We had a fairly small crowd for the 3rd meeting of the year held at ADEM in Montgomery on August 31 at 11am. Those in attendance were:
We also had several other ADEM employees present:
The meeting began with the president, Tara Goggins, giving a brief overview of chapter news. This included announcing the recommendation of our chapter for the Chapter of the Year award, as well as plans for another meeting in October and a Christmas party.
Everyone enjoyed some lunch before the ADEM folks began their presentation. Leigh Bacon spoke first and presented some background on air quality forecasting and why is it so important to residents of some of Alabama's larger cities. ADEM currently produces air quality forecasts for 4 locations across the state...Huntsville/Decatur, Birmingham, Phenix City/Columbus, and Mobile. She also mentioned that the reason they do not forecast for Montgomery is due to the fact that Montgomery simply has less air pollutants than other AL cities. Just to specify, ADEM issues the "ozone" forecast while the Jefferson County Dept of Health (JCDH) issues the "particulate matter" forecast.
The presentation continued with three of ADEM's forecasters taking turns providing details on the verification of their forecast for a particular day and city. They do forecast verification in order to determine what went right or wrong with the forecast...which is exactly what those of us at the NWS and in the media have to do with our forecasts. A lot can be learned from past experiences, whether good or bad.
The meeting ended with a quick tour of their forecasting center, which was comprised of 4 individual workstations...one for each city. Each forecaster is assigned a city and these assignments never change. This enables each forecaster to get a better "feel" for their city and learn those all-important local effects that can play a huge role in the weather at each location.
The chapter would like to extend a huge Thank You to the folks there at ADEM for their time and hospitality. The visit was most definitely worthwhile, and we all left with a better understanding and a higher appreciation for our air quality forecasts!