CIMMS at WDTD: Alex Zwink

Alex Zwink, Research Associate (CIMMS/NOAA Warning Decision Training Division)

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Background:
M.S. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma (2013)
B.S. Meteorology, University of Oklahoma (2010)

Experience:
Alex is an Oklahoma native: born and raised in Alva, OK before moving to Piedmont, OK where he graduated high school. From a very young age (and probably in part due to living in Oklahoma), he has been interested in the weather, stating that he wanted Mike Morgan’s job when he grew up. To the surprise of his parents, somehow that desire to become a meteorologist stuck, and after high school he started his B.S. in Meteorology at OU. Working toward his Bachelor’s degree, the draw to learn even more about the atmosphere convinced Alex to keep his education going and to work towards a Master’s in Meteorology. During this time, Alex worked with Dr. Dave Turner at the National Severe Storms Lab on investigating the radiative transfer properties of Arctic clouds. Since completing his Master’s degree, Alex earned a position at CIMMS and NOAA’s Warning Decision Training Division (WDTD), one that he has currently held since July 2014.

What He Does:
At WDTD, Alex is a primary contact and liaison to the National Weather Service (NWS). In particular, Alex provides support and guidance to over 120 NWS field offices for the second version of the Weather Event Simulator (WES-2 Bridge). The WES-2 Bridge allows for the ability to replay and simulate AWIPS-2 data, which is the program used by the NWS to view weather data. These simulation tools used by the NWS are crucial in training NWS forecasters in warning operations, which in turn increases warning skill and accuracy in the NWS when the time calls. Alex enjoys interacting with these forecasters across the entire country, and takes pride in his work of training the NWS personnel in using this new technology.

In addition to WES-2 Bridge support, Alex also assists in the development of WES-2 Bridge products: testing, debugging, and deploying new builds. Also, Alex manages the WDTD Lab, with 25 AWIPS-2 workstations that are utilized by WDTD for their in-residence workshops, which bring in over 100 forecasters every year. With providing daily support to the NWS, as well as managing the lab, Alex has stayed quite busy!

Trivia:
Alex can’t get enough of teaching, and still occasionally teaches at the University of Oklahoma. Most recently, Alex taught “Severe and Unusual Weather” during the Fall 2015 semester.

Alex worked for a year as a Fire Sprinkler Designer at Century Fire Systems in El Paso, TX. It was a very unique and rewarding experience, and some people say he’s now putting out fires of a different type!