On Saturday, April 29, ESSIC faculty and staff gathered to celebrate Maryland Day, the University of Maryland’s largest community outreach event! This was the 25th year that the university held the event, and the 23rd time that ESSIC has participated.
At the event, ESSIC gave away booklets, stickers, pamphlets, bookmarks, and keychains that celebrate the science that goes on at the Center. The bulk of these materials were generously donated by the Center’s federal partners at NASA and NOAA.
In addition to the giveaways, several scientists came out to present some of their work. Isaac Moradi, Will Miller, and Christopher Buchhaupt presented posters and visualizations on the projector. Erick Geiger, representing NOAA Coral Reef Watch, presented on coral reef bleaching and gave out booklets about the status of different coral reefs around the world. William Lau gave out autographed copies of Monsoon. Monsoon is a NASA-produced manga featuring an elementary school girl and her robotic dog who are educated about monsoons by a cartoonized Dr. Lau.
ESSIC also had two new booths this year. Hu (Tiger) Yang and Jun Dong came out to speak about microwave radiometers for weather prediction. Drew Gower and Michael Maddox had a booth about the Dashboard for Agricultural Water Use and Nutrient Management (DAWN) Project.
The ESSIC/CISESS Lightning Group, which includes Guangyang Fang, Joseph Patton, Daile Zhang, and Eric Palagonia also came out to talk about their science. The group exhibited and demonstrated the NOAA satellite data virtual reality (VR) program, which was developed by the research team led by NOAA scientist Scott Rudlosky. This VR program is an interactive and immersive “fly-through” of real weather data that allows users to visualize events like Hurricane Dorian and an atmospheric river in a 3-D environment. The group also promoted lightning safety to the community. They distributed stickers and temporary tattoos with lightning safety slogans as well as answered questions about lightning safety that the community had.
For children, ESSIC brought back its historic “rain gauge game”, in which participants race to see how much water they can squeeze from a “cloud” (a sponge) into the rain gauge during an allotted time. All participants earned themselves stickers and other prizes!