Spring 2003

NCSU Seal North Carolina ClimateSCO Seal

A Newsletter of the State Climate Office of North Carolina

A Public Service Center for
Climate-Environment Interactions

Spring 2003

In This Issue...

Guest Contributor...

Dr. Jo-Ann Cohen
Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, NC State University

The mission statment of the University begins with:

The mission of North Carolina State University is to serve its students and the people of North Carolina as a doctoral/research-extensive, land grant university. Through the active integration of teaching, research, extension, and engagement, North Carolina State University creates an innovative learning environment that stresses mastery of fundamentals, intellectual discipline, creativity, problem solving, and responsibility.

I know of no other unit affiliated with the University that strives to accomplish that mission better than the State Climate Office. The State Climate Office is certainly an important resource to the citizens of North Carolina. Just as crucial is the SCO's role in educating the students at NC State University and students in the K-12 community. It is a real pleasure to walk into the offices of the State Climate Office on Centennial Campus and see graduate students, undergraduate students, high school students, and even middle school students pouring over data and participating in research projects with faculty and staff. Students thrive in this closely mentored learning environment and are empowered by being mentors themselves.

It is a given that research is a fundamental component in the education of our graduate students, but it is extremely important in the education of our undergraduate students as well. Research projects engage students in the scientific process and expose them to the immense joy of developing new knowledge. Students who participate in research projects develop critical thinking skills and intellectual maturity. Graduate students in the sciences often mention that one of the reasons they stayed in the sciences was because of the research experience they had as an undergraduate. We certainly hope that those undergraduate students and K-12 students who are currently working with faculty at the State Climate Office will consider graduate school in the future. I applaud the State Climate Office's efforts in the development of our students.

From the State Climatologist...

The drought is largely over thanks to above normal precipitation during last fall and winter. One of the main missions of the State Climate Office of North Carolina is education at all levels and this issue of our newsletter will focus on education. Historically, we've trained many graduate and undergraduate students as part of our commitment to education. In addition, we are now hosting a high school senior and several middle school students. Lee Ann Jones, a senior at Broughton High School is working as an intern. Nick Tarleton, Robbie Wilson, Jon Bolding, and Ben Reid, eighth grade students at Centennial Campus Middle School, visit the SCO every week and perform research on NC weather and climate. They bring tremendous energy and excitement into the SCO.

There have been some changes in the SCO staff this semester. Dr. Devdutta Niyogi has left the State Climate Office to pursue full time research in the Department of Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences. We wish Dev the best as he continues to advance in his career.

Rob Gilliam, Environmental Meteorologist has left to join the US EPA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He will be a valuable asset for NOAA, and greatly missed in the SCO.

We welcome Robb Ellis back to the State Climate Office. He has returned to continue his studies and has been a key resource for the development of our climate databases.

I am happy to announce a renovated website, providing more information and an improved access to observations from NC ECONet stations. Now, visitors can choose the measurements and units they need, compile observations, and plot them. This new access to the SCO climate database is the result of several years of effort by our staff and students.

We'll continue to enhance our services and maintain our focus on core mission of outreach, research, and education.

At the service of North Carolina,

Sethu Raman's Signature
Sethu Raman
State Climatologist and Director

Climate Office Focuses on Education

In addition to the education and training of graduate and undergraduate students, the SCO has also begun working with middle and high school students.

Lee Ann Jones, Senior, Broughton High School

Lee Ann Jones As part of her course work at Broughton High School in Raleigh, NC, Lee Ann Jones has an internship with the State Climate Office. Lee Ann has been working with climate services and looking at the relationship between historical rainfall patterns and groundwater levels. Lee Ann has been able to contribute both in terms of her service and her scientific abilities.

Lee Ann will enter the Meteorology program at NC State University in the fall of 2003.

Centennial Campus Middle School Student Interns Shine in Science Fair!
By Betty Welsh, Teacher, Centennial Campus Middle School

Centennial Campus Middle School is in its third year of operation. As a part of the university collaboration, a meeting was held at CCMS in the fall. As a result, the State Climate Office gave us the opportunity to become its first affiliation to offer internships to four 8th grade students during the 2002-2003 academic year. Weather and climate are two important pieces to the middle school science curriculum. We are very excited to have this opportunity for our students. Ben, Jon, Robbie, and Nick have learned about weather and climate in North Carolina, and are performing independent research on topics they have found interesting. Along with the boys, our 8th grade math, science and social studies teachers have worked at the center with the students on their projects. At CCMS, we use integrated learning and inquiry based lessons. We look forward to developing lessons with the SCO that can be used by schools all over NC. Meteorology is the perfect subject to provide students the education that allows them to use physics, geometry and algebra. When students have a need to know, the learning increases. Motivation comes from interest and everybody wants to know more about the weather.

