Monday, September 19, 2011

New blog format--back to weather basics

This will be a short post, describing a few changes in the content of this blog that we'll hopefully see over the next three months.

I know that the audience of this blog is a mix of people with greatly different backgrounds.  Each new blog post I have generates, on average, about 150 views after it is posted.  Of those people, I know many are fellow friends and colleagues who are also meteorology professionals.  And, as such, many of my posts are geared toward that audience.

However there is also a large component of my audience containing people who aren't meteorologists by trade, but have a strong interest in weather nonetheless.  I frequently get emails from these readers, asking for clarification about some concept or sharing with me their own stories and images from unique weather events.  I really enjoy these interactions, and it has really helped me get to know my audience.

For this fall quarter, I will be a teaching assistant for the class ATMS 101 -- Weather -- at my home institution of the University of Washington.  This is a class designed to cover the fundamentals of our understanding of meteorology, geared toward students who are not meteorology or atmospheric sciences majors.  It's basically designed as a science elective class for undergraduate students who have an interest in learning about the weather.

I'd like to use this blog as a supplementary teaching tool to the time I'll be spending with the students in their classes.  By offering my own perspective on the topics covered in class in a written format like this that is easily accessible and retrievable, I hope to be able to give the students another resource as they are studying the material.   Furthermore, this would give me a platform to respond to questions that many students may have and perhaps lead to some interesting discussions of some of the finer subtleties of meteorology.

However, I don't see this as just a resource for the students--as I said, I have gotten a pretty good idea of who my audience is on this blog.  And I know that each and every time I casually talk about a shortwave trough at 500mb, there are a lot of people who really don't have a good idea what exactly I mean by that.  I want to thank those particular readers for sticking with the blog and hopefully learning a lot in the process.  By following this class and starting from the basics, I hope that in my blog posts over the next three months you'll be able to maybe pick up a little bit more background information about what I'm talking about here and learn a lot about the weather in the process.  I hope you'll find this enjoyable.

With that said, I still plan to do several posts about ongoing weather events across the country as I have been doing.  This should hopefully help to satisfy those readers who have a little bit more background and are looking for a different perspective on the current weather.  In an ideal world, I would hope to be able to tie in the current weather to some of the more basic concepts from this class.  We'll see how that goes.

So, just to let you know, my blog posts starting next week will get back to the basics.  I hope that you'll enjoy this review of the science of meteorology and how we as scientists treat the weather and make forecasts.  As always, feel free to email me or comment with any of your thoughts, concerns or suggestions about the blog.

Thanks again for being such loyal and thought-provoking readers...

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