"We Love STEM!!" -- Until Someone Actually Does It



Three of numerous NWS pro-STEM items on the web.
Hoo-boy, this is one I dislike writing. I'm going to try to keep it mostly on the light-hearted side.

This morning, there was a minor kerfuffle on Twitter, X, or whatever they are calling themselves this month, from various people -- including some employed by the National Weather Service (NWS) -- who were upset that teenagers are -- gasp! -- putting their weather forecasts and weather maps on Twitter. Even worse, in their eyes, the students were relaying NWS storm warnings -- for which I thought the NWS wanted the widest distribution possible.

Once these were posted, others began piling on -- 69, so far. Some encouraging the students, most not. 

Just a minute, everyone!

Didn't the NWS take the position last spring, and every spring, "we love STEM and want to encourage students to consider science careers"? So, why discourage students who are doing just that?

Full disclosure: I was a teenage amateur meteorologist!  [second gasp]
When I was 16, I started a group of other teenage amateur meteorologists to collect our temperature and rain gage readings over the vast Kansas City metro area (then, by geography, the second largest metro area in the U.S.), make our forecasts and report them on KMBZ Radio, then the #1 radio station in KC. We called it "Metropolitan Weather Service."

The late Allen Pearson (then head of the NWS in Kansas City) had similar concerns. He expressed them to the radio station and asked us to submit our 2- period temperature forecasts to him for verification. The radio station asked us to do so. So, we did. The first two months, the NWS was ahead. The third month, we were more accurate than the NWS. As you can imagine, that quickly ended the verification project!
Dennis Smith
Metropolitan Weather Service launched a successful career for me; for Dennis Smith (no relation), one of the founding meteorologists of The Weather Channel; as well as for Tim Cox whose life was cut short by cancer. 

So, given my excellent start by doing broadcast weather (roughly the equivalent of today's social media), I don't see the harm in amateur meteorologists posting forecasts, weather maps, and other information on Twitter, Facebook or whatever, with one important exception: They should not be doing their own storm "warnings." Leave that term to the NWS. The students absolutely should post their age in their Twitter profile. Readers should keep an informal record of their forecasts in their heads. If they aren't any good, go elsewhere.

Suggestion to adult meteorologists: taking them under your wing would be a better approach than condemnations.

Comments

  1. Sounds like a possible Mentoring project? Maybe some type of HeadShip to oversee and unite these future meteroligists 🤔
    echo, echo, echo'ing Mike's past.

    ReplyDelete

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