A simple idea to revolutionize schools? Teach applied meteorology. Or better yet, learn it on your own!
Why applied meteorology?
First, applied sciences are more interesting because a child can use them.
Second, because the National Weather Service provides hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars in free study materials on their website.
And finally, because applied meteorology would make other sciences more interesting and accessible.
This is what Penn State says about the courses necessary to get a job with the NWS.
In high school, students should take earth sciences, physics, chemistry and mathematics through at least pre-calculus. Generally, students who have completed a course in calculus and/or a course in computer programming will have an advantage when starting their Meteorology and Atmospheric Science studies.
Throughout my life, I learned a lot of Geography by traveling, but most people, especially children can’t travel. Meteorology is travel without leaving your house. The NWS maps show international patterns, as the weather knows no borders.
Every year, the NWS studies and tracks the El Nino effects.
El Nino, as a subject, encompasses geography, oceanography, physics, and a host of minor subjects. It determines far more than just weather. It affects travel, farming, heating and air conditioning demand, safety…
100 years ago, before Accuweather, people were far more connected to the weather than they are today.
For many businesses, like fishermen, farmers and builders, the weather was a major factor in their livelihoods. Today, we listen to a bunch of junk food selling TV stations telling us that if it’s 2 degrees below average we’re going to freeze to death.
What got me obsessed with the weather is that I ride 5,000 miles per year on a bicycle.
Most people would probably imagine that to a cyclist, rain is your biggest problem. It’s not. If you think you’re going to ride a bike and not get wet, your delusional. Rain is a given. The two factors that most affect a cyclist are wind and humidity.
Humidity is an even bigger problem than temperature. You can dress warmer, but you can’t dress dryer. When the humidity gets over 80%, it’s like being under water.
The point is, cycling connects one to the weather.
But just as cycling connects one to weather, weather connects a child to nature. Once a person gets connected to nature, be it cycling, hiking, skiing or even leaf collecting, they become addicted and want to spend all their free time in nature.
There are few places I have ever traveled that have so much accessible natural beauty than New York.
And few places have as spectacular weather as western New York. This is, our course, downed out by people I call “weather wimps.” I’m sure you hear their nauseating whine where you work. These are the people that buy $1,000 worth of groceries every time the “weatherman” tells them we’re getting 3 inches of snow.
To be sure the Rockies are spectacular, but can you get there in an hour? New York has woods, rivers, water sheds, waterfalls… and all can be accessed every day! You haven’t lived until you’ve ridden a bike side by side with a herd of deer through Tift Farm at 4 AM and you don’t even have to leave the city!
If you do this every day, you’ll see how small changes in the weather affect how deer live.
If the wind is blowing off the lake, the doe will go up towards the lake. If it blows from the south, they don’t. As it warms up, fawns appear and as it cools in the fall, you see huge bucks that come up to claim their harems.
There’s a buck that comes up to the lake that we cyclists call ‘Bambi’s father.” He’s a MONSTER!
When the lakes thaw, lake loons come down from Canada and then, Canada Geese by the thousands. As it warms in the spring, you see hawks, rabbits, skunks, gulls, ducks, and muskrats.
Walking through Chestnut Ridge park in October is like walking through Hobbiton with Frodo Baggins. It’s surreal. Southern NY has hundreds of acres of Girl and Boy scout camps with marked trails that aren’t used after August. Do you know we have an Audubon park? You don’t know what you’re missing. New York has more parks than any place on earth.
If you want to make the next generation environmentalists and addicted to clean air, clean water and stargazing, teach them meteorology in school.
You won’t have to help them find nature. They’ll be drawn to it.