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negative-nao

What is the Best School to Learn about Weather?

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Are you serious in looking for meteorology/atmospheric science universities? IMO the best is usually smaller universities and ones where you can find good in-state tuition. Broad answer, but your question was also very broad. If you can give more information, I can give more as well.

I went to the University of North Dakota, and I really enjoyed it since the student/teacher ratio was low and we had great interaction with all our professors. We also had a great research oriented group of professors from diverse backgrounds but also a good mix of forecasting/research/broadcast career paths available. We also had a local NWS right next to the university that gave us good opportunities to volunteer and further expand our resume/experience--something I highly recommend if you ever wish to work in the government some day as a meteorologist.

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I'd be interested to hear what others say. I have a BS in Accounting and will go back to get my MBA eventually but I enjoy following the weather as a hobby. I know the basics but would like to learn more - I was looking at some 101, etc classes at local community colleges. I'm not even sure if that'd be worth it though.

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I received my Met BS at SUNY Oswego...with excellent professors and a low teacher to student ratio (4:1 with some classes) you get an excellent opportunity to learn. Plus, the weather there is quite interesting to boot!

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IIRC, you're from New Jersey? (Correct me if I'm wrong). If that's the case I'm going to have to go with the plug for RU here. In-state tuition, big university but a moderately sized meteorology program where you can still get personal attention, and increasingly good professors along with tons of opportunities for internships, etc.

In the end, though, assuming you're talking about going (back?) to school, as long as you go to a "good" and well respected school, you should be fine. Tuition and campus life, among other things, are definitely important to take into consideration. The differences in the "goodness" between OU vs. PSU vs. WI, etc. are small in the grand scheme of things.

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I would think most people with an interest in weather (general knowledge, climate, observing & forecasting) would do a good job learning weather on their own, through textbooks, sites like this and others. There are plenty of forecasters I know that don't have a formal meteorology education, yet they are very knowledgeable.

Formal education in colleges and universities is nice, but I don't think it is necessary unless someone wanted to be a professional meteorologist or researcher. In my opinion, the math and physics are likely difficult to learn at home, but as far as general knowledge for a hobby or interest it would be cheaper and more enjoyable to go at your own pace and learn what you want.

There is no "best" school. Some schools emphasize specific topics in meteorology, some schools have better equipment, better student:teacher ratios, etc., but I don't think there is a best school. I went to SUNY Albany, it had it's positives & negatives, just like anywhere else.

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Everyone is a comedian !

Sorry, couldn't resist that one. :lol:

I'm not sure if there is such thing as a "best" school to study met. There are many good met programs out there big and small. If I were you, I'd narrow it down to location first.

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I would think most people with an interest in weather (general knowledge, climate, observing & forecasting) would do a good job learning weather on their own, through textbooks, sites like this and others. There are plenty of forecasters I know that don't have a formal meteorology education, yet they are very knowledgeable.

Formal education in colleges and universities is nice, but I don't think it is necessary unless someone wanted to be a professional meteorologist or researcher. In my opinion, the math and physics are likely difficult to learn at home, but as far as general knowledge for a hobby or interest it would be cheaper and more enjoyable to go at your own pace and learn what you want.

There is no "best" school. Some schools emphasize specific topics in meteorology, some schools have better equipment, better student:teacher ratios, etc., but I don't think there is a best school. I went to SUNY Albany, it had it's positives & negatives, just like anywhere else.

Bingo. People fail to realize that meteorology is an applied physics and mathematics science. We go from nearly 200 freshmen to less than 50 graduates after 4 years at OU.

To answer your question, there is no best meteorology school. Each school has it specialties. Penn State's is Synoptic meteorology. At OU, we specialize is radar meteorology. We have almost every type of radar, from the ancient WSR-57 to the phased array radar.

As said before, there are positives and negatives to each school. We are a small school, only about 300 undergrad. So, the classes are fairly personal but classes are only offered once per year. So, if you miss or fail a class, you're automatically stuck in school for an extra year.

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I'd be interested to hear what others say. I have a BS in Accounting and will go back to get my MBA eventually but I enjoy following the weather as a hobby. I know the basics but would like to learn more - I was looking at some 101, etc classes at local community colleges. I'm not even sure if that'd be worth it though.

