Incorporating GIS into the Atmospheric Science Curriculum

NCAR GIS Program BRIGHTE Workshop Series 2015

A mean looking huge storm cloud hovering over the ocean. iStock
Jun. 24 to Jun. 26, 2015

8:30 am – 5:00 pm MDT

National Center for Atmospheric Research Foothills Lab, Boulder, Colorado
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Extreme weather and climate change impacts vary among different communities and populations, therefore addressing these problems requires spatial thinking and knowledge on integration of climate science and meteorology with Geographic Information Systems (GIS).  Significant progress has been made in the past several years in linking GIS with atmospheric and related sciences and their datasets. There is growing recognition among college and university-level meteorology educators that GIS is an extremely useful tool for atmospheric research and analysis. The intersection of GIS, weather, climate and societal impacts becomes essential when students are learning about interdisciplinary problems that their communities face. However, there is a noticeable lack of not only specific courses that teach the integration of GIS with atmospheric sciences, but perhaps more importantly the resources, such as lab manuals or published exercises, which demonstrate these concepts.

The goal of a 3-day NCAR-sponsored workshop is to provide university/college faculty from meteorology/atmospheric science departments with necessary knowledge to teach introductory GIS concepts and tools in their classrooms. "Incorporating GIS into the Atmospheric Science Curriculum" workshop will consist of hands-on GIS exercises, lectures, discussions, review of published and on-line materials, and working group projects. All data used in the lab exercises will consist of weather, climate, hydrologic, and socio-economic data, making the content not only interesting but very relevant to meteorology/atmospheric science majors. The workshop hands-on training will include: Introduction to GIS Concepts and Methods; Introduction to Esri’s ArcMap and ArcCatalog; Exploring Spatial Data Formats in ArcGIS; Data Symbology and Classification; Cartographic Mapping; Working with Coordinate Systems; and Working with Multidimensional Atmospheric Data.

Climate change adaptation, preparedness for weather extremes, and developing sustainable solutions and practices are important topics for every community in the United States. These complex, interdisciplinary problems require that representatives from all communities are engaged in the sciences and the decision-making process. We invite meteorology/atmospheric science faculty who are interested in incorporating GIS concepts and tools into meteorology, climatology or atmospheric science curriculum. Faculty from U.S. junior colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges, and Hispanic-Serving institutions are encouraged to apply.

GIS training materials


Please direct questions/comments about this page to:

Jennifer Boehnert

GIS Coordinator



Olga Wilhelmi

GIS Program Head and Project Scientist