Meteorology: Determine WEATHER or not Predicting the Weather is Reliable

Sharon Sullivan
National Weather Service Albuquerque
Café Scientifique New Mexico-Rio Rancho


Sharon Sullivan shared the ins and out of becoming a meteorologist. From her difficult academic beginnings to the long night-shifts of her job, she pulled back the curtain. “I was on academic probation,” she says of her graduate school years. “There were 10 students in my class, and only three graduated.”

Sharon Sullivan

Sullivan provided a glimpse into the range of meteorological research. She has flown in planes to gather data and worked in Juneau to monitor the floods contributed by permafrost melting. She brought a weather balloon to show how the precise information arrives on our weather apps every day.

Teen leader Cougar Frederick acting the weatherman

Hands on Activity

Participants prepared their own weather reports in front of a green screen. Sullivan walked through some free websites, including, and the reports began about the local weather in Deadhorse, Alaska and Seattle, Washington.

After further discussion about wind data, participants also designed their own wind cars. They compared size, shape, and materials of sails as they raced down the library floor.