Wednesday, January 12, 2011

WeatherFest, Money, and the Aftermath

WEATHERFEST

In a little over a week (Jan24-27th) thousands of meteorologists will arrive in Seattle, for the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society (perhaps a good reason to leave town!). The meeting, located at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle, includes two dozen conferences, town meetings, and all sorts of special events. The Sunday before (January 23rd) there will be a special gathering open to the public, and specially the K-12 set and their parents: WEATHERFEST. From 12-4 PM there will be an extravaganza of activities (booths, talks, demonstrations), visits from local weather celebrities (like Jeff Renner and other TV notables), and even the launch of a weather balloon. The event is free of charge and you will go home with all sorts of freebies and souvenirs. What could be better than that? I know I am going to be there!

There is a Web site with more information on Weatherfest you can check out:

http://www.ametsoc.org/meet/annual/weatherfest.html


MONEY
As you know, this blog has been advertising free (other than for my favorite links and issues...like math education). I am thinking of changing this and I will tell you why.

As you are aware, the State budget is not good and the university and my department have experienced substantial cuts. In addition, funding for maintaining all the UW weather software, modeling, and infrastructure is declining. Agencies are cutting their support of our local forecasting effort and I am searching for a solution other than cutting the offerings back or lessening our work. I am thinking of trying the google advertising system on this blog and seeing if that could bring in enough income to help. Let me be clear, none of this funding will go to me personally--it will all go to department staff or logistical support (like hard disks when one fails). Of course, if there is a high-tech billionaire or millionaire out there who wants to help, that would be good too! But, in case there isn't, I would like to try this approach and see if it can help stabilize the situation.

Storm Aftermath

Yesterday, we tried a little experiment with nowcasting (describing what is happening now and during the next few hours) and I hoped you found it useful. I really believe that this is the missing ingredient for weather prediction. At 4 PM yesterday it was clear that rush hour would be snow free over Puget Sound and the traditional sources of information were not equipped to tell you this.

Our forecast models often have errors...like yesterday, when the snow came in a few hours later than forecast and with greater intensity than expected. But a few hours before we often know what is going to happen and this information is useful. I am was amazed that the blog had 90,000 hits during the nowcasting experiment....implying to me that you also feel it is helpful.

A good portion of my research is going in this direction now, and I am working with the city of Seattle to develop an array of nowcasting applications: like Rainwatch, WindWatch, and SnowWatch. And the advent of smartphones gives us a wonderful delivery system for nowcasts and up to the minute weather information. In fact, I am try to convince some of my ex-students to form a company to deliver weather information to smartphones in clever ways. This is the future! Imagine a smartphone app like "WeatherProtector" that knows your position and constantly monitors the weather...warning you when a shower or high winds approach. Or another one that tell you when to start your bike ride to stay completely dry on a showery day. We could do either of these and a lot more.

71 comments:

jb said...

Up in the Bearing Sea the Coast Guard and vessels do a sort of nowcast thing on the radio. It works really well for those remote locations. I think it will work really well here. Great idea!

Allen Moore said...

Didn't realize things were so tight. Google's ads aren't too intrusive. So you've got my vote. I hope they help bring in some decent revenue. Meteorology's important!

Michael T said...

I would pay a fee just to be part of this blog. The goal is to help pay for the software/hardware needs. +++

oakdog said...

Cliff, not only should you be advertising for the sake of your department (a noble and worthwhile goal), but you should take some for yourself, as well. Anyone who reads more than a few blogs knows that they tend to be a lot of useless garbage. Your blog, on the other hand, is a gold mine of good science, a passion for the subject, entertaining commentary, and undoubtedly the best and most reliable forecasts in the region.

You're at the top of the heap, and I don't see why you shouldn't be compensated for it.

AdWords is great. It is unobtrusive yet relevant. And you will certainly make some money off of it.

I just hope you'll have the good sense to use some of it every now and then. You've earned it!

Catherine said...

REALLY appreciated the Nowcast. I waited for it in order to decide whether to rush out of my office at 4 or stay and get the rest of my work done! For what it's worth, I am a regular reader of your blog and would far prefer to pay a small subscription fee than have to see advertisements.

Anthony said...

Hey Cliff,
I'm all for Google Adsense and I hope it helps! I have used it in the past and I do have a word of warning:
Google is OBSESSED with garnering proper hits to their ads and therefore have very, very strict rules as to a site that features them (and their detection of non-compliance is, well, flawless) like not being able to directly reference the advertisements at all in writing on the page. As long as you carefully read through what they expect, I genuinely think it will help especially considering those 90,000 hits and my propensity to click any ad with the words Kestrel 3500 in it :D.

ninaf said...

The ads are fine with me.

Nowcast was great. It was sent out at work when people started to leave. :)

Bruce King said...

Professor Mass: how about a paypal donation button that would allow interested parties to donate a dollar each time that they found the information here useful.

Simple, easy, relatively painless.

As far as nowcasts go, it seems like quite a bit of work. Most of your utility to me as a farmer is in the 2 day or so range, so that I can plan my activities. In particular, I need accurate forecasting when making hay and planting, and in the winter with rainfall so that I can gauge and watch the rivers for flooding. I'm in the snohomish flood plain... Nowcasts are very noisy; i have to look at several pages instead of just one summary. maybe a different tab, link or blog address for that information.

Appreciate your work.

TrickyCoolJ said...

The nowcast was fantastic! I was able to make the decision to stay downtown at work knowing it wouldn't be chaotic at 5pm to get back to Northgate. It was also helpful throughout the evening to know that the temps were easing off and it would turn to rain by the morning, I didn't have to go to bed panicking how I was going to deal with early client conference calls from home.

TH said...

Cliff, your contribution to the community, the education of students, participation on public radio are all hallmarks of total dedication. Thank you. I, too, would be happy to pay a small fee to have access to the blog and think that modest advertising is reasonable. It's too bad it's even necessary as the University, funded by the State, should eagerly provide financial assistance. Keep it up, raise your expectations and standards, and carry on! Thank you again.

Chris Prosser said...

Hey Cliff,

The nowcast was great. A friend was planning a gathering for his wife and with your 4pm Nowcast had the confidence to move forward with it. Without it he probably would have needed to cancel as some people were planning on canceling due to the inclement weather.

--chris

WX said...

Nowcasts and truly timely weather information are a great idea. So, why do most airports only report metars on an hourly basis? Weather underground* has "rapid fire" and mesowest and aprs both publish new data at very much shorter intervals. I have noticed a few small airports that have recently gone to more frequent metar issuance, but still 20 minute intervals.

I also notice that the very nicely presented NWS forecasts are updated only 2X per day.

When so much of the reporting is automated, and when model runs happen every 6 hours, why are there such big delays in reporting????

TJ home.comcast.net/~wxtofly

sstillwell said...

I certainly understand the need for funding. I spent a few extra hours this evening working on grants to cover basic needs for my 2nd grade classroom. Educators at all levels give a lot and ask for very little, but you deserve a few dollars for sharing your time and expertise in this blog. I read it regularly and am developing a better understanding of weather as a result. Maybe they would advertise some of those nice home weather stations on your site... I've been thinking about how nice it would be to have weather data from my own backyard.

The Nowcast was very helpful yesterday! I would definitely subscribe to the proposed nowcasts as soon as they are developed and available- even for a fee.
Thanks for all the weather blogging. It is much appreciated.

Zadrugnik-Kum G. McKeown said...

Professor Mass,
Go for the advertising. I am not a huge fan of ads (who is?) but if it would help your department, it would be worth having them on the site. I also like the donation ideas posted here. I don't see why you couldn't do both as a test, and then take away the ads if the donations seem sustainable and if you don't like them on your site.

The nowcasts were really great, by the way. As others have said, they helped me plan my evening. As a night class teacher, I knew I wouldn't be able to cancel classes!
Thank you for all the work you do.

M.A. said...

Cliff, I concur with the other posters here that you should put a "donation button" on the site. You provide so much useful information; I check in with your site almost daily. It would be a way (for Washington readers especially)to vote with their wallets for the UW programs they want to help in these hard times.

froggie farmer said...

Loved your nowcasts. We're on a farm in Snohomish county and I was using the graphics and commentary to figure out when to do certain tasks outside to make the most of my time and what the weather was going to do next. The one thing I wish you talked about more, or provided more tools, is wind. We're on a ridgeline well above the valley floor where the nearest weather reporting station is, and we had gusts last night well into the 30mph range while Snohomish was reporting "Calm". Windwatch isn't as helpful as I'd like because it doesn't refresh often enough to know that big gusts are coming and we need to be on the lookout for trees coming down. But please keep up the good work. I'd support a subscription and/or Adsense program.

Elaine said...

Cliff, I love your blog, as well as your Friday morning spots on KUOW. I would gladly donate via a PayPal button.

You provide such a great service, I would think that the City of Seattle and Metro could chip in a bit to support you, especially if it involved the creation of a weather app for our smart phones.

So, how much are you talking about raising? Maybe we could throw a fundraiser for you, a party for weather geeks, and have some fun at the same time!

Charlie Phillips said...

Yeah, you should definitely do the ads, are they going to be weather ads, like for Davis weather stations or something? That would be cool. I love the blog, and hopefully I'll see you at WeatherFest!!!

Alan said...

Google Ads for normal users, and take Wikipedia's model. Let people who have the funds and the want, donate through PayPal!

Alexandra said...

I agree with everyone who has left a comment so far. I would be willing to pay a small fee for the information, and I would be fine with the GoogleAds. Finally, take some for yourself. You're worth it.

By the way, I only heard about the Cliff Mass Weather Bolg about three days ago and I've read it four times since. And I don't read blogs. Thanks.

Alexandra said...

I agree with everyone who has left a comment so far. I would be willing to pay a small fee for the information, and I would be fine with the GoogleAds. Finally, take some for yourself. You're worth it.

By the way, I only heard about the Cliff Mass Weather Bolg about three days ago and I've read it four times since. And I don't read blogs. Thanks.

Charlie Phillips said...

Yeah, you should definitely do the ads, are they going to be weather ads, like for Davis weather stations or something? That would be cool. I love the blog, and hopefully I'll see you at WeatherFest!!!

Eric Jain said...

I've heard good things about Flattr,may be worth looking into if you want to receive small, regular donations from readers.

Michael said...

Cliff, you might also consider adding a few weather-related products that you sell via affiliate links (joining the Amazon program is pretty easy).

An Ordinary Average Guy said...

I agree that the NOWCAST was a desirable and useful tool/feature/service. I'm an amateur radio operator and frequently look at the APRS weather data and CWOP stuff to see what's going on (but I don't always understand what it means.)

The value-add that you did with the NOWCAST experiment is what is really missing from weather reports and I'm glad that you want to push the envelope with Seattle to improve things. As a resident up north (Snohomish County) I would hope that Everett and the county would take note and follow suit.

Keep up the good work and thanks for all you do!

dayn_1 said...

Cliff

I'm all for the google ads, though I would go one step further.

Put a pay-pal button on here for voluntary donations.

Trust me, we will donate.

Keep doing what you're doing.

dayn_1 said...

Put in a pay pal button for donations.

Pamky said...

Thumbs up on life support measures (ads) and app development. If even half of yesterday's 90,000 Nowcast hits made a one time donation of $10, well, that would keep you in hard drives and coffee for awhile. Thanks too for the info on the meteorologists convention!

JewelyaZ said...

Nowcasts would be GREAT for Android devices... I work for HTC... just sayin'.

As for ads, go for it! I think Google Ads are an unobtrusive way for a site to pay its way and especially given the state budget situation, your blog might be ideally situated to help your department continue the work you're doing, and maybe even to get the time needed to bring us a nowcast whenever there are fast-breaking weather changes.

As someone else has said, I would actually throw in $10 a year to be a site sponsor. Consider it. I bet a lot of us would; I've certainly gotten as much value from it as I get from NPR, and I'm not scared of sending them money. Is there a nifty-nerdy t-shirt for those who donate $50 or more? I'm in!!

I used the Nowcast to decide to work a few hours more on Tuesday. Good all around, a panic-reduction system. :-)

Upupaepops said...

I too have zero objection to whatever ad/fee program you have in mind

I read your Nowcasts more as a way to learn. It is like bring in a lab to seeing and hear lecture. I could read and relate to the outside right at the moment.

I am slowly getting my co-workers to believe that your blog brings good education and understanding and if there is any big event, they should be checking in for what your knowledge brings

Bravo for trying to work out the Nowcast with the local authorities. I hope it can bring your department a bit of revenue as well

Candice said...

I'm in favor of anything that helps to keep this blog going. Go for the Google Ads to help the department, and maybe consider adding a page to pay for membership which would eliminate the ads. I pay for Accuweather Premium annually to be a member and avoid the ads. It's worth it to consider both options. Use the money from Google to fund your school department and keep the money from the membership dues as some form a payment from your loyal followers. Sign me up!
Thanks for the time and effort you put into this!
Candice

Michael DeMarco said...

I second the Paypal donation button. It is unobtrusive and effective.

TLD said...

