Lab and Field Skills
The demanding field of meteorology requires more than a theoretical understanding of the scientific principles that create weather — mastery of the techniques and technology that enable forecasting and research is essential.
Valpo meteorology students have multiple opportunities to work with state-of-the-art equipment in both coursework and extracurricular activities, and the program is proud of its record of training graduates who are ready to work in the field immediately upon graduation.
In this high-tech laboratory, students gain hands-on experience and provide weather information and forecasts for Northwest Indiana. An open space surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass windows, the Center offers individual work space as well as areas suited for group work and discussion. The spectacular views are enhanced by an impressive array of meteorological equipment, including the following:
- 20 dual-monitor computer work stations using Linux OS
- Live data from a 33-foot (10-meter) instrumented tower
- UNIDATA and GEMPAK data retrieval and display systems
- Live data feed from Valpo’s dual-polarization Doppler radar
- Hand-held sensors and computers for field projects
- Portable wind instrumentation
A 1 MW 5-cm simultaneous dual-polarization Doppler radar, located on the west side of campus, is used for student research and coursework.
Weather Observation Deck
The weather observation deck, adjacent to the weather center and meteorology classrooms, offers an unobstructed view of the southern and western horizon. From the observation deck and the windows in the Weather Center, it is possible to observe all 360 degrees of the sky from the second floor of Kallay-Christopher Hall. The Radiosonde Launcher is also located on the weather observation deck.
Portable and fixed InterMet Radiosonde systems track weather balloon radiosondes and retrieve the atmospheric data in real time. Students launch weather balloons from the Radiosonde Launcher, from the weather observation deck, and in the field. Used for coursework and student research, the sounding data can be found on the Valpo Meteorology Weather Web page.
An automated radiosonde launcher automatically inflates weather balloons and launches instrument packages from the weather observation deck.
A Dodge Ram crew cab pickup, used during summer storm chases, is outfitted with a variety of instrumentation during field studies.
Total Sky Imager
Located on the roof of Kallay-Christopher Hall, the Yankee Environmental Services Total Sky Imager takes pictures of the entire sky that can be used to measure cloud cover.
Weather TV Studio
Located in nearby Schnabel Hall and connected to Kallay-Christopher Hall by a glass walkway, the Weather Studio outfitted with WSI TruVu software emulates the environment of many professional broadcast studios. The Weather Studio gives meteorology students the opportunity to learn the technical aspects as well as the art of TV weather broadcasting.
- Surface and upper air observation of temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and atmospheric pressure
- Use of meteorological instruments, including temperature sensors, barometers, and radiosonde packages that accompany weather balloons, with an understanding of the limits of each instrument, data quality, and potential sources of error
- Analysis and understanding of atmospheric observing systems such as Doppler radar, wind profilers, and satellites
- Modeling techniques and software
- Use of computer programming to analyze meteorological processes such as convection, advection, phase changes, etc.
- Visualization of data
- Temporal and spatial statistical analysis of atmospheric and geographic data sets
- Presentation and communication of atmospheric phenomena and processes