If you are looking to simply learn more without actually working in the field, there really is no reason to spend the cash to go to college unless you have it lying around. Most of the advanced learning in meteorology comes late in the Jr/Sr years and through internships. Start with some good Intro to Met books first, then decide if you want to continue with more in-depth stuff. Let me know if you do; I can recommend good books.

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I always hear people mention Penn State as a good school? Is Rutgers just as good ?

In all honesty, don't buy into the "OU/Penn State" is the best. It truly matters what fits your own specifications the best. I could argue quite easily that both those universities are worse for a lot of students because of their size. It really depends on what you are looking for. There really is no perfect undergrad program though.

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In all honesty, don't buy into the "OU/Penn State" is the best. It truly matters what fits your own specifications the best. I could argue quite easily that both those universities are worse for a lot of students because of their size. It really depends on what you are looking for. There really is no perfect undergrad program though.

I've worked with people from OU/Penn State/Wisconsin/Arizona(no longer has an undergrad program)...and lets just say, everything they learned about forecasting came from myself, other experienced co-workers, or through air force training etc.....Penn State is/was the most forecast based of all those ones I listed...the bigger schools simply are more theory/math generally...schools like San Jose State, SUNY Albany/Brockport/Oneonta/Oswego, Millersville, Rutgers, FSU, and NIU are ones that through the years I've found and heard many graduates stated there was a decent amount of forecast instruction...of course this is second hand information and may have changed as the programs evolved.

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In state options are what I would look at first, smaller schools are nice too. I'm impartial to my old school but Central Michigan University is a nice option that has an up and coming Meteorology program.

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If you are looking to simply learn more without actually working in the field, there really is no reason to spend the cash to go to college unless you have it lying around. Most of the advanced learning in meteorology comes late in the Jr/Sr years and through internships. Start with some good Intro to Met books first, then decide if you want to continue with more in-depth stuff. Let me know if you do; I can recommend good books.

i would be interested in looking at those books just let me know what they are.

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I graduated with a Met degree from NC State. It is a larger school but the program didn't feel that way. I enjoyed my time there and in your senior year you have a shot to work at the NWS office as a student intern as the Raleigh office is on campus. Additionally the State Climate Office is on campus too (same building as NWS) and they offer paid positions for their projects. I did this too and that was a very enjoyable experience. The issue these days with any school is just how budget cuts will impact things.

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My FSU experience dates from the early 1990's, and back then, there was no specific class in weather forecasting (which PSU apparently has). FSU's version was Daily Weather Map, where a professor talked about the current weather and what the models were depicting for the future. Sure, most universities (like FSU) have a local and national forecasting contest which are linked city-wise, but to me, that doesn't constitute that a university (such as FSU) was based upon weather forecasting. When I was there, it was basically individual learning through attempting to forecast on your own, though in the days pre-internet, most of the undergrads (and some grad students) used to gather in the map room and discuss the forecast amongst themselves, which was helpful. I heard this changed in the mid 1990's though due to the internet's rapid expansion, and that forecasting became a much more personal, individual, exercise at FSU. Granted, I won the local forecast contest twice (never won the national), but that was based mostly on individual learning, not via any university class per se. The classes at FSU were there for the theoretical foundation of your understanding, not for day-to-day weather forecasting. That could have changed since 1994, however, and particularly since the NWS moved to campus around 1999.

I agree with the others who previously said than you can learn much more through individual personal observations on a day-to-day basis over a few years than most colleges will ever teach you. Looking at the sky and current conditions on a regular basis won't teach you how to interpret the models, but it can give you an idea of when your local forecast could be wrong within a 12-48 hours time frame, depending on the weather pattern. And if you couple your observations with model output statistics (MOS), you'll be able to note regular biases within that dataset, and be able to correct for them locally. There's nothing inherently wrong with basing a forecast on statistics, because statistical methods are normally the first to show skill years before dynamical methods are able to. Look at seasonal hurricane forecasting (numberwise) to see what I mean. It's taken the guidance (ECMWF and UKMET guidance at that) just over 20 years to be able to produce similar results to CSU's ever-changing statistical seasonal forecasting scheme.

