Monday, January 26, 2015

What I’ve been doing - weather

I thought I’d write a little about some of things that I’ve been thinking about and doing the last four to five weeks.

As a non-pilot aviation enthusiast, I have also gotten more and more interested in meteorology. So, I have been doing some reading and spending some time with a couple of sources on the internet. Not quite sure where this lead in terms of blog articles.

What I can offer is that I learn a lot by following my local National Weather Service Office, NWS Philadelphia/Mt Holly, and reading their various products including but not limited to their forecast discussion (for an example go here. I read the discussion and check out highlighted terms I don’t know in their glossary by clicking on the highlighted term. If you aren’t familiar with these forecast discussions, they can be a little daunting at first. It took me several months of reading them, coupled with reading a couple of meteorology books to get a very basic understanding of what they are talking about. I also follow NWS Mt Holly on their Facebook site where I have learned a great deal. Most other NWS offices have a presence on Facebook so check out yours if you haven’t already done so, they are publicly available but you have to have a Facebook account to make a comment.

One other resource that I use a lot is the National Weather Service’s Jetstream - Online School for Weather. The JetStream is great and easy to understand, at least I think it is easy to understand. Another site that I’ve spent some time with is the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Education Resources Page (the NWS is under NOAA).

On the more technical end, with many of the modules being designed for meteorologists and related professionals is Comet MetEd. It is free but you have to register. There are oddles of modules to choose from which you can take online or download and read on your computer. I should warn you that many of these modules are on the technical side and there are some that I have read through where I have to skim over the parts that I don’t understand. Fortunately, where I have had to do so, I have been able to get something out of the modules. There is an exam at the end of each module, I’ve only taken a couple of exams in the more basic modules.

Edited on January 27, 2014 to add:

When I wrote this article yesterday, I was intending to write more reflections on my interest in meteorology. Instead, I have decided to not write anything further on my interest in meteology, at least not in the forseeable future.

But I do want to conclude by sharing two books focusing on Weather on the United States, both by Jack Williams:

The Weather Book: an Easy-to-Understand Guide to the USA's Weather, second edition (1997), by Jack Williams. I got this book about four years ago and frequently refer to it. I like the diagrams and charts and found this easy to read and to understand. It is still available.

The AMS Weather Book: The Ultimate Guide to America's Weather (2009), by Jack Williams, co-published by the American Meteorology Society. I just got this a couple of weeks and haven't had a chance to look through this book. I am glad to have this in my library. I think but am not certaint that this book is sometimes used in College level Introduction to Meteorology courses. I got mine for around $21.00

Finally, I have a "meteorology text book", Meteorology Today, ninth edition (2009) by C. Donald Ahrens. These types of text books, with an online component that I did not purchase, are often revisied every three years. The latest edition is Meteorology Today, eleventh edition (2015) by C. Donald Ahrens. This book is a lot more expensive (new copies from Amazon range from $124 to $173 depending on format). This book may be more than many of you might want, especially considering the price. However, I am glad that I have it. I believe that this book is also used by many college Introduction to Meteorology courses. Even though it is a book for a survey course in Meteorology, I do enjoy the level of detail they offer. There is a glossary along with great pictures and diagrams. Of course if I was studying meteorology in a University, I would be taking intermediate and advanced courses in meteorology discussing one topic in depth. But for my purposes, Ahren's book is a great addition to my library.

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