CCMS Students Nick and Robbie were interested in drought, and wanted to know how long it would take for the drought to be completely over in terms of the surface and groundwater supplies. Using observations from National Weather Service Cooperative Observer stations and US Geological Survey monitoring wells, Nick and Robbie are documenting the recharge rate and delay for the Piedmont region of North Carolina - the same region most severely affected by dry conditions last summer.

Ben and Jon prepared a report on the impacts of the Gulf Stream on the weather in North Carolina. As part of their Science Fair project, they used temperature observations from coastal weather stations and offshore buoys to mathematically show how the presence of the Gulf Stream enhances the development of cold fronts. Their science project won awards at both local and regional fairs. Pretty soon you'll be able to find their lessons on the SCO website!

Recent Conditions

Temperature Summary

Temperature Summary

October 2002 - March 2003
Precipitation Summary

Precipitation Summary

October 2002 - March 2003

Drought Update

As predicted by the SCO, the wet winter across North Carolina had largely eliminated the exceptional drought conditions. Widespread precipitation began in September 2002 as the remnants of several tropical storms passed over the state. In October, an early winter pattern associated with El Niño stabilized and produced widespread precipitation for the next several months.

All surface water supplies were above normal by the end of March 2003. While some groundwater levels still remain below normal, there is widespread recovery. Some water supply problems may occur this summer if dry weather ensues, but extensive problems are not expected. Currently, a warm summer is expected with near normal rainfall.

Summer Climate Outlook

Provided by National Weather Service's Climate Prediction Center

Temperature Outlook

June 2003 through August 2003 Temperature Outlook

June 2003 - August 2003 Temperature Outlook
Precipitation Outlook

June 2003 through August 2003 Precipitation Outlook

June 2003 - August 2003 Precipitation Outlook

A = Probability Increase of Likelihood of Above Normal Conditions
B = Probability Increase of Likelihood of Below-Normal Conditions
EC = Equal Chances of Above-, Below-, and Near-Normal Conditions

Recent Activities and Visitors

Select Activities

  • Presentation to Chapel Hill Rotary Club, Chapel Hill, NC, October 15, 2002, Ryan Boyles
  • Presentation to Central NC Chapter of American Meteorological Society, Research Triangle Park, NC, October 17, 2002, Ryan Boyles
  • Panel Presentation, Annual Meeting for NC League of Municipalities, Durham, NC, October 21, 2002, Ryan Boyles
  • Drought Monitoring Council Meeting, Raleigh, NC, October 24, 2002, Ryan Boyles
  • Display at NC Science Teachers Association Meeting, Greensboro, NC, November 13, 2002, Ameen Syed
  • Display at NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC, November 16, 2003, Ryan Boyles, Rob Gilliam, Matt Simpson
  • Presentation for Annual GIS Day, NC Department of Public Instruction, November 20, 2003, Ryan Boyles
  • Drought Monitoring Council Meeting, Raleigh, NC, December 6, 2002, Ryan Boyles
  • Presentation to Lumber River Council of Governments, Sunset Beach, NC, January 17, 2003, Ryan Boyles
  • Meeting of Southeast State Climatologists, Tallahassee, FL, January 27-28, 2003, Sethu Raman
  • Drought Monitoring Council Meeting, Raleigh, NC, January 30, 2003, Ryan Boyles
  • Annual Groundhog Day Celebration, Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC, February 2, 2003, Ryan Boyles and Ameen Syed
  • American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, Long Beach, CA, February 9-14, 2003, Sethu Raman and Matt Simpson
  • Presentation to students at Conn Elementary, Raleigh, NC, February 20, 2003, Ryan Boyles
  • Presentation to winning Groundhog Day class, Museum of Natural Sciences, Raleigh, NC, March 13 & 18, 2003, Robb Ellis
  • Panel discussion on climate change, NCSU Student Chapter of American Meteorological Society, March 20, 2003, Sethu Raman
  • Regional Science Fair Keynote Presenter, UNC-Pembroke, March 26, 2003, Robb Ellis
  • Drought Monitoring Council Meeting, Raleigh, NC, March 27, 2003, Ryan Boyles
  • Seminar on Climate Services and Climate Prediction Center outlooks, National Weather Service - Raleigh, March 31 & April 7, 2003, Ryan Boyles
  • Presentation to students at Olds Elementary, Raleigh, NC, April 4, 2003, Ryan Boyles
  • Presentation to Raleigh Host Lion’s Club, April 14, 2003, Ryan Boyles
  • Presentation to students at Timber Drive Elementary, Garner, NC, April 21, 2003, Ryan Boyles


  • David Herlong and John Dorman, NC Flood Mapping Program, November 1, 2002
  • George Bridgers, NC Division of Air Quality, November 25, 2002
  • Girl Scout group, March 6, 2003
  • Dr. Vin Saxena and students of Changing Atmospheres Honors Class, April 3, 2003

« Back to Newsletters