Did You Know?: Forecasting Club

February 27, 2015  

Forecasting Club

Stephanie Buehler (center) and Tyler Heckstall (right), co-presidents of the Purdue forecasting club, review weather data during a club meeting on Tuesday (Feb. 24) in Hampton Hall. Mike Baldwin, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences and the club's advisor, looks on. (Purdue University photo/Mark Simons)
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Rain or shine, the Purdue Forecasting Club is dedicated to delivering weather updates to the campus and community 365 days a year.

The Forecasting Club, an offshoot of the Purdue University Meteorological Association, is advised by Mike Baldwin, associate professor of earth and atmospheric sciences.

Baldwin has been at Purdue since 2006 and teaches EAPS 434, Weather Analysis and Forecasting. His students, primarily seniors in atmospheric science, were the creators of the Forecasting Club.

“This is real-life experience for these students, which is certainly valuable for them,” Baldwin says. “Not only are they gaining experience making weather forecasts, they are also learning how to effectively communicate their science to a diverse group of customers.”

The club meets on the fourth floor of Hampton Hall, where members have access to a Linux computer lab, a forecasting room and a green screen room. They use those tools, as well as satellite imagery, radars and Purdue’s own weather model to organize the day-to-day schedule of forecasts, mentor less-experienced students and hold weekly meetings to discuss weather forecasting tools and techniques.

“This is a great opportunity for atmospheric science students,” says Steven Chun, a senior in atmospheric science and member of the forecasting club. “This club has helped many students decide if their career path should include forecasting or if they should pursue a different aspect of the atmospheric science field.”

Club forecasts are used by a large and diverse group of customers, including the Purdue Emergency Preparedness and Planning Office, Recreational Sports, and Intercollegiate Athletics. The club's road weather forecasts are used by Purdue Grounds, local street departments, county and school corporations, and several Indiana Department of Transportation customers. It has over 1,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter.

“These students provide around-the-clock weather support, which helps us know how to optimize our staffing to clear the streets, sidewalks, and parking lots during snowstorms,” says Gary Evans, director of Grounds. “This is a great example of students applying their knowledge and skills in the real world to benefit not only Purdue, but the local communities as well.”

Writer: Emily Sigg, 765-494-4719, esigg@purdue.edu 


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