CoCoRaHS WxTalk Webinars

The CoCoRaHS WxTalk Webinar Series

In December 2011 CoCoRaHS kicked off a new and exciting monthly Webinar series called CoCoRaHS WxTalk (wx is shorthand for weather). CoCoRaHS WxTalk consists of a series of monthly one-hour interactive Webinars featuring engaging experts in the fields of atmospheric science, climatology and other pertinent disciplines. These easy to follow presentations are live and approximately sixty minutes long. The audience is given the chance to submit questions which the experts answer live on the air.

Topics have included: Snow, Satellites, Hurricanes, Lightning, Clouds, Tornadoes, Flash Floods, Fire Weather, Weather History, Radar and How to become a meteorologist just to name a few.  

There are many exciting Webinars on the agenda in the months ahead, so please tell your friends to join us.  All WxTalk Webinars are free and most are recorded for later viewing.

*Although headphones are a good way of listening to the Webinars, only a set of speakers is required to hear the Webinar.  The audience will be muted so there is no need for a microphone. All incoming correspondence during the Webinar should be in typed form.

Upcoming WxTalk Webinars:

Thursday, October  23, 2014 at 11AM MDT

"Atmospheric Rivers"

Marty Ralph
Director, Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes
UCSD/Scripps Institution of Oceanography
La Jolla, California


Atmospheric Rivers (AR) are relatively narrow regions in the atmosphere that are responsible for most of the horizontal transport of water vapor outside of the tropics. While ARs come in many shapes and sizes, those that contain the largest amounts of water vapor, the strongest winds, and stall over watersheds vulnerable to flooding, can create extreme rainfall and floods. However, not all ARs cause damage – most are weak, and simply provide beneficial rain or snow that is crucial to water supply.  In fact, they can also be drought busters.

This presentation will provide a brief history of the emergence of understanding of atmospheric rivers as a phenomenon, and as a key factor in precipitation in many regions.  An emphasis will be placed on lessons learned from studies in the Western US, with highlights from the emerging exploration of ARs as important elsewhere.  An example of a strong AR hitting California in February 2014 will be included, with observations from a research aircraft that flew through the event offshore.  Efforts to better monitor and predict ARs will also be summarized.


Thursday, November  13, 2014 at 11AM MST

"NOHRSC - The National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center"

Carrie Olheiser
NOAA/National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC)
Chanhassen, MN


The National Operational Hydrologic Remote Sensing Center (NOHRSC) operates the Snow Data Assimilation System (SNODAS), a sophisticated snow model that produces hourly estimates of snowpack distribution and characteristics for the continental United States and southern Canada.

This webinar will talk about the SNODAS model, the observations that are incorporated into the model including satellite imagery, airborne remote sensing, and most importantly, ground based observations like those collected by the CoCoRaHS network.   We will also explore NOHRSC’s products and  services and the importance of the adequate and accurate CoCoRaHS observations in providing the best estimates of snow water equivalent. 

Thursday, December  4, 2014 at 11AM MST

"Tsunami's" - Pacific Tsunami Warning Center

Stuart Weinstein
Deputy Director
NOAA/Pacific Tsunami Warning Center
Ewa Beach, HI 

Thursday, January 22, 2015 at 11AM MST

"Avalanche Awareness"

Simon Trautman
National Avalanche Specialist
Forest Service National Avalanche Center
Bozeman, MT

Forest Service National Avalanche Center

Previous CoCoRaHS WxTalk Webinars
(click on a YouTube icon below to view a previous WxTalk Webinar)

Webinar #1 -
December 20, 2011

Snow, love it , hate it . . . it still falls on us all!   

Nolan Doesken -
Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO

David Robinson -
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ

"Many people love snow. Others hate it. David Robinson (Rutgers University) and Nolan Doesken (Colorado State University) have each been fascinated with snow for their entire lives and will share some of their knowledge and experiences with the CoCoRaHS community. Topics that will be covered include 1) snowfall patterns across the US, 2) snowcover over the Northern Hemisphere, 3) Seasonal snowfall patterns 4) major snowstorms 5) the density of fresh snow and how/why it varies so much, and 6) trends in snowfall over the past century. Finally, both speakers will address why CoCoRaHS snowfall observations are so useful and important."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

Webinar #2 - February 9, 2012

Remote sensing: How weather satellites sense the earth  

Arunas Kuciauskas - Naval Research Laboratory, Monterrey, CA


"The US public is typically informed of daily weather from either TV newscasts or internet outlets, where glossy colored movie loops of clouds over land and water compliment the forecasters analyses and predictions. But beyond that, there's so much more weather information that satellites provide there are also plenty of different weather satellite sensors, and the technology in this field is accelerating. This presentation will introduce and hopefully entice folks with little or no science background to understand the exciting world of weather satellite sensing. Part of this talk will also address CoCoRaHS members - by relating the daily rainfall (and snowfall) reports to the atmosphere that sits above them."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

Webinar #3: February 16, 2012

Who Uses Weather and Climate Data and How Do They Do It? 

