The Unidata Monthly Newsletter

September 2004, Issue 5


Community News

Bowling Green State University

Bowling Green State University (Ohio) is a relatively small site with a meteorology program the same size: small. But BGSU is playing a big role in the Unidata community. As a first step, BGSU site representative Patrick Francis became part of the the Unidata community (now some 150 sites) and signed on to receive the entire suite of data in the IDD data stream. Next, he created a BGSU weather presence. Though intended as a resource for his students, Pat hopes it will become an effective tool for students at universities nation-wide.

An increased level of community service is part of Pat's plan as well. He is exploring the possibility of installing a NOAAport dish at BGSU which would position the university to act as an ingest site; and he stored all of the Level III radar data from Hurricane Ivan to aid those who may have lost the data due to prolonged power outages during the hurricane event. He assists other schools with small- to non-existent meteorology programs by sharing data and leading trips to observe interesting weather events in his immediate area. (An image from one trip is shown at right. The photograph was made by BGSU student, Summer Arnold.) Other photographs made during these trips are found here.

BGSU has positioned itself to play a significant role in the Unidata community. We are pleased to acknowledge its work

[NOTE: the editor is indebted to the BGSU News student paper for some of the information contained above.]

Comings and Goings

Shadow Day

Lauren Meis knew that she and staff member Jeff Weber had something in common before she visited the Unidata Program Center. Both are passionate about weather. She made that determination during an Education and Outreach Program-arranged telephone interview. Based on that conversation, Lauren decided to "shadow" Jeff for a day to learn more about what a career in a weather-related field looked like. She watched Jeff as he answered support e-mail, as he created new Level II topologies, and watched an incoming storm using GEMPAK. Finally, she and Jeff toured the Program Center where she was introduced to other staff members to give her some sense of how Jeff's work fits in the overall program

The visit was sponsored by "Big Picture High School" through a metropolitan Denver high school.


NetCDF was on the minds of recent visitors from Japan to the program center. While the visit focused on netCDF their interest extended to other topics that included OPeNDAP/DODS and THREDDS. They were also curious about Unidata's community support, its history, and its formative years. Shown at right in the first row are visitors: Masato Shiotani, Yasuhiro Morikawa, Masaki Ishiwatari, Takeshi Horinouchi, and Yoshi-Yuki Hayashi, while Russ Rew and Ethan Davis are in the second row.

Staff members met with the visitors over a two-day period to provide answers to some of their questions. Unidata director, Mohan Ramamurthy presented an overview of Unidata while John Caron provided a presentation on the development of a new Common Data Model and the netCDF Java interface. Don Murray demo'ed the IDV. Ethan Davis led a discussion on DODS/OPenDAP and on THREDDS as well. Takeshi made a presentation on data analysis and visualization tool development.

The group is part of the GFD-Dennou Club which is a volunteer-based grass-roots project made up of atmospheric, physical oceanographic, and planetary fluid scientists interested in aspects of computer use in geophysical fluid dynamics. "Dennou" is a "euphemistic expression for electronic computers". Two of the founders of the GFD Dennou group, Yoki-Yushi Hayashi and Masato Shiotani, were part of the delegation that visited Unidata.

Their work with netCDF includes hosting a mirror site for netCDF software and documentation; translating the netCDF User Guides and other documentation; establishing a Fortran90-based I/O library and set of netCDF conventions for numerical modeling; and developing and maintaining the Ruby interface for netCDF.

NetCDF developer Russ Rew organized and coordinated the visit as well as making two separate presentations on netCDF 3.6 and on netCDF-4/HDF5.

Committee News

Newly appointed members to each of Unidata's governing committees will be attending their first meeting in October. The Users Committee, meeting October 7-8, 2004 in Boulder will welcome: Kevin Knupp (University of Alabama-Huntsville) and Gary Lackman (North Carolina State University) to its ranks. Steve Businger (University of Hawaii), James Koermer (Plymouth State University), and Paul Ruscher (Florida State University) will join the Policy Committee as new members for the fall meeting October 25-26, at the National Science Foundation headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

Unidata's governing committees facilitate consensus building for future directions for the program and establish standards of involvement for the community. An e-mailed request for nominations to committee membership goes out to the entire Unidata community from the Policy Committee chair in mid- to late-June. Self-nominations are welcomed as are nominations by other community members. The committees strive for distributed geographic, demographic, and discipline representation.

Software Training Workshops

Unidata's fall training workshops begin on October 18, 2004 and finish up November second. All take place in the conference room at the Program Center. Although this year's workshops are fully subscribed with a total of 39 participants, you may want to review the workshop announcement for future reference.

Registrants reflect Unidata's growing international flavor. Six are from Latin American countries which undoubtedly demonstrates the effectiveness of the MeteoForum effort.

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