Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cloud streets

I am reading now some papers on horizontal convective roll clouds, street clouds and other similar shallow structures and how they can interact with other phenomena like the sea breeze.
The first image is about what an ignorant could think about a cloud street; the second image is what radar iamges show very often but people do not know what they are looking at (convective rolls) , the third one is a nice one from satellite Terra, with streets over the Black Sea, the last one is an airplane view of the street structure, maybe the closer to our sense of Nature. True. Meteorology is a lucky science where concepts get to a structure that can be "seen".

I struggle to find a language that can ease the process of learning, to avoid difficult math and to build concepts beyond equations. But... there are concepts that reveal only with hard work and math.
The two last days I have advanced only two pages in my reading and my conclusion is that many forecasters might have only "cartoons" and nice images in their minds... and do their jobs in the same way a gipsy "musicant" can play violin without ever seeing scores. In the same way, there are composers that never played a piece. But art and science have a different consequence of "amateurism". Art is gentle with amateurism and kitsch.
How deep do we want to go in our profession depends on how much we need a "profession" or we just want to remain "amateurs". Is the difference between a "profession" and a "job".
Of course, amateurs can be much better payed, jobs can have a role in society, but... the real advance of our society has been done through the long effort of people conceptualizing, working hard, creating new theories for days and years in a row.
There is a "natural" selection among professionals: the real ones remain for research at any price, the amateurs go for better "jobs".
I remember a cross moment in my life when I had to choose between arts and physics, and I understand now that arts wouldn't have been enough for me, that I am a better artist now, as an amateur artist, than the professional artist I would have been without my professional work in science.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Education in Radar Meteorology

I am reading now a radar monography book, a collection of essays in honor of David Atlas. Leaving apart the joy of reading a book in nice format and good paper, it has some great overviews that really help understanding where we are in radar. My favourite is a paper on Some Educational Innovation in Radar Meteorology, by Steven Rutledge and V. Chandrasekar (I do not know why one is listed with the whole first name and the other only with initial, maybe because the very known name of the second author is simply, the great "Chandra").

Reading this paper a lot of ideas come into my mind to improve my training in radar. Is that kind of work that gives you real hints on what you can do, if you REALLY want to change something in good. "There is no replacement for direct experience when it comes to radar meteorological education" is one of the ... conclusions they start with after a survey among students. Of course there is a lot we can do via internet to simulate "hands on" experience.

I was thinking to bring a mobile radar during the pre-conference ERAD 2010 course in Sibiu, and organize few sessions of real experience.

I was thinking at the enthousiasm that is always coming out from the field work of radar people (in the image, Rita Roberts and Jim Wilson on high resolution refractivity (moisture) data), how they present their results "hot", just taken out from fresh fiels data, and how could I develop a serial sessions that could be held in different universities in Romania, a real radar on wheels from door to door.

Well, maybe if I buy a mobile radar for the met service and organize it, or if I buy my own radar and travel with it around... well, I do not drive, but I could arrange it with students that drive.
Well, look what a good paper can do !