May 21, 2015 Meeting

The eighth meeting of the 2014-2015 year took place at the National Weather Service office. Our guest speaker was Dr. Todd Murphy of University of Louisiana-Monroe.

Meeting Minutes

Call to Order
The eighth meeting of the 2014-2015 year took place on Thursday, May 21st at the National Weather Service office in Jackson. This was our first and only lunch meeting of the year with pizza from Papa John’s. The meeting was called to order at about 12:30 pm by President Joanne Culin.

A sign-in sheet for attendees was passed around. Fourteen people were present.

Minutes Approval
Minutes from the April meeting were summarized by President Joanne Culin.

New Business
The business session began with a treasury report. The treasury balance was $190 and dropped to $100 after $90 was spent for the pizza. No membership dues were received. Regular dues remain $20, and student membership dues are $10.

It was a great pleasure to have special guest Dr. Todd Murphy, Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM), discuss the new radar program at ULM. Todd was hired by ULM especially for his radar meteorology expertise with hopes that they would finally get the long-awaited radar construction underway. Now that it is official, he is very busy developing a radar program that will both enhance the undergraduate atmospheric sciences program and serve private/public entities interested in getting the radar data. Currently, radar coverage over northeast Louisiana is very sparse due to the distance from KSHV and KDGX radars. In fact, some locations are not being sampled below below
about 12,000 feet. This is a big reason why having a radar at ULM is so valuable.

Enterprise Electronics Corporation (EEC) was awarded the contract by ULM through the Louisiana Governor’ Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (GOHSEP). The radar will be a 10 cm wavelength dual-polarization unit that is comparable to the WSR-88D in terms of both hardware and product capabilities, with the main difference being that it will have a magnetron-based vs klystron-based transmitter. A new radar control and data center will operate 24/7 at the university, and it is possible that a radar operator staff position will be added. This additional position is contingent upon funding, and first priority to fill it would be given to recent ULM graduates. In addition to serving as an educational resource for new radar meteorology courses, the data center will handle NWS VCP requests. Discussion took place among the group concerning the best and most efficient way to distribute the radar data, including secured web server and 4G system options that could potentially bring level II data into AWIPS.

In addition to the radar, there is other technology ready to be implemented at ULM, including an upper air observation program that is expected to begin soon, and a potential microwave profiling radiometer (instrument that provides vertical profiles of temperature, humidity, and cloud liquid water content) down the road. In similar fashion to radar data requests, the NWS will have permission to request special upper air observations.

Todd closed the presentation with discussion on the positive outlook of the ULM atmospheric sciences program, and there was further discussion among the group about studies that could include partnerships with local NWS offices. Todd stated that theirs will become the only undergraduate program with a dual-pol radar system, and he believes that along with the other technology additions, this is a very exciting time to be a student in the program.

The meeting concluded at approximately 1:45 pm, and it was adjourned.

Minutes submitted by Eric Carpenter, Recording Secretary.

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