Your blog is a treasure trove of great weather information. I refer all my local friends to it now when they fuss over potential impending snow or some other weather goings-on. I'd pay for a subscription to your blog happily knowing that the revenue generated went to a a necessary, socially-useful, and underfunded cause.

On another note, would you consider a post about the flooding in Queensland, Australia? It interests me that this flooding is so severe on the heels of the drought from which most of the country just emerged. But I also wonder why the weather system on its own seems to be so severe.

Washington Blues Blog said...

I agree with other comments that monetizing the site isn't intrusive. You provide valuable information. I would add that AdSense isn't the on;y way to monetize. The PayPal Donate button is a great suggestion. I would add that you should look into Amazon Associates as an affiliate and show links to products (weather related books and other related items for example) that earn revenue % when people click and purchase.

The Nowcast is fantastic. As a Twitter user, I think the Nowcast lends itself to a Twitter application extremely well. Its a natural fit!

syl said...

Cliff,

Your blog is great. Re: funding, you might consider a public radio model: ask people to contribute based on the value they find in the service. I think you'd be pleasantly surprised.

Rj said...

I'm definitely ready to click on a paypal button or be an annual subscriber to support this worthy endeavor!

Julia said...

Nowcast Feedback:
The Nowcasts are great and actually I think Twitter is the best medium for real-time current updates. Blogs are passive - but the best use of Twitter I've seen is for this kind of real-time event updates. I'm subscribed to you and @ScottSKOMO for weather updates.

My feedback and recommendation for the tweets is to be as informative as possible in the 142 characters. Very often tweets say "Blog updates posted" - but when I'm out and about I don't have time to go check the blog. I'd rather have the most relevant info: e.g. "Nowcast 10:30pm: 1-2 inches over much of area - turning to rain by 2am - (tinyurl)" (you get the idea)

Thanks so much and also on-board with the advertising. We have to get creative.

Lisa said...

I'll second, third, and fourth the comments above and encourage you to put a donation button on the blog.

Ads are fine with me, too!

analogkid said...

+1 to both ideas of advertising as well as including a donation link. Wish I was more business or tech/software savy to work on a Nowcast app. The only claim I can make is being a graduate from the atmos sci department. Thanks for your recent efforts compiling the Nowcast and other updates.

stevemcn said...

I'm willing to support sites that I appreciate and visit nearly every day, like this one, whose owners show passion for their subject, respect for their readers and offer unique content. I recently subscribed the Roger Ebert's film site for this very reason. I would prefer to see a subscription model with a modest fee rather than advertising, but doing both is probably a good revenue model.

Scrapycandy said...

I would be ok even with local restaurant ads...just a thought.

Your thoughts: 1) Is our January weather unusually like November weather ie. amount of wind and rain? 2) Snow a week from now? (long range forecast) and 3) Do the lowlands have lots of historical data for snow in February? Thanks!

longwire said...

Advertise? Hail Yes! The Paypal donation link is also worth investigating. $ is tight here at the UW, good for you for thinking of this!

Sasquatch said...

mI support the idea of Google Ads and I'd like to suggest that you also add donation buttons for PayPal and other micropayment services. I'd like to contribute directly myself and I'm sure there are many others who would agree.

A application for mobile devices is not only a great idea but an inevitable one. I hope you can be the first.

Thanks!

Geoff in Bellevue said...

wikipedia did a donation campaign recently that got my attention. I'd donate on an annual basis if I was reminded, and you have every right to hold a fund raiser.

I loved the Nowcast the other day, too. My wife was wondering if she'd be able to drive the next morning, and I assured her she would. The rain came as predicted, and the roads were clear, as predicted.

Ellis and Alexia said...

Cliff,

I'm an avid sailor and I read your blog religiously for updates to the weather and greatly enjoyed your book. I definitely support you having some advertising. You're providing a huge service.

Keep up the great work! Thanks so much.

Ellis

SoftSpirits said...

I am sure you don't want to make this a total commercial site, but I agree with the Google Advertising and the paypal donation button (with a non-profit contribution receipt) as well as your top recommendations for some weather center hardware us enthusiasts can purchase, with some proceeds going to the cause.
I would buy. I already bought your book, and I need a new weather station that is wireless because the one i have now, is great, but to track the data i have to hook it up to my laptop using an archaic serial port with usb adapter. We trust you, so your product recommendations will go a long way.
Also, and I am sure you already know this, you should schedule more lectures. I was at the Bellingham one, and it was a packed house, standing room only. That means you need a larger venue and you need to charge more for tickets. People are genuinely interested in what you have to say. There is NOTHING WRONG with taking advantage of that and earning money for a cause we all believe in.

