John Snook

Dr. John Snook

I became interested in weather and snow while growing up in New England anxiously awaiting the next nor’easter, which led me to the University of Wisconsin – Madison where I obtained a BS and MS in Meteorology. After moving to Colorado in 1984, I worked fifteen years as a meteorologist for a NOAA applied research lab in Boulder. During that time, a PhD was completed in Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. Private industry followed with endeavors in a meteorological start-up company followed by independent consulting. In addition, I provide mountain weather forecast and snowpack hazard assessment services to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center and work as a part-time professional ski patroller at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area.

Academic Training
Colorado State University – Fort Collins
Degree: Doctor of Philosophy – Atmospheric Science, 1993
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Degree: Master of Science – Meteorology, 1982
Degree: Bachelor of Science – Meteorology, 1980

Professional Experience
Collaborate with the U.S. Forest Service to develop, implement, and maintain an operational numerical weather forecast system to support fire weather activities. Provide weather expertise to public, private, and government sectors. Ingest weather observations and National Weather Service forecasts for client use. Develop and maintain an in-house operational numerical weather prediction (WRF) modeling system designed to support avalanche center activities. Build complete weather modeling systems designed for specific client applications, including fire operations, avalanche hazard assessment, winter highway maintenance, and energy utilities (wind, gas, oil) management.
Participated in the development of an operational meteorological data analysis and forecast system at a NOAA federal lab. Implemented high-resolution numerical weather models and applied the model output to operational forecast situations, including the full implementation of a weather forecast model at the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta, which resulted in a NOAA Bronze Medal award. Implemented techniques to visualize three-dimensional weather data. Developed excellent writing skills while preparing results for reports, scientific conference presentations, and refereed publications.
Computer Science
Extensive background using software programming languages with an emphasis on large data set manipulation, numerical modeling techniques, parallel system implementation, and three-dimensional graphics display. Broad knowledge of scripting languages, including Perl and UNIX shell commands, applied to automated operations of numerical weather prediction systems. System administration experience with an emphasis in installing open-source LINUX on workstation clusters designed to efficiently run weather models in parallel environment. Web development expertise using HTML, PHP, MySQL, and Javascript to display weather and snow products designed specifically to satisfy client requirements. Utilize these skills to build complete front-to-end (computer acquisition, system administration, model implementation, through web product display) numerical modeling systems for operations.
Snow Science
Prepare operational mountain weather and avalanche hazard forecasts for the general public and government agencies. Collect field observations for use in forecast preparation. Generate weather and snow products designed for the avalanche community and post them to a web site. Conduct applied research using a snowpack model. Develop an interface with a meteorological modeling system to produce season-long snowpack evolution profiles. Participate in avalanche accident investigations and prepare reports. Perform advanced ski patrol duties including snowpack stability evaluation and avalanche mitigation procedures.
Education and Training
Provide weather education presentations to avalanche centers, government agencies, ski areas, and the general public. Developed a 3-day mountain weather workshop, which is taught annually at Colorado Mountain College. Participate in avalanche awareness presentations at all technical levels. Certified avalanche field training instructor.
Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Foresight Weather, LLC. Developed a business plan to provide guidance to the utility industry based on meteorological models. Conduct consulting services as a Sole Proprietor. Provide full project management from conception through operational implementation. Unique ability to understand client requirements and to personally build complete systems that satisfy those requirements.

Awards, Organizational Memberships, and Certifications

  • Recipient of NOAA Bronze Medal (1997) for Olympic Weather Support activities.
  • National Weather Service Special Distinguished Service Award in recognition of technological contributions made to the Olympic Weather Support Project for the 1996 Olympic Games.
  • Recipient of the 1983 Heinz Lettau Award in recognition of the outstanding Master of Science thesis in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin.
  • American Avalanche Association, Professional Member 2006 – Present.
  • American Meteorological Society, Professional Member 1981 – Present.
  • American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education, Level 3 certification, Level 1 Instructor, 2007 – Present.
  • Emergency Medical Technician, 1985 – Present.
  • State of Colorado Type 1 Explosives Permit, 2009 – Present.

Relevant Publications

  1. Snook, J. S., 2010: Seasonal Weather Predictability: A Look at ENSO and MJO. The Avalanche Review, 28, 16-18.
  2. Snook, J. S., E. Greene, N. Nikolov, M. Fajardo, K. Zeller, 2005: High Resolution Weather Products for Avalanche Programs in the western United States. The Avalanche Review, 23, 6-7.
  3. Snook, J. S., P. A. Stamus, J. Edwards, Z. Christidis, J. A. McGinley, 1998: Local-domain mesoscale analysis and forecast model support for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games. Wea. Forecasting, 13, 138-150.
  4. Snook, J. S., 1998: Comments on “Regional real-time numerical weather prediction: Current status and future potential”. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79, 2747-2748.
  5. Snook, J. S., J. M. Cram, and J. M. Schmidt, 1995: LAPS/RAMS: A nonhydrostatic modeling system configured for operational use. Tellus, 47A, 864-875.
  6. Snook, J. S., and R. A. Pielke, 1995: Diagnosing a Colorado heavy snow event with a nonhydrostatic mesoscale numerical model structured for operational use. Wea. Forecasting, 10, 261-285.
  7. Poulos, G. S., D. A. Wesley, J. S. Snook, and M. P. Meyers, 2002: A Rocky Mountain storm – Part I: The Blizzard – Kinematic evolution and the potential for high-resolution numerical forecasting of snowfall. Wea. Forecasting, 17, 955-970.
  8. Meyers, M. P., J. S. Snook, D. A. Wesley, and G. S. Poulos, 2003: A Rocky Mountain Storm. Part II: The Forest Blowdown over the West Slope of the Northern Colorado Mountains—Observations, Analysis, and Modeling. Wea. Forecasting, 18, 662-674.