Steve Hilberg - Midwest Regional Climate Center (Retired), Champaign, Illinois


"The constant changes in the ocean of air we live in affect everyone.  Weather and climate information is used for a decision as mundane as “What do I wear today?” to multi-million dollar business decisions.   Data collected from a variety of networks, including CoCoRaHS, are important to a wide variety of users, including government agencies, businesses, and the general public. This Webinar will highlight some the typical and not so typical uses of weather and climate data and will demonstrate the contributions of CoCoRaHS observations.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

Webinar #4 - Thursday, March 8, 2012

Understanding and Identifying Clouds 

Tom Schlatter - NOAA/Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado


Subtopics to be covered during the Webinar will include the following:
1)  How clouds form and dissipate
2)  How to identify the ten basic types of clouds (illustrated with numerous photos)
3)  How thunderstorm clouds can grow so tall
4)  Quick quiz on basic cloud types (self-graded; answers explained)
5)  Question and answer session

View the Webinar by clicking here:

How We Name Clouds - handout

Webinar #5 - Thursday, April 12, 2012

Flash Floods: It's More Than a Bunch of Rain

Matt Kelsch - UCAR/COMET, Boulder, Colorado 


"Flash Floods are one of the deadliest of all weather phenomena. Flash floods are not purely meteorological event. They involve important components of both meteorology and hydrology, which makes them hydrometeorology events. Rainfall amounts, and in particular the rainfall rates, are the important meteorological contributors to flash floods.  Then what happens to all the rainwater once it is on the ground--the hydrology--is equally important.

This talk will examine the key characteristics of the rainfall and the hydrologic response that affects the locations, timing and severity of flash floods. We will talk about short-term bursts of intense rainfall and the importance of ground surface conditions, including conditions such as soil saturation, steep drainages, urban development, and forecast fires. "

View the Webinar by clicking here:

Webinar #6
- Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lightning and Its Impacts

View Ron's Powerpoint presentation slides (18MB)

Ronald L. Holle - Holle Meteorology & Photography, Oro Valley, Arizona


"About 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning flashes hit the surface of the United States every year.  These flashes are well detected in the U.S. and many other countries by national lightning detection technology.  In addition, other specialized regional networks detect many more cloud flashes that can extend over 100 km in length across the sky.  Continuing advances in extremely long-range lightning detection are showing lightning over remote oceans and land masses around the globe.

Every cloud-to-ground lightning strike is fully capable of causing casualties and damages.  For this reason, lightning data are used in forestry, utilities, aviation, weather services, military, industrial, recreation, media, and insurance applications.  The activity, location, time trends, and medical issues of lightning casualties will be described.  The talk will conclude with a set of updated lightning safety recommendations."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

NOAA's Lightning Safety Page:

Lightning Strike and Electric Shock Surviors International, Inc. (LSESSI)

Webinar #7
- Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hurricane Analysis and Prediction at the National Hurricane Center

Chris Landsea - NOAA/NWS/National Hurricane Center, Miami, Florida


"The National Hurricane Center issues analyses, forecasts, and warnings over large parts of the North Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and in support of many nearby countries. Advances in observational capabilities, operational numerical weather prediction, and forecaster tools and support systems over the past 15–20 yr have enabled the center to make more accurate forecasts, extend forecast lead times, and provide new products and services. Important limitations, however, persist. This presentation discusses the current workings and state of the nation’s hurricane warning program, and highlights recent improvements and the enabling science and technology. It concludes with a look ahead at opportunities to address challenges."

View the Webinar by clicking here:


National Hurricane Center Website:

Webinar #8 - Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wind and Wildfire - A Dangerous Combination

Liz Page - UCAR/COMET, Boulder, Colorado


Wildfire spread can be erratic and challenging to predict. Fire behavior is controlled by three components of the fire environment: weather, fuels, and topography. We will look how each of these components is inter-related when diagnosing fire behavior. Through examples of historic wildfires from locations across the country, we will explore what determines fire season and the critical fire weather patterns that contribute to extreme fire behavior.

We will also talk about the forecasters that provide weather information to the people fighting the fires. These Incident Meteorologists are highly trained and experienced forecasters who play a vital role in the decisions made to contain wildfires and protect people and property threatened by the fire.

View the Webinar by clicking here:


COMET Fire Weather Topics Page

NWS Fire Weather Site

Current Wildfires from USDA Forest Service

Historic Wildfires

Experts Explain How Waldo Canyon Fire Moved Downhill

Fire Regions and Seasons

Firewise Communities

Webinar #9 - Thursday, August 23, 2012

Extreme Rainfall, How We Analyze It and How The Data is Used

Bill Kappel - Applied Weather Associates, Monument, Colorado


This webinar will detail the 200 plus extreme rainfall analyses we have completed over the past 10 years.  This will include how the storm analyses are completed, how rainfall data is gathered and used, and what the results of the analyses look like.  Further, information  about who uses this information and how it is used will be discussed.  Special topics to be discussed include: Probable Maximum Precipitation-what is it, how is it derived-who uses it; Hurricane Irene bucket survey process and results, unique characteristics of rainfall during the Southwest Monsoon, Atmospheric River storms along the West Coast, differences in rainfall characteristics of extreme storms along the Front Range versus the Midwest, and the importance of accurate COCORAHS data.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

Take a look back at the world record rainfall in Smethport, PA in 1942, 30.80" in just 4.5 hours.  Here's the link:


Atmospheric Rivers

Applied Weather Associates

Metstat, Inc-real-time precip/ precip frequency data

NWS PMP and Precip Frequency Documents

NWS Precipitation Archive/Current Data (Daily)

NWS Precipitation Archive/Current Data (Hourly/Daily)

Webinar #10 - Thursday, September 20, 2012

So You Want to Become a Meteorologist?

Dave Changnon - Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, Illinois


This webinar will provide an overview what you should consider as you think about becoming a meteorologist.  Whether you are in high school, thinking of a second career or have always wondered what does it take to become a meteorologist, this webinar is for you.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

"So You Want To Be A Meteorologist?" - Short Document

Webinar #11 - Thursday, October 18, 2012

When Howling Wolves Greet the Northern Lights

Jan Curtis - USDA/NRCS, Portland, Oregon


This webinar will provide an overview of the northern lights (aurora borealis).  You will learn:  Where do they come from?  Where can they be seen?  Can they be predicted?  How high are they?  Can you hear them?  What is the most common color?  Aurora come in various forms and their evolution follow a typical pattern.  Examples of the best northern lights will be shown (taken by Jan over an eight year period from Fairbanks, Alaska).

View the Webinar by clicking here:


Slide Shows:  (my complete weather, astronomy and aurora collection) - Sequence - Rays - Curtains - Energetic - Favorites - General

Webinar #12 -  Thursday, November 8,  2012

Weather Optics - "There are more 'bows' in the sky than just rainbows"

Grant Goodge - Earth Resources Technology, Inc., Laurel, Maryland


This webinar will provide an overview of weather optics and will show many examples of these wonderful phenomena.

"If one takes time to look there are many beautiful displays of light that are formed by the light bent as it passes through or reflected from both rain drops and ice crystals.  Most of these are seen during the day, but some are also seen at night when the moon is more than half full.  Even though the Northern Lights are not produced from sunlight or moonlight, they can also bring great pleasure to the observer. "

View the Webinar by clicking here:


Atmospheric Halos (2006) -- Walter Tape and Jarmo Molianen
Rainbows, Halos and Glories (1980) -- Robert Greenler
Clouds of the World (1972) -- Richard Scorer
Field Guide to North American Weather (1991) -- David Ludlum
Wild About Weather (2004) -- Edward Brotak
The Snowflake, Snowflakes and Field Guide to Snowflakes (2003) -- Kenneth Libbrecht
The Weather Book (1997) -- Jack Williams (USA Today

Webinar #13 -  Thursday, December 13,  2012

Historic Winter Season Weather Events : What's the best of the worst.....

Paul Kocin - NOAA/NWS/Hydrologic Prediction Center, College Park, MD


"Many meteorologists, weather observers, enthusiasts and students are fascinated by weather extremes, whether it be hurricanes, tornadoes and in my case, winter storms. 

In particular, winter storms have driven me for much of my life and have led to a career studying, writing and trying to understand what makes these big storms develop, how well we can forecast them, and what makes them so interesting. While my focus has been on the eastern United States, since that is where I grew up, I would like to present some examples of some of the  biggest winter weather events on record, from the legendary Blizzard of 1888, the Appalachian Storm of November 1950 as well as a brief summary of October 2012's Superstorm Sandy, which morphed from a tropical hurricane to one in which its identity as a hurricane/winter storm was not quite so straight forward with few historical precedents. 

The impacts of these storms make for some compelling stories, both from their huge impacts as well as changes that have occurred in our ability as scientists to forecast them in advance.  These are the stories I'd like to tell.

View the Webinar by clicking here:


Northeast Snowstorms (Volume I: Overview, Volume II: The Cases) - Paul J. Kocin ,  Louis W. Uccellini

Webinar #14 - Thursday, January 17, 2013

Flavors of Climate variability: El Nino, La Nina and Recurring Jet Stream patterns

Gerry Bell, NOAA/CPC, College Park, MD


"This presentation is designed to introduce several major climate phenomena that strongly influence our weather throughout the year, sometimes for decades at a time. Some of these climate patterns are linked to recurring jet stream patterns and are called teleconnections. Another climate phenomenon (El Niño) is linked to tropical Pacific sea surface temperature and rainfall patterns, while yet another is linked to Atlantic sea surface temperature patterns. The nature of these various climate phenomena will be described, and their importance for weather in the U.S. and elsewhere will be shown.  The manner in which various combinations of climate factors interact, along with aspects of their predictability, will also be discussed."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Gerry Bell's presentation slides (3.3MB)


Climate Prediction Center website -

El Nino/ La Nina pages -

Monthly Teleconnections-

Daily Teleconnections -

Atlantic Hurricanes -

Webinar #15 - Thursday, February 7, 2013

"Educated Echoes: An Introduction to Doppler and Dual-polarization Weather Radar

Pat Kennedy, CHILL Radar, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO


"Weather radar images showing the geographic distribution and intensity of precipitation are routinely distributed via both broadcast television and the internet.  These images have historically been based on the strength of the received radar signal (the “echo”).  Recent technological advances have expanded the range of measurements that can be made by National Weather Service (NWS) radars.  These enhanced measurements include radial (Doppler) velocity as well as several additional quantities that have become available through the ongoing NWS upgrade to dual-polarization operations.  This talk will provide a basic introduction to the measurements made by dual-polarization Doppler weather radars.  Example observations collected by the National Science Foundation-sponsored CSU-CHILL radar will be presented."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Pat Kennedy's presentation slides (6.2MB)

Webinar #16 - Thursday, March 7, 2013

"I before E" Except in Drought

Mark Svoboda, NDMC, Lincoln, NE


Drought is one of the least understood, yet most costly of all disasters. This talk will focus on how all droughts are local and how their impacts affect us and the environment around us. Impacts are the face of drought and they expose our vulnerability to this unique hazard. Special attention will be paid to drought early warning and information systems and the integral role networks such as CoCoRaHS play in feeding useful information to those in decision support and policy making. Tools of the trade will be explored to look into the state-of-the-science in tackling drought in the U.S. in a proactive manner.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Mark Svoboda's presentation slides (16MB)

Webinar #17 -
Thursday, April 18, 2013

Forecasting the Ferocious: The How, What, Where and Why of Tornadoes

Greg Carbin,
NOAA/Storm Prediction Center, Norman, OK


"Greg will give an overview of how the Storm Prediction Center forecasts severe weather in general and then concentrate on tornado forecasting specifically. We can learn a lot by looking at the historic record of tornado events in the United States. We also will take a look at why tornadoes form where they do in the U.S. and elsewhere and why twisters are much more common in North America compared to other parts of the world. We’ll finish by looking at the current events during the spring of 2013 and take a look at what’s ahead in terms of tornado forecasting and warning technology."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Greg Carbin's presentation slides (11MB)


Storm Prediction Center Website:

What's a Watch?:

Nova's "Deadliest Tornadoes":

