Last week on our Twitter page, we vaguely teased an upcoming competition detailing only that it’s occurring for the first time this year and that colleges are involved.

Today, we provide the full details of this annual competition in our formal introduction of the 2017 AtmoCup.

What is the AtmoCup?

The AtmoCup is the AtmoLife hosted annual competition of universities with meteorology or atmospheric science programs. This includes the schools whose logos are displayed in the teaser tweet, but it is certainly not limited to just these programs. Fear not, dear reader, your alma mater is not excluded from this competition so long as they have an atmo program.

The competition begins right now and ends at 0 UTC, July 1st. The school with the most points at the finish wins the AtmoCup, and the means in which schools earn points are detailed later in the post.

Who can participate in the AtmoCup?

Literally anybody.

Whether you’re a student, faculty member, alumni, or just a fan, you can compete in the AtmoCup and help your school earn points. This should be an obvious caveat, but I’ll mention it anyway: once you pick a school, you’re tied to them for the entire competition. Many mets, especially in academia, have been part of multiple atmo programs for various degrees and/or faculty positions. In these cases, we recommend you compete for your current or most recent school, but the choice is up to you.

What is the AtmoCup winner awarded?

The AtmoCup is (will be) an actual trophy that the winning atmo program will get to keep forever. It’s gonna have lightning and stuff on it, and it will be really cool and totally not purchased from the same place that made your youth league soccer participation trophies.

How do schools acquire points?

Alright, let’s talk business. There are 5 ways in which you can help your school take home the inaugural AtmoCup. There are both objective and subjective components, and although we do our best to not create a bias toward the larger programs, it certainly helps to gather as much participation from your school as possible.

The Weather Challenge

Ahh yes, good ‘ol WX Challenge. That forecasting competition you participated in during your freshman intro to meteorology lab for about 3 weeks until you began using’s predictions every day or neglected to enter a forecast all together. This time the WX Challenge is worth something far more valuable than extra credit: Sweet delicious AtmoCup points for your school. The contest spans from Jan 30 – May 4 and includes several point earning opportunities.

  • Forecast Cities (5 cities, 2-weeks each)
    • 3 points awarded to the schools with the top individual and overall scores.
    • 2 points awarded to the schools with the 2nd place individual and overall scores.
    • 1 point awarded to the schools with the 3rd place individual and overall scores.
  • Tournament City (1 city, 2 weeks)
    • 6 points awarded to the schools with the top individual and overall scores.
    • 4 points awarded to the schools with the 2nd place individual and overall scores.
    • 2 point awarded to the schools with the 3rd place indidual and overall scores.
  • Cumulative results
    • 10 points awarded to the schools with the top individual and overall scores.
    • 9 points awarded to the schools with the 2nd place individual and overall scores.
    • 8 points awarded to the schools with the 3rd place individual and overall scores.
    • 1 point awarded to the schools with the 10th place individual and overall scores.

An example of how our point system works: The fall cumulative results have Penn State in 1st place overall with individual finishers in 5th, 8th, and 9th place. If those were the spring cumulative results, PSU would earn 10 points for their 1st overall finish, as well as 6, 3, and 2 points for the individual results, a total of 21 points. The same concept applies to each city’s results.

We realize that signing up for WX Challenge with your school requires being an active student/faculty member at said school, therefore this is the only component of the challenge in which alumni/fans are not eligible to compete in.

NCAA Basketball Tournament

Since we meteorologists pride ourselves on our ability to predict the future, it’s time to apply this skill to the only thing more chaotic than Mother Nature, March Madness. Come tourney time, we will create an online group in which you can submit your bracket. ONE PER PERSON, DANGIT. The point scoring will be similar to the WX Challenge cumulative scoring: 10 points to the school of the user with the 1st place bracket, 9 points for 2nd place, 8 points for 3rd place, … , 1 point for 10th place.

Storm Chasing

If you’re the first to see a tornado out on a chase, claim it for your school! Tweet us a photo/video of it (@atmolife) and use the hashtag #AtmoCup2017. IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO PROVIDE ADEQUATE VERIFICATION that the media you sent us is in fact yours and from the tornado you say it is. If we accept your claim, you will earn your school 3 points. You can claim as many tornadoes for your school as you see, and earn 3 points for each one of them.

Since tornado claiming puts certain schools at a geographical advantage, we have decided to open up the storm chase claims to additional meteorological phenomena. Below is our complete list of extreme weather, that if we accept your verification, will earn you points for your program each time you submit a claim.

  • Tornado: 3 points
  • Hail > 2″: 1 point
  • Hail > 4″: 2 points
  • Waterspout: 1 point
  • Thundersnow (can be claimed on a per-storm basis, not per-lightning strike): 1 point lightning, 1 point thunder, 3 points both
  • White-out Blizzard: 1 point
  • Freezing rain accretion > 1″: 1 point
  • Freezing rain accretion > 2″: 2 points
  • Haboob: 2 points
  • Turning around and not drowning: 1 point
  • Heat burst: 5 points
  • Snownado: 100 points

Right here is where we should probably mention that you should storm chase responsibly, and that we are not liable for anything stupid you do while you’re out on these meteorology themed scavenger hunts.

Weekly Instagram Contests

We will soon feature weather related Instagram contests as part of a new weekly publication on our blog. Follow us on Instagram (atmolife) and tag us in your submissions, and the winner of each week’s contest will earn 3 points for their school (and a free AtmoLife koozie for yourself!).

Good Tweets + Random Bonus Points

This part of the contest is entirely subjective and points are awarded at the sole discretion of our AtmoCup Commissioner. We love #wxtwitter here at AtmoLife, and when somebody on #wxtwitter tweets something great, especially relating to the AtmoCup, we feel compelled to reward them. In fact, we have already awarded our first point of the 2017 AtmoCup (back in 2016 nonetheless).

Congratulations to San Jose State on their early 1-point lead!

We also may award a random bonus point here and there for various accomplishments such as:

  • A perfect score on a daily WX Challenge prediction during a tough event to forecast
  • An exceptionally badass pic/vid of the tornado/haboob/blizzard/etc. you claimed
  • Having the funniest name for your March Madness bracket

But again, these are entirely subjective. Thankfully, this category of points will be few and far between, and will likely have little impact on the outcome of the overall result.

Or will it?

Let the 2017 AtmoCup begin!