MeteoForum - Unidata/COMET
The MeteoForum vision was articulated in the 2001 Fulker/Spangler proposal submitted in application for UCAR Director's Opportunity Funding (Jack Fellows):
MeteoForum - An International Network of Meteorological Training Centers for the 21st Century
"The MeteoForum pilot project will include a small group of educational institutions (some universities and some WMO RMTCs) that are motivated to enhance the contributions of modern meteorology in their regions. Participants will be expected to have relatively fast Internet access, appropriate computers, and suitable personnel. Some of these personnel will be trained to run MeteoForum software on their computers so as to to access real-time data, training materials, and other resources. Where practical, participants in the MeteoForum pilot also will contribute real-time data and educational resources to the effort. By integrating these elements, the pilot project will serve as a model on which to build a full-scale international MeteoForum. Initially, the MeteoForum pilot project will build upon capabilities now offered in the U.S. by the government-sponsored COMET and Unidata programs"
The MeteoForum initiative is an active collaboration, even though it is being conducted in spare time.
The following are highlights of the Unidata (Yoksas) MeteoForum activities for the past half year:
The Universidade de Buenos Aires (RMTC) will begin participation in the IDD-Brazil momentarily. They have been working to complete infrastructure upgrades made possible from monies received through the Unidata Equipment Grants Program. This effort has been hampered by the lack of sysadmin support -- the professor, Marissa Gassmann, has been putting together the machine on which the LDM will run by herself.
UFRJ and CPTEC personnel have been conducting outreach to Brazilian universities to inform them of the availability of real time data and to see if they have unique data holdings that they would be willing to share. Educational sites contacted include:
In addition to the sites above, an operational organization named FURNAS has also expressed interest in participating in IDD-Brazil data exchange. Their participation will require a quid pro quo arrangement with other IDD-Brazil participants.
After CBMET, I traveled to Sao Paulo to talk with several professors in the Atmospheric Science Department (Dr. Pedro Leite da Silva Dias, Dr. Oswaldo Massambani, Dr. Augusto Jose Pereira Filho, and Dr. Tercio Ambrizzi (Chairman)) about real-time data sharing through the IDD-Brazil.
I then traveled to Cachoeira Paulista to visit CPTEC to continue discussions related to the IDD-Brazil with the Director of CPTEC, Dra. Maria Assuncao Faus da Silva Dias and Dr. Pedro Leite da Silva Dias).
Finally, I traveled to the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro to meet with Dra. Maria Gertrudes Alvarez Justi da Silva to discuss furthering efforts for expanding the IDD-Brazil.
The trip was successful well beyond my wildest hopes!
Some background on Meteoforum Activities
The following is Tim Spangler's informal summary of the MeteoForum planning session held at the 2004 AMS Annual Meeting in Seattle, WA.
11 January 2004
AMS annual meeting
Tim gave an overview of the MeteoForum program, reminding everyone of where the program has been and what is has accomplished.
Tom provided an overview of the LDM software and improvements that resulted from providing data to South America. Interesting that the University of Rio de Janeiro provided resources to make a data distribution network for South America a reality. They achieved sustained transfer rates of 1.6 gigabytes per hour to South America over a 10 day period at the end of December. The data relayed by the LDM represented every non-restricted data set that Unidata that relays through its IDD. Tom has also been working with CPTEC, the analog to NASA in the United States on the establishment of a data relay network for Brazil, Argentina, and beyond. This effort named IDD-Brazil uses AMPATH (FIU and Global Crossing) fiber optic infrastructure that has been partially funded by the NSF. UFRJ has committed to assist in creating a multilingual site explaining the possibilities of the IDD-Brazil.
Current IDD-Brazil Participants:
University of Miami
UFRJ (Rio de Janeiro)
USP (Sao Paulo)
AMPATH (FIU/Global Crossing)
RNP (Rede Nacional de Ensino e Pesquisa/Brazil)
ANSP (USP network)
Elen has made some new contacts for IDD Brazil, Universidade Estadual do Mananhao (Sao Luis, Mananhao)
Reports by RMTCs:
Argentina - NWS Fernando Requena: Fernando gave a nice presentation showing how being part of MeteoForum gave them incentives to upgrade their capabilities.
Argentina - UBA Marisa Gassman: Marisa talked about how they are receiving a Unidata grant and funds from MeteoForum, (including money for a video projector) and will soon be able to display real-time data in the classroom.