Webinar # 18 -
Thursday, May 9, 2013

At the Cutting Edge: Harry Wexler and the Emergence of Atmospheric Science

Jim Fleming,
Colby College, Waterville, ME


"This presentation tells the story of the emergence of the new interdisciplinary field of atmospheric science in the twentieth century as shaped by the  influences of multiple technologies.  It does so from the perspective of MIT-trained meteorologist Harry Wexler (1911-1962), an American student of the Bergen School of air mass analysis, head of research in the US Weather Bureau, and one of the most influential meteorologists of the twentieth century, whose career spanned the middle decades of the twentieth century.
In the first four decades of the twentieth century, aviation, radio communication and remote sensing, and the needs of two world wars dramatically re-shaped and expanded the meteorological enterprise.  During the Cold War era, new technologies involving atomic energy, digital computing, rocketry and satellites provided meteorologists with powerful tools to study the atmosphere and precipitated fundamental changes in the older traditions of aeronomy, climatology, and weather analysis and forecasting.
Much is to be learned by examining the nexus of new techniques and technologies in the early and middle decades of the twentieth century as they contributed to the transformation of meteorological science, service, and practice into a new synthetic field called “atmospheric science.” Yet the story of the emergence of atmospheric science is so complex, dauntingly so, that it has never been told in its entirety.  By telling the story through Wexler’s eyes, a more personal story can be told."

View the Webinar by clicking here:


Jim's historical books:

Webinar #19 - Thursday, June 13, 2013

Monitoring the Earth's Climate

Deke Arndt,
NOAA/National Climatic Data Center, Asheville, NC


"Monitoring the Earth's climate involves taking today's observations and comparing them with decades to centuries of past observations, and drawing conclusions from these comparisons. At NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, Climate Monitoring is an activity that involves detecting climate change, and designing the indicators that help us do so. But it also involves tracking the week-to-week and month-to-month conditions that more directly impact our lives: drought, heat spells, wet spells in the United States and beyond.

This presentation is designed to help CoCoRaHS observers understand about major climate monitoring efforts going on in NOAA, and how their data fits in! We will review the do's and dont's of climate monitoring, and how datasets are used in the process. We'll also look into recent trends and findings about the state of our climate system and how these may or may not relate to climate change.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Deke Arndt's presentation slides (11MB)


NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC)

NOAA's Climate Page

National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)

Climate Data (sets, stations)

Other information, including monitoring

National Climate Assessment

AMS's Annual State of the Climate Report

AMS Article: Monitoring and Understanding Trends in Extreme Storms: State of Knowledge
Kunkel, Kenneth E., and Coauthors, 2013: Monitoring and Understanding Trends in Extreme Storms: State of Knowledge. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 94, 499–514.

Webinar #20 - Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rainwater Harvesting - Catching and Using It

Billy Kniffen, Vice President and Education Coordinator, American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association (ARCSA), Menard, TX


Contact Billy at:

"This month's Webinar will discuss the process used to collect rainwater from a rain barrel to whole house to commercial size installations. We will discuss the sizing requirements, conveyance, collection tanks, per-filtration/screening, and delivering the water when needed by bgoth gravity and pump pressure. We will discuss supply and demand and finally use of rainwater for irrigation, pets, wildlife, water features and in-home potable and non-potable use."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Billy Kniffen's presentation slides (14MB)


American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association

Rainwater Harvesting - Texas A&M Agrilife Extension

Rainwater Collection in Colorado

90,400 drops of water = one gallon of water
One inch (1.00") of rainwater over an area of one square foot = 0.6 gallons of water

Webinar #21 - Thursday, August 15, 2013

Atlantic basin seasonal hurricane prediction and the forecast for the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season

Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO


Contact Phil at:

"The methodology behind Colorado State University's seasonal hurricane forecasts will be discussed.  The initial outlook for the 2013 hurricane season will also be presented.  New techniques for issuing two-week forecasts and Caribbean basin forecasts will be examined, and the causes of observed multi-decadal variability in Atlantic basin hurricane activity will be proposed."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Phil Klotzbach's presentation slides (8MB)


CSU Forecast Website

CSU Landfalling Hurricane Website

National Hurricane Center Website

Webinar #22 -
Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Hundred Hunt for the Red Sprite

Walt Lyons,
FMA Research, Inc., Fort Collins, CO

This Webinar has not been recorded due to the copyrighted nature of the material presented.
To learn more about the subject of sprites, please visit:

Webinar #23 - Thursday, October 17,  2013

Meteorological Instruments -- Everything you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask!

