CW3E Hosts Student Workshop on AR Forecasting

July 2, 2018

On Friday, June 29th, immediately following the 2018 International Atmospheric River Conference (IARC), students from over a dozen educational institutions within and outside of the United States gathered at Scripps to learn from the experts about AR forecasting. The goals of the workshop were to bring students together with AR scientists and forecasters to gain hands-on experience with predictions focused on practical and scientific applications. Outcomes for participants included improved understanding of modern AR prediction tools and methods, and how AR forecasting support selected examples of decision making.

Students first participated in an interactive lecture on AR predictions led by science leadership from the National Weather Service (NWS), the San Diego Swift Water Rescue Team, and CW3E, learning not only about the details of forecasting impacts of an AR but also about communication of risks to local stakeholders (Picture 1). Each student was provided with a NWS forecasting presentation that had previously been used to inform local stakeholders during a real event. The students were then given the task of providing an informed plan, from the standpoint of the local stakeholders, to mitigate the dangers associated to the AR event. This portion of the workshop highlighted the intricacies and difficulties that go into making forecast-informed decisions affecting local decisionmakers and municipalities and the importance of accurate forecasting tools.

Following this interactive lecture, students had the opportunity to use CW3E’s AR forecasting tools to try their hand at planning their own AR Recon airborne and on-the-ground field campaign. This portion of the workshop equipped students with an operational perspective on the AR Recon field campaign and difficulties associated with organizing a large-scale field campaign. Day two of the workshop began with a morning radiosonde balloon launch from the Scripps Pier (Picture 3), followed by a tour of the NWS San Diego forecast office. The NWS tour presented even more information on the operational side of forecasting and highlighted the ways that modern forecasts are communicated to local stakeholders. Students left the workshop eager for the next AR season when they’ll be able to test their skills in real-time! The student forecasting workshop was a great success and is being expanded next year to a colloquium covering all aspects of AR science in greater detail.

Just before releasing a radiosonde at Scripps Pier, workshop participants pose for a photo.