Christopher said...

Everything I would say has been said, but just for more support:

1. The Nowcast was great.

2. I don't much care for ads on sites, but I can go with them for good reasons, and you reasons are definitely good.

3. A paypal or equivalent donation button for small and painless donations would be welcome. Anybody who thinks your site isn't worth the cost of a Crusin' Coffee Mocha a week (much better than *$) doesn't deserve to benefit from it.

4. Your intelligent and informative approach to talking about the weather is a delight. I have learned so much from you.

5. Have you ever thought about offering an on-line course on meteorology? I'm sure I'm not the only one would pay for such a course. Or perhaps filming your 101 course for the OpenCourseware Consortium program?

Viraj Mody said...

If you throw a PayPal donate button on here, I'll be happy to contribute.

Gregory said...

Not to press anyone for a donation, but for those interested in donating to help the department: https://www.washington.edu/giving/make-a-gift?page=make&code=ATMSCI

Denice said...

I just learned of your blog via a friend. Nowcasting ... excellent! Smart phone app ... excellent! Thank you for being the generous person that you are with what you know and do.

C.P.O. said...

I agree with the many others who support monetizing the site, and who appreciated the nowcasting. That is an exciting direction!

I would add that we need t-shirts. CMWB!!!

Michael Winter said...

I also agree with the previous comments and would support your work through donation or membership. The ads would also be fine.

I hope I am able to get to WeatheFest during the open day to discuss your mobile device concept.

I maintain real-time weather and webcam access for my location @

http://www.explorebainbridge.com/pages/weather.html

I am 30+ year veteran of software development and atmospheric sciences study.

I am very much a proponent of the mobile delivery model you spoke of and would be interested in discussing it to see if that along with other supporting work can be taken further.

Thomas said...

I'm another commenter who won't complain about adding advertising.

The nowcasting mobile app is a great idea. A friend of mine works from home so has the flexibility to watch the radar and never jog in the rain. Lots of people want updating what's-happening-in-the-next-few-hours forecasts. Keep encouraging your ex-students!

scottcha said...

One group who already does alot of nowcasts are skiers. See this link for the current nowcast thread for the PNW on Teton Gravity: http://www.tetongravity.com/forums/showthread.php?t=198973
Really mostly just applies to the mountains but is a valuable datasource for folks already doing this sort of thing.

Toni said...

Corporations are philanthropically challenged. Any way you can get money out of them for your endeavors would be excellent. A paypal button is also a good idea, but making people pay to read your blog puts poor people out of the loop and that would bug me. Love your blog - sometimes it's the highlight of my day.

walshsea said...

Fine by me to let Google Advertise--aside from buying your book, or just sending straight cash, I've been wondering how we can support this great work.

Tanner "TJ" Johnson said...

I have a feeling that a lot of the hits around the 'nowcasting' time at around 4pm were because that was supposedly when the weather was supposed to 'hit the fan'. As the work day's end approached, I know that everyone in my office was checking your blog to see how their commute home would be.

imeldadulcich.com said...

Please do use the Google ads to continue your fine blog. Or, let us know another way to support you. I turn to your blog before & after listening/reading all weather news. http://imeldadulcich.com

Ben Martens said...

The NowCast is great and I definitely support the use of ads. With the traffic you pull in, you should be able to send a good sized check to the University. Thank you for your efforts!

guntharr said...

This blog was great. My Tuesday evening commute & plans went off without a single hitch.

The nowcasting location based smartphone app stuff sounds like a great idea I would buy the hell out of stuff like that on my android phone.

Doug said...

Google ads, Paypal donations, why not do both?

As well, I'm sure I'm not the only person frequenting Dr. Mass' site who is also delighted to pay Wunderground a few pennies a day for their excellent service. I'd happily also pay an annual fee for the valuable information found here. The total weather picture requires both raw data as well as informed comment.

There's no such thing as free lunch. If our government finances must remain tied to swings in economics unrelated to the ongoing requirements of citizens, some other means of satisfying those needs is required, until we fix the underlying problem. No embarrassment should attach to acknowledging this.

SkunkBayWeather said...