Stephen Burt,
Univ. of Reading, Reading, UK


Stephen’s webinar covers the basics of making and archiving weather observations with consumer-level weather stations and readily-available weather instruments. The topics include choosing and using weather stations, how best to expose your instruments for best results, and specific guidance on measuring air temperature and humidity, precipitation, atmospheric pressure and wind speed and direction. The session closes with a few pointers on how best to collect and make use of your weather station data.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Stephen Burt's presentation slides (2.8MB)


The Weather Observer's Handbook by Stephen Burt
Available at or Cambridge University Press

NCDC CRN site:

Webinar #24 - Wednesday, November  6,  2013

Weather Modification: Does the seeding of clouds enhance precipitation? An old question revisited

Bart Geerts,
Univ. of Wyoming, Laramie, WY


"Back in the 1960’s through 1980’s, much research was conducted into advertent modification of weather. The Weather Channel’s recent documentary series “Hacking the Planet” gives a good survey of the ideas that were tested back then.  Federal support for this work essentially ceased some 25 years ago in the US, not because of environmental or ethical concerns, but rather because of the difficulty of signal detection in the “noise’ of natural variability. Amidst this state of uncertainty, commercial interests in the United States and across the world have continued to invest in cloud seeding, mainly to increase precipitation.
In recent years the State of Wyoming has embarked on an ambitious project, the Wyoming Weather Modification Pilot Project. This is the most rigorous effort to date to determine the impact of ground-based glaciogenic cloud seeding on snowfall over Wyoming’s mountains. New observational tools and high-performance computing power now exist to revisit this old question. This talk will explain the basic physics behind weather modification, and it will survey cloud seeding efforts from the early days to the recent revival."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Bart Geert's presentation slides (5.9MB)


The Weather Modification Association:

National Research Council 2003 report “Critical Issues in Weather Modification Research”:

The AgI Seeding Cloud Impact Investigation (ASCII):

SPECIAL WEBINAR - Thursday,  November 14,  2013

"A Review of Significant Weather Events Occurring in 2013"

Greg Carbin,
NOAA/Storm Prediction Center, Norman, OK


"Greg will present an overview of hazardous weather episodes impacting life and property within the United States during 2013. Selected events will be presented in quasi-chronological order and described with photos, maps, and loops of satellite and radar data. While many of the events selected for this talk captured the attention of the media and public, some of these "meteorological memories" may have been forgotten as more substantial weather events occurred throughout the year. This review will highlight some of the "big stories", as well as smaller short-term events. The presentation will include descriptions of significant and deadly weather events of the past year including winter storms, tornadoes and floods. Along with the meteorological set-up for each event, an impact summary will also be provided.

Given the national scope and varied responsibilities of the Storm Prediction Center, high impact weather events, ranging from severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreaks to wildfires and winter storms, are analyzed and forecast regularly. These responsibilities provide the SPC forecaster with a unique opportunity to interpret data related to extreme weather across the nation. This diversified  experience, and the availability of large, high-resolution, archived datasets, provide for this type of informative presentation."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Greg Carbin's presentation slides (5.2MB)


Storm Prediction Center Website:

Webinar #25
- Thursday,  December 5,  2013

Climate Change, Ecology, and Disease Emergence – A Public Health Perspective

Ben Beard
Chief, Bacterial Diseases Branch, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, NCEZID Centers for Disease Control, Fort Collins, CO


"Vector-borne diseases are diseases that are transmitted by mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas. Most of these illnesses are also zoonoses, meaning that they are harbored naturally by wild and sometimes domestic animals. Examples of these diseases include West Nile virus infection, Lyme disease, plague, and rabies. Vector-borne and zoonotic diseases have a strong link to the environment. As environmental conditions change, it is likely that certain diseases will occur in areas where they previously had not been seen.  Likewise, we also expect that these same diseases may become less important in places where they have been of great importance historically. In the U.S., it remains unclear exactly how climate change may impact the distribution and occurrence of existing infectious diseases, as well as the introduction and establishment of exotic disease agents. Research and surveillance that is underway, however, will help address these important questions. The best preparation we can take now to prevent and adapt to emerging infectious disease threats related to climate change is to continue an investment in infectious disease surveillance and maintain a strong public health system so that when diseases occur in new areas, they will be quickly detected and reported, allowing prevention and control activities to be rapidly and effectively mobilized."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Ben Beard's presentation slides (9.8MB)


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC's Climate and Health Program

Webinar #26 - Thursday, January 16,  2014

The Hydrologic Cycle: How River Forecast Centers Measure the Parts

Greg Story
NOAA/NWS/West Gulf River Forecast Center, Fort Worth, TX


Greg's presentation will take a look at all aspects of the hydrologic cycle. Questions to be answered include: Which parts of the hydrologic cycle can be measured directly? Which parts of the cycle are estimated? And, which part of the cycle is sampled the least and is the most difficult to estimate? One component of this presentation will be an explanation of what tools hydrometeorologists use to measure or estimate the hydrologic cycle, and where CoCoRaHS observations fit into this process.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Greg Story's presentation slides (8.5MB)


Daily Precip Estimates —

Hydrologic information and forecasts —

Hourly precipitation amounts from the RFC's —

All the RFC's web pages —

The National Atlas Streamer Map

Webinar #27 - Thursday, February 20, 2014

Life as a climatologist – what the heck does a climatologist do?