Brazil - UFPA Galdino Mota: Galdino gave a presentation about their program. They are indeed receiving data but need several PCs to allow access for faculty and students. COMET promised to send several refurbished PCs this spring. He also talked about translating some educational materials into Portuguese for the Angola RMTC.
Venezuela Ramon Vinas: Abraham Salcedo visited Unidata and COMET in Boulder (last June). They are trying to get high-speed access through the geophysics laboratory. They have installed 20 computers in a laboratory for the RMTC, and are waiting for the connection. Started an advanced course in hydrology (last Oct), one year course with 16 students, 7 venezuela, and the rest from the region. www.hoven2003.com is the website, and is being taught over the web after a three week in residence meeting. WMO provided some support for this. They will come back in May for a practicum three weeks. The rest of their activities are for Venezuelans. They also send students to Costa Rica (five now). Weather service modernization is ongoing since 1998 (eight radars from Germany), 55 synoptic stations, 5 upper air stations, to build a national weather service (now there are several regional weather services) starting with a national institute. They hope to start their own mesoscale modeling in the next year and they hope th
Barbados Selvin Burton: a regional training center for 16 countries, both meteorology and hydrology. From Guyana through the islands to Jamaica, Barbados is not a member. Other countries also occasionally send students. CMHI is autonomous but a member of the University of the West Indies. They have tried to add graduate work through the university but it has not worked yet. They have to get a graduate degree in an environmental field. They may introduce a graduate degree in environmental resource management, with a track in climate change, and there may be a program specialization in applied meteorology. They train at all levels. They now have 256Kb access to the institute so there has been some improvement. They have not been very active. Bandwidth has been slow, it was 64K connection. They tried for ADSL at 768K downlink and 256Kb uplink. They couldnt provide a static IP address. So now they have a 256K line. They will try to see what they can get with it, including some satellite imagery. They will try t
Costa Rica Vilma Castro: Vilma reported on UCR activities. MeteoForum has improved communication and stimulated her thinking about how other RMTCs function. The most important outcome is communication and cooperation. She commented on help she got from Tony Mostek and Tom Whittaker in preparing for the Barbados December seminar. Real-time data provides her with independence, and students don't have to go the met service to practice. Students can come and go, any hour, and use the data for forecasting practice. At the RMTC they don't have to get permission while they do at the met service. Her web cast is derived from a presentation she made to the banana growers in Costa Rica. It has resulted in some money for the university, and they are buying meteorological stations. Galdino said he had similar experiences and frustrations as Vilma. They especially like the camaraderie of these meetings (MeteoForum) and the people they meet at MeteoForum and AMS.
Unidata Mohan Ramamurthy: Mohan gave an overview of Unidata, emphasizing the new initiatives they will support as well as their continuing services. The new LDM, spawned by the need to solve MeteoForum issues, has been adopted by the NWS to distribute Level II radar. The newest initiative is called LEAD for linked environments for atmospheric discovery and that brings together very diverse and distributed computing resources.
WMO Ion Draghici: Ion made a few personal comments. He believes that the energy of the MeteoForum project is helpful but that the RMTCs must continue to work harder. He observes that RMTCs in general dont work together and dont communicate and share. Can we designate a common level at which most RMTCs can cooperate? Case studies might be a good start. He also encouraged the RMTCs to adopt the new classification system as an agent for change. MeteoForum is the glue that is assisting the RMTCs to grow.
NWS Jeff Stuart: Jeff focuses on international training for the NWS, as a part of the international affairs office at NWS. They would like to make international training better and make sure that their limited funding is being used effectively. The future is distance learning. He would like to see the NWS have a role in MeteoForum, fund more translations, and create a few projects specifically for international audiences. Most international training has been in residence and through the desk initiative at NCEP. And it has required travel for the participants who have to spend four months away from their weather services. They train 24 per year in that method. They have drafted their first international training plan for application beginning October 2004 (Fiscal year 2005). If we test a distance learning program it must be shown to be effective. The first project must be successful.
How to teach with Real Time data? Elen has an NSF grant to look into this very issue, and she is collaborating with someone who is fluent in Spanish, English, and Portuguese.
