Oklahoma Weather Center North Base: As an introduction to Norman and Oklahoma Weather, the students were given a two-day tour of North Base. This is the portion of the OK Weather Center located on Max Westheimer Air Field. The facilities include NSSL, SPC, NWS, and OSF. A large portion of the REU research is done at North Base. This tour allows the students to see where their mentors work, when some of them will work, and for the students not working at North Base, a chance to be familiar with the facilities and responsibilies of each operation.
Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History: CAPS invited the REU/CIRE programs to join them in touring Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History for an afternoon. We were amazed by the dinosaurs, and exceptional artwork, especially that done by young people. Afterwards, we attended a picnic with CAPS, for some more of Bob's BBQ!!
WEST GULF RIVER FORECAST CENTER: The morning portion of the Dallas/Fort Worth trip was visiting the West Gulf River Forecast Center. We arrived to a friendly welcome from Jerry Nunn, Hydrologist in Charge. The tour began with an introduction by Jerry filled with information about the coverage area and responsibilities of the center. We then were allowed to go onto the center floor and were shown personally by the people on duty how their jobs were carried out. The responsibilities and outcomes of the center were not widely known to our visitors, so the trip was very enlightening.
AMERICAN AIRLINES TRIP: On the same day as the tour of the River Forecast Center, we visited the American Airlines facilities, in Fort Worth, Texas. We arrived at the main complex, which houses their training facilities, as well as their control center. We were presented a video introduction to all of American's operations, and their basic functions. Next we were taken down into the control center to view their weather service office. The tour guide, Gina Beninato, explained who takes care of what part of the world's weather that pertains to the Airlines. Everyone that was involved, and not envolved with the tour was very gratious and generous when showing us what they were working on, or had worked on in the past. The tour was very inlightening and educational to the students and mentors that attended. After the tour of the facilities, we joined at the American Airlines C.R. Smith Museum for a movie and tour. Please visit their homepage to investigate the great things we saw, such as the Flagship...
Aeromet: With the help of Jon Haynes we drove up to Tulsa, to visit Aeromet. We were presented with an introductory presentation by Garry L. Booker and Lynn Rose. They, along with a few more employees, showed us around their facilities. We were able to listen to explanations of the instrumentation and objectives of the program, as well as look inside one of their aircraft that was being prepared for deployment to Kwajalein.
ARM/CART: With the direction of Randy Peppler, we routed North to a site between Billings and Lamont Oklahoma. The drive was filled with open countryside and the occasional sighting of a pheasant. At the site, Randy welcomed us and presented a video of the operations of ARM/CART. Then it was outside with our knowledgeable tour guide, Chad, to see the site. We walked along the service path to each instrumentation or calibration unit. We were surprised at the number and accuracy of the instruments. There were many instruments that were new to the students and visitors.
Channel 9 Tour: We loaded into a van and a car, again, and headed up to Oklahoma City to tour the Channel 9 broadcasting facility. This was an aspect not covered here in Norman. Although no one came here to gain knowledge in this area, everyone agrees that it is a very important part of the research work. Helping people to live with the weather on a day to day, or hour to hour, basis is very important. This allowed the students to see what comes out of the research, in a practical setting. Gary England explained what happened in the weather center at the studio, and we were also directed through the control areas. This was quite a different view compared to what you see on TV. Understanding what goes into the broadcast was very inlightening and interesting.
Mesonet: We were able to visit the norman Mesonet site, in July. This is another exceptional example of how instruments are calibrated. Scott Richardson showed us the site, and explained what instruments were included on each mesonet site around the state, and also explained to us what the other instruments were being tested as well as why and how. This along with the ARM site gives the students great examples of what instrumentation and observations entail.
OU/OU LIBRARY TOUR: As another introduction to OU and Norman, the REU/CIRE students took a tour of the OU campus and OU Library. In addition to a site map for OU the tour gives a personal view of the locations of the buildings, colleges, and museums. The library tour gives the students a chance to be more familiar with the services and floors offered by the OU Bizzell Library (pictured below).