Ryan Boyles
North Carolina State Climatologist
North Carolina Climate Center, Raleigh, NC


"Keep hearing the rants of these so-called “climatologists”? Ever wondered what they really do?  Ryan Boyles will talk about the life of a climatologist, including the topics that gets him excited, and the ones the make him roll his eyes.  Come listen and ask the questions you never knew you had. Ryan welcomes any mud you want to throw at him, but only if you can precisely measure how much rainfall was used to make the mud."

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Ryan Boyles' presentation slides (8.1MB)


American Association of State Climatologists

AMS Committee on Applied Climatology

Webinar #28 -
Thursday, March 27, 2014

Keeping an eye on the Blue Marble: How NASA studies Earth’s weather, climate and hydrology from space

Dalia Kirschbaum
Physical Scientist
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD


Erik Conway
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Pasadena, CA

You may think of NASA as an organization that sends astronauts into space and studies stars and galaxies.  In fact, NASA also has a long tradition of studying our very own planet Earth, including its weather, climate and hydrology.  In this webinar, you will learn about NASA's history with weather and climate observations, both from existing satellites and aircraft, as well as some of the five Earth science missions set to launch in 2014.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Dalia Kirschbaum's presentation slides (7MB)

View Erik Conway's presentation slides (2MB)


NASA's GPM Mission

Earth Right Now

Webinar #29 - Thursday, April 17,  2014

Air Quality: Local, Regional, and Global Perspectives

Sonia Kreidenweis
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO


While air quality in many parts of the world has been steadily improving in past decades, many challenges remain. In this talk we will take a look at the major air pollutants that are regulated in the United States and why they made the list. Some of the atmospheric chemistry that contributes to pollution levels will be discussed. We will conclude the discussion with an overview of some of the websites that provide information about daily air quality as well as forecasts for the US and other countries.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Sonia Kreidenweis's presentation slides (34MB)


Air Quality Awareness Week: April 28 – May 2, 2014
Learn about all air-related issues: EPA
EPA: Learn-about-air
Learn about the criteria pollutants
Today’s AQI forecast: AirNow
The AQI Calculator (input an observation and have it translated into AQI, along with interpretation)
Synthesis of datasets and daily narratives about US air quality events: The Smog Blog

“One-stop shopping” for many air-quality-related datasets, real-time and archived: DataFed
Read about Los Angeles’ history of discovering and remedying poor air quality (published March 1997)
Information on global air quality issues and health impacts: World Health Organization

Global satellite imagery of events such as dust storms, fires: NASA

NOAA's Air Quality Forecasts

American Lung Association's State of the Air

Aircasting (device that plugs into an Android Phone)

Cornell's Citizen Science Central Air Quality Projects

Webinar #30 - Friday, May 2,  2014

Aviation Meteorology:  All you ever wanted to know . . . topics from what causes clear air turbulence to how airports’ traffic flow is impacted by weather.

Mike Bardou
Lead Forecaster/Aviation Program Leader
National Weather Service Chicago/Romeoville
Romeoville, IL


Robb Kaczmarek
National Weather Service Aviation Meteorologist
NOAA/NWS/Chicago Air Route Traffic Control Center
Aurora, IL


NWS meteorologists Mike Bardou and Robb Kaczmarek will discuss some of the weather factors which result in hazards to aviation.  This will include a brief discussion of aircraft icing and turbulence from a perspective that you may not be familiar with.  They will also discuss how different weather parameters impact commercial air travel, as well as how conditions at one airport can affect air travel across the country.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Mike and Robb's
presentation slides


National Weather Service   
(You can drill down to get NWS in your local area and if you drill down further to within a town/county view.. at the bottom right you will see the “hourly weather graph” and get hourly data.)

Wind data - Surface and Aloft (viewing winds) (another option, wind data aloft)

Surface weather maps
(regional weather maps) (change location … Select ARTCC Map)

NWS online weather school

Webinar #31 - Thursday, June 19,  2014

Waterspouts: The Wet-Whirlwind Cousin to the Tornado

Joseph H. Golden
Golden Research & Consulting
Boulder, CO


This presentation will show many spectacular slides and video of waterspouts around the world, including the Mediterranean and the world’s waterspout capital, the Florida Keys. Our speaker, Joseph Golden will talk about new technology for probing waterspouts and computer models that can simulate waterspout-like vortices. Finally our speaker will show video clips of some notable waterspout encounters, including some that were filmed during an expedition that he led for National Geographic to the Keys.  If you are interested in waterspouts, you don’t want to miss this Webinar!