DR

I've worked with people from OU/Penn State/Wisconsin/Arizona(no longer has an undergrad program)...and lets just say, everything they learned about forecasting came from myself, other experienced co-workers, or through air force training etc.....Penn State is/was the most forecast based of all those ones I listed...the bigger schools simply are more theory/math generally...schools like San Jose State, SUNY Albany/Brockport/Oneonta/Oswego, Millersville, Rutgers, FSU, and NIU are ones that through the years I've found and heard many graduates stated there was a decent amount of forecast instruction...of course this is second hand information and may have changed as the programs evolved.

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you mentioned likes and dislikes. I would strongly urge anyone who is contemplating going to Western Connecticut State University to study Meteorology, to reconsider.

Likes:

-Generally good professor:student ratios

-New science building, new classrooms and new Weather Center

-Cost for in-state tuition

Dislikes:

-Not enough faculty.

  • Only two professors. A 3rd one only teaches a couple of courses per year in Meteorology and he is a very bitter individual, who gets along with almost no one.
  • Not enough professors to teach the courses, so at least a few courses get canceled every year and some are only offered once every two or three years.

-Parts of the program are over-simplified and others are far too in-depth. The 2nd semester Freshman meteorology course MTR 175 gives a great deal of information, but compared to everything else in the curriculum, it seems to only be there to weed out 80% (literally) of its' students.

-Very little, if any job direction. They talk about job postings occasionally, but there is very little support in trying to find a relevant job.

-The three different professors all have EXTREMELY different teaching styles, so the courses themselves don't necessarily line up with each other.

-Very limited selection when it comes to course electives.

-Lots of conflict with course scheduling times.

-When it comes to forecasting, all you learn is outdated modelology. Some science is taught, but it's not related back to practical uses. When I brought up the ECMWF in discussions, no one knew what I was talking about, in addition to several other forecasting models and techniques.

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If you are looking to simply learn more without actually working in the field, there really is no reason to spend the cash to go to college unless you have it lying around. Most of the advanced learning in meteorology comes late in the Jr/Sr years and through internships. Start with some good Intro to Met books first, then decide if you want to continue with more in-depth stuff. Let me know if you do; I can recommend good books.

i would be interested in your suggestions.

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I would love to see a list of a good series of books to read for home study. I don't plan on returning to school, but I would like to read the kinds of textbooks a meteorology student would read. I was a freshman at my local Penn State campus back in the mid-90s, and I loved my Intro to Meteorology course. I even was a tutor for that class.

I still have my Meteorology Today Ahrens 5th edition. I plan to re-read that book, I'd like to know what to read next. Thanks to the internet, I can search online and find textbooks that would be required for certain classes, but I have no idea if they're good choices as far as books go or not. Also, I don't have any math experience beyond precalculus, so is it even worthwhile for me to pursue this as a hobbyist?

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I would love to see a list of a good series of books to read for home study. I don't plan on returning to school, but I would like to read the kinds of textbooks a meteorology student would read. I was a freshman at my local Penn State campus back in the mid-90s, and I loved my Intro to Meteorology course. I even was a tutor for that class.

I still have my Meteorology Today Ahrens 5th edition. I plan to re-read that book, I'd like to know what to read next. Thanks to the internet, I can search online and find textbooks that would be required for certain classes, but I have no idea if they're good choices as far as books go or not. Also, I don't have any math experience beyond precalculus, so is it even worthwhile for me to pursue this as a hobbyist?

Greg, I was already to comment and tell you that a great book to dive into for understanding the fundamental dynamics of atmospheric science would be "An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology" by Holton. However, this book is surely not recommended for someone who does not at least have a strong background in mathematics/physics. If I am not mistaken, " Atmospheric Science, Second Edition: An Introductory Survey" by Wallace and Hobbs is a decent beginner's book. For me, personally, most of my learning through undergraduate and graduate school came from Holton's book. I would wager a guess that most other meteorologists here have had some learning of dynamics either through Holton or Gill's books. There is another decent beginner's book out there that is on the tip of my tongue, when I figure it out I will let you know.

