Weather the Focus of HWS Program – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Weather the Focus of HWS Program

The HWS Summer Science Program for Mesoscale and Climatological Studies is currently taking place on campus. Six students from a number of educational institutions are taking part in the annual eight-week program: Augusta Williams (William Smith ’13), Alicia Bentley (SUNY Albany), Brian Pevear (Plymouth State University), Jennifer Hanger (University of Georgia), Samantha Santeiu (Iowa State University), and Mitch McCue (Plymouth State University/University of Utah). The group is working closely with Associate Professor of Geoscience Neil Laird on varying aspects of lake-effect snowstorms, summer lake-breeze circulations, and Great Lakes thunderstorms using a variety of meteorological data sets. Dr. Eric Hoffman from the Department of Atmospheric Science and Chemistry at Plymouth State University is also assisting.

Though the students’ projects vary, each project incorporates a variety of data sets, including climatological surface data, WSR-88D radar data, satellite imagery, meteorological data, and the use of numerous analysis techniques and software. Students are developing skills related to working with meteorological software and large databases, statistical analysis techniques and scientific writing and presentation.

“It’s really an invaluable research experience” say Bentley, who – with Santeiu – is studying lake effect and climatology around Lake Tahoe from the Winter of 1996 until the present. For all of the students, the competitive program at HWS provides them with their first research experience.

Williams ’13 and Hanger are researching the correlation between climate effects and the migration of birds around Salt Lake. “Our work this summer will be an important indicator for later careers,” says Williams.  

In addition to working in Lansing Hall, the group also has access to the William Scandling, HWS’ steel heeled, 65-foot research vessel used in various lakes including Seneca, Cayuga and Ontario for classroom and research activities.

The research is funded by both the National Science Foundation and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.