CHAPEL HILL, NC, January 24, 2008 – Counties in North Carolina that lack weather stations–and therefore lack detailed weather data–will have the chance to acquire a research and operational grade weather station through a new RENCI project aimed at enhancing weather-related K-12 education and at improving the quantity and quality of weather data in underserved areas of the state.
The project, called RENCI Weather Web, targets counties in North Carolina that lack detailed information about weather patterns and weather history because no research-grade weather stations are located nearby. RENCI is sending out a challenge to schools in the targeted areas to develop curricula in meteorology and atmospheric sciences that would use a weather station and the data it produces. Area students are also being asked to research and write essays on the local benefits of weather stations. Individual schools, a partnership of schools in targeted counties or teachers within schools can submit proposals that detail their plans for using the weather station. The application and guidelines for submitting proposals will be on the RENCI website by Feb. 4.
Proposals are due March 17 and will be evaluated this spring by RENCI professionals in education and meteorology and by representatives of the State Climate Office of North Carolina. Two winners will be chosen by the end of the school year. Each winning county will receive a research and operational grade weather station paid for by RENCI and installed and maintained by the State Climate Office.
“This project gives teachers the chance to use research grade equipment to teach atmospheric science through hands-on activities,” said Ken Galluppi, who heads RENCI’s disaster research programs. “We foresee many opportunities for hands-on projects for science classes and science fairs, and we hope to bring science to life for kids in a way that excites them and makes them want to learn more.”
The Weather Web project has a two-fold purpose: to improve education related to weather and climatology through hands-on activities and the use of real data; and to provide the state with weather data in areas where data is severely lacking.
“This project will give us new weather stations and many new data points from areas where we haven’t been able to record data,” said Ryan Boyles, state climatologist and director of the State Climate Office at North Carolina State University. “Better data means an increased ability to build forecasts, disaster plans and scientific models that show the effects of severe storms and floods, drought and even climate change.”
The State Climate Office will install the weather stations this fall at sites determined most suitable. Another competition is planned for 2009 and two additional stations will be installed in underserved counties.
More information: http://www.renci.org/focusareas/eduoutreach/weatherweb.php
RENCI…Catalyst for Innovation
The Renaissance Computing Institute brings together computer and discipline scientists, artists, humanists, industry leaders, entrepreneurs, state leaders and educators for collaborations designed to reshape science, the economy, the state of North Carolina and the world. RENCI leverages its expertise and resources in leading edge computing, networking and data technologies to ignite innovation and find solutions to previously intractable problems. Founded in 2004 as a major collaborative venture of Duke University, North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the state of North Carolina, RENCI is a statewide virtual organization. For more, see www.renci.org.