AMS 2024 Conference Highlights from the NSF Unidata Staff

AMS 2024 Annual Meeting

This year's annual American Meteorological Society meeting was held 27 January - 1 February 2024 in Baltimore, MD. Several NSF Unidata staff members were able to travel to Baltimore to lead workshops, visit with students, present papers and posters, and otherwise take part in the conference. As always, staff members spent some time meeting with community members at UCAR's exhibit hall booth. The following are some of the conference highlights from the perspective of NSF Unidata staff.

23rd Student Conference

AMS 2024 Career Fair
Talking with students at the AMS 2024 Student Career Fair. (Click to enlarge.)

As we try to do at every AMS Annual Meeting, NSF Unidata had a table set up for the Student Conference Career Fair, held Saturday and Sunday evenings before the main conference exhibition hall opened. Our table attracted many visitors, with students interested in data and software available from Unidata as well as Unidata's Summer Internship program . We were fortunate that one of our 2023 summer interns, Jessica Souza from Texas Tech University, was able to join Program Center staff at the table to talk with students and describe her experiences working at NSF Unidata.

In addition to the Career Fair, the AMS Student Conference provides opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to learn new skills, meet and network with mentors and colleagues in the weather, water, and climate field, and participate in workshops to help with their professional development. This year, NSF Unidata led two workshops during the Student Conference — one focused on AWIPS and one focused on Python and MetPy.

Student Conference AWIPS Workshop

AMS 2024 Student Conference AWIPS workshop
Student Conference AWIPS workshop.

On Sunday, January 28th, NSF Unidata software engineer Tiffany Meyer partnered with Victoria Elliott (a graduate student from Texas A&M) to deliver an in-person workshop on the Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) for 72 Student Conference attendees. This afternoon session served as a high-level overview on how AWIPS is structured, how it can be used in the classroom to prepare for careers as a forecaster with the National Weather Service, and how it can best benefit students' University programs. The workshop leaders provided demonstrations of the Common AWIPS Visualization Environment (CAVE) and the python-awips data access framework. The workshop took advantage of public-facing AWIPS Environmental Data EXchange (EDEX) servers configured by NSF Unidata staff Julien Chastang and Ana Espinoza on the NSF Jetstream2 cloud. NSF Unidata staff members Shay Carter and Nicole Corbin helped plan and design the workshop activities.

Student Conference Python Workshop

AMS 2024 Student Conference Python workshop
Student Conference Python workshop.

Also on Sunday, January 28th, NSF Unidata software engineer Drew Camron partnered with Max Grover (DOE ANL/ARM, and a former NSF Unidata summer intern), Ryan May (NSF Unidata), Jessica Souza (Texas Tech University, and a former NSF Unidata summer intern), JT Thielen (Colorado State University, and a former NSF Unidata summer intern), and Kevin Tyle (University at Albany), to deliver an in-person Python workshop for 38 Student Conference attendees. This afternoon session served as an introduction to Exploratory Data Analysis (EDA) in Python using tools like Pandas, xarray, and MetPy, and concluded with a crash course in accessing HRRR model output on Amazon Web Services S3 cloud stores to help forecast winds and rain in Baltimore. The workshop was supported by NSF Unidata staff Julien Chastang and Ana Espinoza through provision of free Jupyter Lab computing resources to students on the NSF JetStream2 cloud.

MetPy Short Course

AMS 2024 MetPy Short Course
AMS 2024 MetPy Short Course.

In addition to the two student conference workshops, NSF Unidata staff led an AMS Short Course titled MetPy: Creating Meteorological Python Workflows from Scratch. For this short course, software engineer Drew Camron partnered with Dr. Kevin Goebbert (Valparaiso University) and JT Thielen (Colorado State University) to present a crash course in MetPy. The course helped attendees develop Python workflows for obtaining, manipulating, and visualizing a variety of weather data from NSF Unidata THREDDS Data Servers in a realistic and near-real-time way. Twenty-seven people participated in-person, representing universities (U.S. and international), national centers, forecasting offices, and industry partners. Like the student conference Python workshop, this course was supported by NSF Unidata staff Julien Chastang and Ana Espinoza through provision of free Jupyter Lab computing resources to students on the NSF JetStream2 cloud.

Talks and Presentations

Jessica Souza
2023 summer intern Jessica Souza.

Once the Annual Meeting got fully underway, NSF Unidata staff members participated in a variety of sessions and made presentations both in-person and remotely. Staff members Drew Camron, Shay Carter, Julien Chastang, Nicole Corbin, Ana Espinoza, Ryan May, Tiffany Meyer, and Yuan Ho all gave talks. 2023 summer student intern Jessica Souza presented at two sessions! You can find online resources from Nicole Corbin's talk Microlearning Strategies for Data Readiness in the Classroom on the NSF Unidata eLearning site: see Multidimensional Data Structures and Getting Started with Siphon and THREDDS. A complete list of talks by NSF Unidata folks is included in this post: NSF Unidata Staff at AMS 2024 Meeting.

Visiting with Community

In addition to interacting with community members at talks and poster sessions, Unidata staff members spent time at the UCAR/NCAR booth in the AMS exhibit hall. While Unidata's presence at the booth was low-key, we were happy to talk with students and others who came by to learn about internships, software, and data access.

What do you think of this arrangement? Were you able to find us in the AMS exhibition space? Did you get to talk with Unidata staff members you wanted to contact? We'd love to hear your thoughts on how we can best visit with you at AMS 2025! Drop us a line at support@unidata.ucar.edu if you'd like to weigh in.

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