View the Webinar by clicking here:


The International Centre For Waterspout Research (ICWR)

American Meteorological Society Journal Articles on Waterspouts:
"Life Cycle of Florida Keys' Waterspouts. I" - Joseph Golden
"Scale-Interaction Implications for the Waterspout Life Cycle. II" - Joseph Golden
"Waterspouts and Tornadoes over South Florida" - Joseph Golden
"An Assessment of Waterspout Frequencies along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts" - Joseph Golden
"Hawaiian Waterspouts and Tornadoes"  - Thomas Schroeder
"Multiple Waterspouts on Lake Tahoe" - Richard Grotjahn
"A Great Salt Lake Waterspout" - Simpson et al

Twin Water Spouts - YouTube
Double waterspouts spotted over Lake Michigan - YouTube

*For you safety do not approach a waterspout - these people do not realize the danger.
These actions are the exact opposite of what one should do when encountering a waterspout.
Don't get this close to a waterspout - YouTube*
Another foolish encounter with a waterspout - YouTube*
Boating trough a waterspout*

Webinar #32 - Thursday, July 24, 2014

Space Weather:  What is it and why should you care?

Rodney Viereck
Director, Space Weather Prediction Testbed
NOAA/Space Weather Prediction Center 
Boulder, CO


This presentation will include a review of some of the basics of space weather.  Starting with the sun and solar flares and then moving through the solar wind and the Earth’s magnetosphere, our speaker, Rodney Viereck will describe how space weather storms are formed and evolve until they arrive at Earth.   The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center provides alerts, watches, and warnings of space weather storms to a number of customer groups and technologies.  Rodney will describe how a forecaster forecasts space weather storms and describe what happens when they arrive at Earth.  What are the impacts and what technologies are affected?  Who are the customers for space weather products and services and why do they care.  And finally, whether it is flying in airplanes, using GPS satellite navigation, or trying to see the Aurora, Rodney will review some of the ways that the public might experience space weather.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Rodney Viereck's presentation slides (19MB)


NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center

Space Weather Prediction Center's Product Subscription Service (Receive alerts)

Dance of the Spirits: Incredible Real Time Northern Lights from Jan 24 Solar Storm

Webinar #33 - Thursday, August 14, 2014

Weather CSI - Forensic Meteorology

Pam Knox
Agricultural Climatologist
Crop and Soil Sciences Department
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
University of Georgia
Athens, GA


Television shows featuring detectives who use cutting-edge science to solve crimes are among the most popular programs on television today.  But did you know there are weather detectives, too?  Certified consulting meteorologists are often called on to help determine the causes of accidents for court cases, and sometimes even solve serious crimes.  Any lawyer with a case that has weather as a contributing factor can enlist a forensic meteorologist to help determine whether a particular weather condition was occurring at the time of an accident and what impact it had on the event.    In this talk, we will look at the role of meteorologists as expert witnesses and see some examples of the kinds of questions they need to answer in a typical weather- or climate-related case.

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View Pam Knox's presentation slides (6.2MB)


How to find a Certified Consulting Meteorologist in your area: CCM

Webinar #34
- Thursday, September 11, 2014

"A day in the life of a NWS Forecast Office"

John Gordon
National Weather Service Forecast Office
Louisville, KY


The National Weather Service (NWS) is a dedicated team of professional meteorologists, hydrologists, and technicians providing critical weather information to the public and many public and private organizations. Our primary goal is the protection of life and property through the issuance of timely and accurate watches and warnings for all types of hazards from tornadoes to hurricanes to blizzards. In fact, the NWS is the United States sole official voice for issuing potentially life-threatening warnings. We also issue routine forecasts for the public, aviators, and fire weather specialists for the enhancement of the national economy. All NWS data are freely available.
This Webinar will go over what the NWS does before, during, and after a major severe weather event and contrast this with what happens on a normal weather day.  We’ll discuss key personnel such as the electronic technician, hydrologist, Information Technology Officer, Science and Operations Officer, and Warning Coordination Meteorologist and what they do do on a day to day basis.  
Check out the National Weather Service’s web site at

View the Webinar by clicking here:

View John Gordon's presentation slides (10.5MB)


The National Weather Service Homepage