Summer 2019 Unidata Interns Wrap Up Their Projects

The Unidata Program Center's three summer student interns — Jessica Blunt from the University of Oklahoma, Max Grover from the University of Illinois, and Aodhan Sweeney from the University of Washington — have come to the end of their summer appointments. After a summer of dedicated work they presented the results of their projects to the UPC staff on July 31, 2019. You can find videos of their presentations to the UPC staff on the Unidata Seminar Series page.

Jessica Blunt

Jessica Blunt
Jessica Blunt

Jessica Blunt came to Unidata for the summer to help improve the accessibility of the Integrated Data Viewer (IDV) for the average scientist. Her work included getting into the IDV code base to improve the way polygons from National Weather Service warnings are shown, but focused mainly on explaining IDV features in a series of video tutorials published on Unidata's YouTube channel.

GOES-E satellite bundle
(click to enlarge)

The new videos cover topics ranging from launching the program to creating complex, scalable, near-real-time bundles that could be used again and again. The videos are short (most under 6 minutes) and targeted to specific audiences; in addition to the main IDV video playlist, they're sorted into three sub-series:

You can read Jessica's take on her summer's work in A Summer of Code and Outreach: Have you heard of the Integrated Data Viewer? over on the Unidata Developers' blog. And for a really in-depth description, spend half an hour watching the video recording of her presentation over on the Seminar Series page.

Max Grover

Max Grover
Max Grover

Max Grover came to Unidata to add METAR functionality to the MetPy package. METAR stands for METeorological Aerodrome Report; the reports contain information about surface data including temperature, dew point, wind speed and direction, and several other meteorological variables. Prior to this summer, MetPy did not have the ability to parse METARs.

Surface map
Example METAR surface map

The METAR parsing functionality works either with single strings of text or with text files like those delivered by Unidata's Local Data Manager (LDM). The parser takes the text, parses out the surface observations, then appends them to a single Pandas dataframe. Pandas dataframes are useful in Python because they are easy to subset and assign units to. The data stored in the dataframes can then be used with the Station Plot functionality already in MetPy to create surface maps.

Max's new features will most likely become public in MetPy version 0.12, planned for release this fall. You can read his description of his summer's work in Converting Ugly Text to Beautiful Maps: Adding METAR Support in MetPy on the Unidata Developers' blog. If you'd like the full description of all of Max's summer projects, you'll enjoy the recording of his half-hour presentation over on the Seminar Series page.

Aodhan Sweeney

Aodhan Sweeney
Aodhan Sweeney

Aodhan Sweeney spent his summer at Unidata expanding functionality for both the netCDF C++ library and the Python data access tool Siphon. Before this summer, the netCDF C++ library lacked some features included in other netCDF libraries. Aodhan added missing pieces to the C++ library by creating function wrappers to call existing functions in the C library allowing those working in a C++ framework to continue to use the netCDF libraries without sacrificing additional functionality.

Hurricane tracks
Storm tracks visualized in a Jupyter notebook

The Siphon data access package was developed to provide easy remote access to data from THREDDS Data Servers in Python code. Aodhan expanded Siphon to allow access to data from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) and the Storm Prediction Center (SPC). To facilitate interaction with these servers, he also developed Jupyter notebook-based Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) to plot and visualize the data stored in the NHC and SPC.

You can read his description of Aodhan's summer's work in Enhancing the netCDF C++ Library and the Siphon Package on the Unidata Developers' blog. If you'd like the full description of all of Aodhan's summer projects, check out the recording of his half-hour presentation over on the Seminar Series page.

Stay Tuned

The Unidata Summer Internships offer undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to work with Unidata software engineers and scientists on projects drawn from a wide variety of areas in the atmospheric and computational sciences. If you're a student thinking about internships for the summer of 2020, keep Unidata in mind. Unidata's summer internships are generally advertised in late December to early January, so be sure to check back at the end of the year. For reference, you can take a look at the Internship page.

We at the Program Center certainly enjoyed having Aodhan, Max, and Jessica working beside us this summer, and we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.


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