Students, scientists collaborate to track severe storms

K-12 students are teaming up with government scientists and forecasters to monitor the effects of severe weather events in their communities. On Tuesday, May 9, from 2-3 p.m. ET, Dr. Joe Schaefer, Director of the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., will host a Web chat with GLOBE students, discussing how they can help provide crucial data for forecasting, tracking and monitoring severe storms.

GLOBE students in thousands of United States schools take a regular set of weather and other environmental measurements following scientific protocols. Under the guidance of trained teachers, students collect data in the areas of atmosphere, hydrology, land cover and soils. The students post their data on the World Wide Web at for use by scientists to increase understanding of Earth’s environment. Scientists are using the GLOBE student data for a variety of studies, such as the validation of satellite images used to track seasonal and long-term changes in land cover and the identification of microclimates that experience small-scale variations in temperature and precipitation.

Dr. Schaefer has done extensive work on forecasting techniques, tornado climatology, forecast verification and the application of technology to forecasting. His scientific interests focus on synoptic and mesoscale meteorology. In 1990, Dr. Schaefer received a Department of Commerce Bronze Medal for his warning verification work, and in 1993 he received an American Meteorological Society editors award.

Reporters are invited to follow the Web Chat by linking to and following the links from the home page.

GLOBE is an interagency program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Departments of Education and State. Over 85 countries have signed bilateral agreements to also allow their schools to participate in GLOBE.