Meteorology students in Professor Craig Clark’s Research Topics class have benefited from Valpo’s inimitable weather patterns. In fall 2013 the class spent an entire semester studying a weather phenomenon Northwest Indiana knows well: lake-effect snow.
“Lake-effect snow tends to form in several different categories,” says Andrew Vande Guchte ’14, one of Professor Clark’s students. “One of these is a bunch of small little bands that come across the lake from west to east. Another category is a large, single band that goes along the west coast of Michigan. Then there’s the band that goes directly down the middle of the lake, and that’s what would give us snow.”
The class’ research focused on plotting the decline of November snowfall in the past decade, and their work caught the attention of the Chicago chapter of the National Weather Service.
“We were invited to speak to a group of National Weather Service members, some broadcast meteorologists, and other members of the professional community,” says Alison Young ’15, another member of the project.
“It helps the National Weather Service because they don’t have the ability to create climatology like this, and we find it fascinating,” says Zach Sefcovic ’14, who, in addition to his work on the team, is also president of Valpo’s student chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS).