Congratulations to our 2018 AtmoCup champions, The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign!

Thanks to a late May storm chasing jackpot, the Illini surged ahead in the point standings and never relinquished their lead during the month of June. The Illinois Department of Atmospheric Sciences will be taking home the 2018 trophy along with our grand prize of $250 (and however many AtmoLife koozies we can fit in the shipping box). Your trophy has arrived at AtmoLife headquarters, and we’ll be sure not to wait 6 months this time to engrave and ship it (Sorry NC State). Speaking of last year’s champions, North Carolina State had another strong season finishing in 2nd, and rounding out the podium in 3rd was the University of Washington. Here are the complete final standings from the 2018 AtmoCup Challenge.

1. University of Illinois – 28 Points
2. North Carolina State University – 14 Points
3. University of Washington – 12 Points
4. Ball State University – 11 Points
T5. Central Michigan University – 9 Points
T5. San Jose State University – 9 Points
T5. SUNY Oswego – 9 Points
T5. University of Albany – 9 Points
T9. Colorado State University – 8 Points
T9. Cornell University – 8 Points
T9. University of Oklahoma – 8 Points
T12. Rowan University – 7 Points
T12. Texas A&M University – 7 Points
14. Massachussetts Institute of Technology – 6 Points
T15. Iowa State University – 5 Points
T15. McGill University – 5 Points
T17. St. Cloud State University – 4 Points
T17. THE Ohio State University – 4 Points
T17. University of Manitoba – 4 Points
T17. University of Nebraska – 4 Points
T17. University of Tennessee-Martin – 4 Points
T22. Rutgers University – 3 Points
T22. University of Maryland – 3 Points
T22. University of Missouri – 3 Points
T22. York University in Toronto – 3 Points
T26. Arizona State University – 2 Points
T26. Millersville University – 2 Points
T26. University of Kansas – 2 Points
T26. University of Virginia – 2 Points
T30. Idiot Birding Society* – 1 Point
T30. Embry Riddle Aeronautical University – 1 Point
T30. Northern Illinois University – 1 Point
T30. South Dakota School of Mines – 1 Point
T30. University of Miami – 1 Point
T30. University of North Dakota – 1 Point
T30. University of Wisconsin – 1 Point
37. Everybody Else – 0 Points

*definitely a real university


3st Place Medal – NC State

Awarded to the atmospheric science program with the most shameless thirst.


Although they were unable to defend their AtmoCup title, our 2017 champions repeated as 3st Place Medal winners. Their consistent, and often excessive efforts were not completely fruitless, as the Wolfpack managed to hunt down their second consecutive pandering superiority award.

The Rochelle Achievement – @GoAskAScientist, St. Cloud State

Named after the famous EF-4 tornado that many folks in meteorology commonly exalt with a bonus Fujita Scale point, The Rochelle Achievement is awarded to the AtmoCup participant with the most creatively earned bonus point. This year’s winner perfectly encapsulated the May 2018 frustrations of storm chasers across the nation with their blue sky chasing tweet.


The Bettes Award – Jeff Frame (@VORTEXJeff), University of Illinois

Named after the well known meteorologist (famous for running in front of my moving vehicle on a dirt road during a May 30th, 2013 storm chase), the winner of this award, the top individual point scorer, displays a consistent and possibly aggressive zeal for mother nature. Jeff managed to notch all 28 points for the Illini making him far and away the top scoring contestant. In addition to the $250 he earned for his department, The Professor of Atmospheric Sciences will take home a personal $50 cash prize. It should be noted that while all of U of I’s points fall under Jeff’s name, they were earned by a full team effort. Every point came from their department-sponsored storm chase trip, meaning a handful of Illini students and faculty played a role in claiming each storm.

What’s Next?

Okay, let’s address the elephant in the room here: I did a pretty shitty job commissioning this year’s competition. It directly relates to my absence from AtmoLife as a whole. In addition to leaving the AtmoCup on the backburner, you may have also noticed my inability to follow through on other items I’ve discussed publishing. These incomplete items include Chasertown, part II of our chasecation recap, a weather themed March madness voting bracket, and plenty more.

Although blogging is fun, I had always intended to grow this website beyond that. My desire has always been to build AtmoLife into a micro-social media outlet for weather enthusiasts where most of the content is contributed by users. Getting to that point however, requires significant additional effort and expertise, which I’ve gradually come to realize is more than I have time for. As a result, my enthusiasm for AtmoLife has dwindled significantly.

While I’m proud that I, along with our other awesome contributors, have been able to build AtmoLife into a name that’s recognized fairly widely throughout the online weather community, its future is uncertain while I reevaluate how I want to manage my site. Perhaps a sabbatical could rejuvenate my interest and allow me to devise a coherent plan for taking the site to the next level, but only time will tell. Unfortunately, this means an AtmoCup competition might not happen next year. Other recurring pieces on the site, including our #wxtwitter 100 may also fall by the wayside.

We couldn’t have made it this far without your genuine interest in bringing the meteorology community closer together. Thank you for all the website clicks, twitter favorites, and general friendliness you’ve thrown our way over the last couple years. You’ll still see one off posts on AtmoLife every now and then as inspiration strikes, but starting today, AtmoLife is taking a nice little nap.