMS for both the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 school years.

Members of the AMS chapter, along with faculty from the meteorology program, have been attending the Northeastern Storm Conference for more than 20 years. According to PSU meteorology professor Eric Hoffman, the conference provides students with several valuable educational experiences. Students get the opportunity to learn about some of the latest research being conducted in the field of meteorology, meet professionals, faculty, and students from all around the northeastern United States and begin to develop professional contacts that will enable them to establish successful careers upon graduation.

Bridget Bixby (’07) of Warren, has attended the conference for three years. At this year’s conference, she attended several research presentations and a panel discussion about graduate schools and careers in meteorology. She also began thinking seriously about the possibilities of a future career with the National Weather Service.

“You really get a chance to mingle with professionals and find out what job opportunities are out there,” said Bixby. “You also get your own name out there, making connections with future employers and colleagues.”

In addition to providing opportunities for networking, the conference gives students a chance to present their own research. Undergraduate and graduate students, together with faculty members, gave seven presentations at the conference, highlighting research on last fall’s flooding in Cheshire County, comparisons of recent hurricane seasons, and wind activity and measurement on the Gulf of Maine, among other subjects. For many students, the yearly conference provides a first opportunity to present their work to colleagues.

“Through attending and presenting, students can see that what they have learned and accomplished at Plymouth State is relevant, and they gain confidence about their ability to be successful scientists,” said Hoffman.

Student and faculty presentations were as follows:

Anthony R. Fusco, Gregory G. Garner, and Eric G. Hoffman: “Meteorological and Hydrological Aspects of the Columbus Day Weekend 2005 Flooding Event in Cheshire County, New Hampshire.”

Richard P. Giard, Kate L. Moran, Matthew T. Flader, and Eric G. Hoffman: “A Comparison of the Record-Setting 2005 Atlantic Hurricane Season with the Extremely Active 1995 Season.”

Richard P. Giard: “Enhanced Northeast Winds in the Western Gulf of Maine: A New Diagnostic Technique.”

James M. Moker, Jr.: “Synoptic Scale Conditions Causing Enhanced Northeasterly Winds in the Western Gulf of Maine.”

Andrew M. Loconto and James P. Koermer: “An Updated Convective Wind Climatology at Kennedy Space Center and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.”

The presentations about western Gulf of Maine winds are the result of cooperative research between meteorology professor Dr. Sam Miller, his students and the National Weather Service Office in Gray, Maine. Christopher Winters, president of PSU’s AMS chapter, presented the Plymouth State University chapter poster.

The annual Northeastern Storm Conference is the largest student-run conference in the nation. Attendees include meteorology professionals, high school, undergraduate and graduate students and educators from around the Northeast. Though winter weather is often the subject of presentations, topics frequently extend outside the realm of Northeast weather to include severe and tropical meteorology, numerical weather prediction, and historical weather events.

Plymouth State University (PSU) is a regional comprehensive university offering a rich, student-focused learning environment for both undergraduate and graduate students. PSU offers 42 majors and 62 minors in programs that include education, business, humanities, arts, and natural and social sciences. The College of Graduate Studies offers coursework that promotes research, best practices and reflection in locations on- and off-campus as well as online. For non-traditional students, PSU’s Frost School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers working professionals opportunities to pursue an undergraduate degree by attending classes in the evenings, weekends and online. Located in a beautiful New England setting, Plymouth State University has been recognized as one of the “Best in the Northeast” by The Princeton Review.