Read about the project in the following articles:
"WEATHER IN A TANK”—Exploiting Laboratory Experiments in the Teaching of Meteorology, Oceanography, and Climate - BAMS (Nov 2009)

The Effectiveness of Rotating Tank Experiments in Teaching Undergraduate Courses in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate Sciences - Journal of Geoscience Education (Feb, 2012)

This is an NSF-funded project in which curricula materials that combine atmospheric data and laboratory fluid experiments are being developed in the teaching of meteorology, oceanography and climate at undergraduate level.

In phase I of the project, methodologies were explored in support of laboratory-based teaching of rotating fluid dynamics to sophomores, juniors and seniors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In Phase 2 we are:
  • implementing material developed in Phase 1 at the following 5 universities: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, The Johns Hopkins University, Millersville University, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison;
  • exchanging and exploring ideas and methodologies in laboratory-based teaching with professors and students at those universities, including appropriate training; and
  • not only incorporating evaluation elements of Phase 1, but expanding them to specifically determine whether the approach we are advocating is successful pedagogy and, if so, whether it could be broadly sustained and so benefit a wide community. A detailed evaluation plan is being followed to quantify implementation, pedagogy and dissemination/sustainability.

The project explores how basic principles of rotating fluid dynamics, that play a central role in determining the climate of the planet, are best conveyed to students, teaching them how to move between phenomena in the real world, laboratory abstractions, theory and models.

The laboratory materials and associated curricula being developed could have a wide impact in the teaching of science at many levels in our universities and schools, not just in meteorology, oceanography and climate.

Lodovica Illari
John Marshall

This EAPS project is supported by the National Science Foundation.