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Greg, I was already to comment and tell you that a great book to dive into for understanding the fundamental dynamics of atmospheric science would be "An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology" by Holton. However, this book is surely not recommended for someone who does not at least have a strong background in mathematics/physics. If I am not mistaken, " Atmospheric Science, Second Edition: An Introductory Survey" by Wallace and Hobbs is a decent beginner's book. For me, personally, most of my learning through undergraduate and graduate school came from Holton's book. I would wager a guess that most other meteorologists here have had some learning of dynamics either through Holton or Gill's books. There is another decent beginner's book out there that is on the tip of my tongue, when I figure it out I will let you know.

Thanks, I appreciate the suggestions!

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Ill follow Quincy's format for Millersville from my perspective.

Dislikes:

  • The math department has a couple professors that are horribly difficult. Unfortunately, they are also among the few that teach the upper level math that you need (calc 2/3 and ODE). This may not be a totally bad thing though, because it forces to you to study extremely hard and by the end of the course you know your stuff. It also heps to separate the men from the boys early on.
  • Lancaster city is not the most friendly city in some parts. Not overly bad, but enough that I wouldn't advise walking alone.
  • I honestly cant think of anymore.

Likes:

  • Smaller program so there is never an issue of a class being too big or a professor being backed up with students to the point that they can not help you.
  • The professors are amazing. They will do anything for their students and they always have an open door policy. I have not once been turned away and even had professors stay AFTER hours to help me when my schedule would permit no other time or when the tutor session just went longer that expected. Between all of the professors, every major end of the field (thermodynamics, Boundary layer, mesoscale, synoptic scale, boundary layer, climate, and field research) is accounted for by a professor and each professor teaches the classes in their specialty.
  • The overall class unification is unreal. I know that this is going to sound cliché, but the students in the department are like one big happy family. Everybody knows everybody for the most part.
  • Research opportunities are plentiful and the department is actively involved in meteorological community research
  • There is a "campus weather service" which is run by a dedicated and decently respected forecaster who is always willing to share his knowledge.
  • Internships and job offerings are passed along to students regularly (at least 2 emails every week about an opportunity).
  • Students are encouraged and taken on field trips and to conferences when possible. Senior class goes on a pretty much paid trip to the national AMS conference every year and just last year the space weather class went to the space weather conference out in Boulder, CO. The Stat Met class goes down to NCEP for a full day tour every year (a lot of which is given by Uccellini himself). The radar class goes up to State College NWS.

Other non-school likes:

  • Not really in the middle of nowhere (contrary to popular belief). You are not to far from anything really.
  • There is a movie theater within a 10 minutes of campus.
  • There are many local eateries within easy walking distance of campus that reasonably priced and have amazing food.
  • Fast food chains and sit down chains are abundant within a 15 minute drive.
  • Bus takes you pretty much where ever you need to go for free or at the very least a $1.50 if you really need to go far.
  • Bus goes practically right to the AMTRAK and Greyhound station. You can usually get to Philly and Harrisburg for under $35 round trip I think.
  • One "uppity" bar within a 5 minute walk of campus (cant really speak for this one as its a little upscale for my tastes so Ive only been a couple times).
  • One "dive" bar called "Jack's" that is a mere 5 minute walk from campus. It is usually overrun by locals during the workweek that keep the jukebox going and the drinks are cheap (85% of all drinks are under $4 when they are NOT on special). The lighting is low and bartenders are friendly, but they also keep the place well under control. Simply put, its a good place to go for some cheap drinks with your friends.

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Thanks, I appreciate the suggestions!

I second the Wallace and Hobbs suggestion (we are using it for my Physical Meteorology class).

I haven't taken Dynamics yet so I can't attest to any specific books, but the book we are going to use is Mid-Latitude Atmospheric Dynamics. Also, for my Thermodynamics class, we used Atmospheric Thermodynamics which I really thought was a good book and explained things well (although there is a fair amount of math in any of these books, of course...)

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I second the Wallace and Hobbs suggestion (we are using it for my Physical Meteorology class).

I haven't taken Dynamics yet so I can't attest to any specific books, but the book we are going to use is Mid-Latitude Atmospheric Dynamics. Also, for my Thermodynamics class, we used Atmospheric Thermodynamics which I really thought was a good book and explained things well (although there is a fair amount of math in any of these books, of course...)

I like this book. Its well written and doesn't skimp on the math. Couple this with a copy of Holton and you have a deadly combination of literature.

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