Cliff,
There are some very creative people on this blog and I would agree with most of the fund raising ideas. I am all for the PayPal idea. Advertising doesn’t bother me at all. But maybe the most creative idea here is the possibility of an on-line course for those of us that regret not taking any Atmospheric Sciences classes when we were at the UofW. This could be a revenue generator and after the work of putting the class together it could be relatively maintenance free. I would vote to implement all three ideas.
I enjoyed the Nowcasts. I also enjoyed the excitement it generated with all your readers. I know I am not alone when I say I felt like a 10 year old kid again waiting for and watching the snow.
On another note…. Has there ever been any discussion by any of the weather agencies regarding minimum requirements for personal weather stations that broadcast their data. It is getting hard to weed through all the sites to find accurate information. Perhaps an approval or rating system could help with this. I know CWOP does some quality checks, but they are typically related to surrounding stations and you have to dig to get to their ratings. It would be nice to know which stations to look at that are providing accurate data and filter out some of the noise. I have worked very hard to provide accurate data with my stations. However, I would sure like to learn more about providing reliable information. I would definitely want to be on that “approved” list. During an event like we had this week, I really enjoy looking around the state to see how a storm is progressing.
Thank you again for all you do Cliff.

JayNorth said...

I agree with Allen - google ads are OK - we can handle it. Go for it. Of course, maybe Michael T is that rich person you are looking for! He never said how much of a fee he'd be willing to pay. :,)

Amanda said...

The only downside of google ads is that they are context based. If people do not click on the ads, you do not make money. Therefore the question is - will people click on weather related ads? I run a variety of websites and some naturally have higher clickthrough than others depending on the topic.
Another factor you may want to consider is that as your site is hosted by Blogger (google) - when you add ads to this site, Google will keep maybe 50% of your ad income as the hosting is technically theirs. It might be worth your while to consider buying your own domain name ($10 per year) and paying for hosting ($10 month) if you don't want to give profits back to Google every month.
Another monetization option is to develop very affordable members only content - newsletters, realtime updates, etc (this could all be done via email so nothing too complicated.) If you charged $5 per month, at 100 subscribers that's $500 income monthly - probably more than 5 times what you would make with Google ads.
I would also strongly encourage you to develop a smartphone app. This might be easier than you think. Lots of bloggers are doing this (food blogger David Lebovitz is a great example) and I am fairly certain they are contracting it out. This is likely work a undergrad computer student could do for you over the summer. Then once the structure is built, you would just update content.

Terri said...

I love your blog and I very much appreciated the Nowcast. It was cool to see your insights and the forecasting in an up to the moment way.

Also, I would support you in seeking advertising for the blog. I read every post and think that the blog has great value.

bill said...

I really value the information and educational value you provide on this blog. And I am willing to put my money (even for a retiree) where my mouth is. Given the current culture normal of expecting something for nothing I have to leave it to your judgment to decide the best source of revenue to continue the blog. I fully support whatever your decision.

Anacortes

LaffingKat said...

I think the nowcasting apps sound like a great idea!

As far as funding, I would have no objection to Google ads. However, I think this blog is a very valuable resource, and I would be willing to support it more directly. Perhaps you should consider adding a donation button, or running periodic donation campaigns or something.

David Schowengerdt said...

Haven't been in the weather biz for about 8 years, but would love such a venture with the mobile apps. Very cool.

Guido said...

You should really consider adding a virtual tip jar to the website. I'd certainly donate some money. I think what you do is *great* and I would absolutely support it with money.

Dimonds said...

I really like the idea of a donation button, but at the same time, have a few goals every so often that you can mention to the readers. New hard drives, faster processors for your modeling computers. This lets the users know where the money is going and who its helping.

Just $5-$10 via Paypal every so often from a few readers would be a good start.

On nowcasting, I missed the actual event on the blog, but read it afterward. Perhaps Twitter would be an excellent place for nowcasting. At least for the fun weather events in the northwest like the snow storm the other day. For everyday updates, it might be a bit much.

Thank you Cliff for this blog, I really enjoy reading about why we have the weather we have, and not just seeing the current snapshot of what to expect.

Eric Jain said...

I'd like to second Dimonds comment about funding goals. I'd be far more likely to contribute anything (and more than once) if there was a banner (like recently on Wikipedia) that states a fundraising goal (but perhaps more specific, e.g. we need $x to cover y). Even better if I can pledge money, and am only charged if the goal is reached.

Paypal seems to be a popular option for accepting donations, however if you get hit by their random incompetence, expect to spend a LOT of time to straighten things out...

Maybe have a look at one of the growing number of "crowdfunding" startups (see e.g. this article in the Economist: http://www.economist.com/node/16909869?story_id=16909869)?