Science-A-Thon 2019

I’m participating in this year’s Science-A-Thon!

From the page: “Science-A-Thon is a five-day celebration of science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM!), science professionals, science teachers, science journalists, and anyone else who uses science in their day – from the lab to the field, from learning to teaching, from routine tasks to major discoveries! Science-A-Thon 2019 will raise money for three amazing partner charities that support women’s advancement in STEM: the Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN)Girls Who Code, and the Society of Women Engineers! The goal of Science-A-Thon is to increase visibility of scientists and the important work they do for the public.”

As a participant I post to my social media feeds about what a #dayofscience looks like! Those posts are all compiled here. Search your favorite social media feed for ScienceAThon or #dayofscience to learn more about what everyday scientists do. Consider donating to the cause here!

Day 1 – 14 October 2019

It’s #scienceathon week! You know I love any chance to promote science and science literacy. To learn more check out & @scienceathon. This year fundraising supports @geosciencewomen @GirlsWhoCode & @swetalk. Consider giving at
I’ll post through the week about what a #dayofscience looks like for me as a Postdoc Researcher at OUCIMMS and @noaanssl. I work on developing and deploying systems to take measurements in the portion of the atmosphere closest to Earth’s surface – the boundary layer.

During active periods, this means I do a lot of fieldwork, like #TORUS19 (pictured left). During the rest of the year, I work on data processing and doing some science with the measurements I take, which means CODING (pictured right)! Checkout #dayofscience to see what other scientists are up to!

Day 2 – 15 October 2019

It’s day 2 of ScienceAThon! Educational outreach is an important & fun part of a #dayofscience! Today I met with women from the OU College of Atmospheric & Geographic Sciences, CIMMS, NOAA-NSSL, CASS, & South Central Climate Adaptation and Science Center to plan our booth at next week’s OklahomaEPSCoR Women in Science Conference for grades 6-12!

We’re planning a 4-part booth where students can explore temperature: how we see it, feel it, interpret it, & change it. Spending time with students and the public to share my science is one of my favorite parts of my job! I do classroom visits in person and via skypeascientist.

I also volunteer at the National Weather Museum and Science Center as often as I can, getting to talk to anyone who walks in the door about the weather! #dayofscience#scienceathon

Day 3 – 16 October 2019

Its @Science_a_thon day 3! I’m working to compare wind observations collected near thunderstorms from the #TORUS19 campaign with our Doppler lidar and weather balloons. Before I can dive into analysis using statistics, I need to make sure there’s nothing funny hiding in the data.
Here are a couple examples. First 15 May at 22:43 UTC. I show balloon data in black and grey (2 ways the wind is recorded). It takes about 10 minutes for the balloon to fly up through the depth of the boundary layer, so I’m showing 5 lidar scans in colors (2 min btwn each).

In general wind speeds and directions seem to be similar to one another, so nothing suspicious here. Second 20 May at 23:25UTC. Same color scheme as before, but now we see something quite different.

All the lidar (DL+X) wind speeds are different from each other and different from the balloon wind speeds (RS-X). The wind direction scatter plot is a mess below 750m. What is going on here? Are our sensors out to lunch? Well, a little more digging tells us no. We actually launched this weather balloon and let our lidar continue to collect wind profiles as an outflow from a thunderstorm passed over us. We can see this in time-height cross section from our lidar right at 23:24 or so. *note the wind dir. is not quite right in this figure

So the wind speed and direction should be drastically changing during this period. These are not ‘bad’ data, but they won’t be good to include in a general comparison of the observation platforms since this is an outlier case. This is what I’m up to on this #dayofscience

Sidebar on not quite right wind directions: I spent something like 8-10 weeks trying to nail down why the wind directions shown in that time-height plot were off by about 30 degrees. I went down A LOT of paths including blaming the drift of the north pole over time… Turns out it was a simple error in the on-board post processing algorithm that mis-labeled the direction the lidar’s laser was pointing by 1 scan. Our scans were – you guessed it – 30 degrees apart. Occam’s razor won the day. Science is 10% detective work 🤷🏽‍♀️

Day 4 – 17 October

It’s @science_a_thon day 4! Since finishing my PhD I’ve been fortunate enough to get involved with mentoring 5 undergraduate students. Working with students is really rewarding and keeps my mind fresh. Students come up with some really great creative ideas.
First thing this AM I met with Maci Gibson & Marisa Nuzzo (along with co-mentor Matt Flournoy) to discuss their project on storm dynamics & hodographs. We chatted about different methods & obs, & I totally took this 100% real selfie with them. #dayofscience (also #girlpower)

Later in the day, I got to meet with Nolan Meister & James Cuellar (with co-mentor Dylan Reif) to discuss their work on outflow & updrafts. We talked python, posters, lidars, and careers! #dayofscience

Last but not least, I’ve been emailing back and forth with my summer NWC-REU student, Michelle Spencer about next steps with her project. We’re going to start running computer simulations soon for her recently accepted AMS abstract. Her 1st oral presentation! #dayofscience

Day 5 – 18 October

It’s the last day of @scienceathon! This week I’ve been implementing some new methods to try to schedule my time (thanks for the tips Dr. Wainwright!). Today was largely dedicated to working on the last paper from my PhD. It’s been nearly a year since I defended, so this process has been ongoing for too long. Normally I’m a pretty efficient writer, but I’ve struggled with balancing tasks from my new role(s) and finding time to this. Today was a start! Tho admittedly I got little done… baby steps. Before getting into my own studies/career, I didn’t realize how much scientists write! A huge part of our daily work and our evaluation is based on writing up our work to share with the world. If you’re interested in weather @ametsoc’s BAMS is always a good read!

This wraps up my week of @science_a_thon #dayofscience posts. Remember this celebration of science is part of a campaign to raise funds to support women and girls in STEM! Please do donate if you can!

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