Discussion on priorities:
Tim Spangler, COMET
Jack Fellows, UOP
Vickie Johnson, COMET
Liz Lessard, COMET
Pat Parrish, COMET
Galdino Mota, Universidade Federal do Para, Belem
Arlene Laing, USF
Linda Miller, Unidata
Ion Draghici, WMO
Elen Cutrim, Western Michigan University
Fernando Requena, Argentina Weather Service
Jeff Stuart, NWS
Mohan Ramamurthy, Unidata
Col Ramon Vinas, PR Venezuela Weather Service
Tom Yoksas, Unidata
Selvin Burton, Barbados
Marisa Gassman, University of Buenos Aires
Vilma Castro, University of Costa Rica
The following is the MeteoForum 2003 annual report prepared by Tim Spangler and Tom Yoksas and submitted to the Director of the UCAR Office of Programs, Jack Fellows.
Cooperative Program for Operational Meteorology, Education and Training
Unidata Program Center (UPC)
University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
|DATE:||2 January 2004|
The MeteoForum project has been active for about two years now. This is a brief summary of our accomplishments and thoughts on where we might go next. We need to be proud of what has occurred to date by people who are doing this in their spare time.
As Dave Fulker and I conceived of the program in April 2001, we established three goals:
During the Orlando AMS meeting (January 2002), all of us decided on three areas of emphasis:
Over the last three years, I have visited every RMTC in WMO Regions III and IV, and Tom Yoksas has visited two. The common themes from all of the centers were:
The first full year of MeteoForum was dedicated to two issues: Internet access and real-time data. Tom Yoksas Yoksas has been especially active on these problems and has been working closely with many of you. Some information on current status:
Tom has suggested that we need to provide training for both UFPA and UBA on how to utilize Unidata software for the analysis and display of meteorological data. This should be an action item if everyone agrees.
There are a number of other activities that have come up in the course of the year. The first is a joint project with the Argentina Weather Service to translate more COMET modules into Spanish. The project is underway, funded principally by the National Weather Service. We are using a trust fund, created by MeteoForum at the WMO, to transfer funds to Argentina.
The University of Puerto Rico, a Unidata site, has volunteered to share data and work closely with MeteoForum. Professor Amos Winter eagerly volunteered to help distribute data to the Caribbean area.
Dr. Elen Cutrim of Western Michigan University has recently joined the Unidata Users Committee, and is becoming an active contributor to the international outreach activities in which Unidata is involved. Elen's experience as a former director of the RMTC in Belem, former chair of the atmospheric science department at the UFPA, and a long time Unidata systems user is seen as a valuable resource for MeteoForum activities.
Vilma Castro is working with COMET to finalize our first MeteoForum Webcast. She has submitted the power point presentation and audio, and we are working with her to produce a final product. The title is Meteorological Information and Agricultural Activities.
The National Weather Service provided funding to COMET to create and distribute an archive CD of all COMET web modules. This work has led COMET to issue annual archive CDs for all users. The first archive CD was given to ACMED that is expected to distribute it to 53 countries in Africa.
The WMO has provided some support to RMTCs to participate in MeteoForum and continues to be very engaged in what we are doing, including providing partial travel support for RMTC directors to attend the MeteoForum meeting in Seattle, 11 January 2004. We always appreciate the WMO support for our activities.
Next Steps (to be revised after Seattle meeting):
From last year's report (2003):
It is very gratifying how this simple project we are working on
together has caught the attention of many people worldwide. The WMO
Executive Council Panel of Experts on Education and Training put the
following in their report to the WMO and the Secretary General for
inclusion in the council report:
"The Council welcomed the initiative supported by COMET and UCAR, USA,
to launch a MeteoForum pilot project aiming at developing a virtual
centre through which WMO RMTCs in RA III and RA IV could access data
and training provided by WMO, Unidata, COMET, and universities, and
share data with each other. It encouraged the Secretariat to explore
the possibility of launching similar initiatives in other WMO regions."
It is very gratifying how this simple project we are working on together has caught the attention of many people worldwide. The WMO Executive Council Panel of Experts on Education and Training put the following in their report to the WMO and the Secretary General for inclusion in the council report:
"The Council welcomed the initiative supported by COMET and UCAR, USA, to launch a MeteoForum pilot project aiming at developing a virtual centre through which WMO RMTCs in RA III and RA IV could access data and training provided by WMO, Unidata, COMET, and universities, and share data with each other. It encouraged the Secretariat to explore the possibility of launching similar initiatives in other WMO regions."
This international interest, especially at the WMO continues. I will be attending the WMO Panel of Experts on Education and Training meeting in Turkey this coming May, and will report on our activities.
This page was prepared by Tom Yoksas.