By Ned Rozell
July 14, 2006
A guest at the Reindeer House, I told Greg about a weather station we had installed on top of Teller's school as part of the Arctic Climate Modeling Program. The station was broadcasting weather information to the Internet, and showed the current Teller wind speed was 24 miles per hour with gusts to 41.
Photo by Ned Rozell.
For a few weeks in June and July, I traveled with Dave Atkinson of the International Arctic Research Center and Ed Plumb of the National Weather Service to villages on the Seward Peninsula, the nose of Alaska that juts westward into the Bering Sea. The few dozen villages that hug the coast of the peninsula take a pounding from storm systems that spin through the Bering Strait. Sea ice that forms on the ocean acts like a protective cap during some winter storms, but the ice has been less dependable in recent years, leaving some villages like Shishmaref exposed to storm surges that eat at its sandy coastline.
My boss, Kathy Berry Bertram, wrote a grant funded by the National Science Foundation to give life to the Arctic Climate Modeling Program that involves the 15 schools in the Bering Strait School District. Teachers from St. Michael to Shishmaref will get training and curriculum from the program, and students and teachers will use real-time weather information from Davis weather stations we are installing on or near village schools. Finstad used information from the one Atkinson and I installed on Teller school. Plumb and his colleagues at the National Weather Service are interested in getting all the schools' weather stations on the Internet to help with forecasting; some of the villages have automated weather stations, but the Weather Service has some holes we might be able to help fill, such as in White Mountain and Elim.
station is installed as part of the Arctic Climate Modeling Program.
Photo by Ned Rozell.
Hopefully by the end of this summer we'll have weather stations installed in all the schools on the peninsula (and on St. Lawrence Island), and when all the science teachers get back this fall they'll be able to use the stations with their students. As a bonus, we hope to get all the weather stations on the Web, and people like Greg Finstad can use them to get the current weather not only in Teller, but also in Koyuk, Shaktoolik, Elim, White Mountain, Wales, Shishmaref, Unalakleet, Golovin, St. Michael, Stebbins, Brevig Mission, Savoonga and Gambell.
Ned Rozell [firstname.lastname@example.org] is a science writer at the institute.
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