Students studying meteorology at Millersville University will soon have access to data from a new weather radar system, thanks to Climavision.
In June, Millersville University announced that a weather radar system was installed on campus through a partnership with Climavision, a climate-tech company. On August 29, the University will celebrate this important partnership with a ceremony at Caputo Hall.
The partnership was kickstarted by Professor Emeritus Dr. Richard Clark, who met Climavision co-founder and CEO Chris Goode during his term as president of the American Meteorological Society. “Their mission is to fill radar gaps nationwide, and the Lancaster area is one of the more prominent radar gaps, as identified by an algorithm developed by a Millersville meteorology alumnus, Dr. Jim Kurdzo,” says Dr. Sepi Yalda, professor of meteorology.
Dr. Daniel Wubah, President of Millersville University, provided the final approval to have the radar system installed on the University water tower at the suggestion of Climavision. Working with the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office, the University and Climavision have a 20-year partnership.
“This radar is a columniation of a multitude of efforts between the meteorology program, Millersville University facilities and administration and support from the stakeholder community,” says Yalda. This is also the first partnership of its kind in the country between Climavision and a university.
This new weather radar system is the first X-band weather surveillance radar in the Lower Susquehanna Valley, filling in the gaps not covered by current radar systems. This information will help improve forecasts for areas like Lancaster County that may be prone to hazardous weather. “The new radar is going to make a huge impact on the weather forecasting, emergency planning and preparedness for the residents in the Lancaster region and beyond,” explains Dr. Marc Harris, dean of the College of Science and Technology. “Our region is sitting in a radar ‘gap’ area, which means that the larger S-band radars that we rely on from State College, Virginia and New Jersey are missing precipitation events and severe weather that occurs at lower elevations.”
Additionally, Yalda says that students and faculty at the University will have access to this data and would be able to utilize it in their courses and research.
“The students will use the data in a number of courses across the curriculum to better understand atmospheric conditions,” she says. “More specifically, in courses such as Radar Meteorology, students are required to develop a full case study of an event. The access to this data will enable the students to be able to study current local events and develop an extensive analysis of the radar data supplementing their understanding.”
“Meteorology students can use the data to complete class projects, as well as learn additional functions that X-band radars feature,” says Ryan Argenti, a senior meteorology student at the University. “This access will allow us as the students to fully experiment with what it’s like to operate radar systems, which I’m very excited about.”
“Each student will learn how the full suite of radar products are used, along with when students should use those products for certain phenomenon. This is perfect for students who plan to take a radar meteorology-focused career path,” he adds.
“That’s what’s most exciting about this partnership,” said Climavision’s Goode. “Millersville University students will get hands-on experience with state-of-the-art technology while at the same time helping them serve their community in a very real way.”
As meteorology students develop their skills, there will be potential for internships and employment opportunities with Climavision. Argenti adds that this is just one of the many aspects of this partnership that he’s excited about. “Having an established relationship with Climavision has opened a door to plenty of new opportunities for students,” he notes.
“Successful private academic partnerships are at the forefront of where science and its service to the community are heading. Opportunities for students to be engaged and find employment in the private sector and the intersection of the private sector and academia will likely lead the way for decades to come,” Yalda adds.
Overall, the partnership has been a positive experience for those involved. “I have already been so pleased with the partnership with Climavision,” concludes Harris. “Their partnership and development team is first class, and every step of the process, from initial meetings to discussions with their science lead to the planning and implementation of the radar installation, has gone flawlessly.”