Ms. Pam Knox is the Director of the University of Georgia (UGA) Weather Network and an agricultural climatologist in the Associate Dean of Extension’s Office. Her undergraduate studies were in both Math and Physics. For graduate school, she changed routes to pursue meteorology at the University of Wisconsin, where she obtained her master's degree.
After obtaining her master’s degree, she worked for the Weather Service in the Office of Hydrology in Washington D.C. She then moved back to Wisconsin and took a position as the Wisconsin State Climatologist for the next 10 years. This position was very similar to her current one with UGA, she monitored a large amount of weather information, provided information to the public, and managed the website. Knox and her husband came to UGA in 2001. During her time as the grant-funded research scientist, she began her work on climate change in agriculture by request of the grant details. This is where she started working with agriculture for the first time.
Since 2018, she has held the position with the Weather Network. Their role is to provide weather data to anyone across the state, especially for agricultural purposes. They have 88 stations around the state which are used by everyone to monitor local conditions, precipitation, soil temperature, and moisture.
As the extension agricultural climatologist, she writes a daily blog, provides information to callers, and gives talks about weather data. Most of this appointment encompasses getting information out to the public and educating others.
Knox feels as though the blog that she has created has been her most impactful project. Since 2014, she has published almost daily, if not multiple times a day. The content includes pieces of information from the news, the current drought status, and hurricane updates when available. The total number of articles that she has written for this blog has been between 6,000 to 7,000. She also writes a monthly column in the peanut newsletter to discuss the current conditions. Much of her outreach is with the extension agents because they do have the best connection to the growers.
The expected result of her work is an increase in awareness of climate and weather affecting peanuts and other crops. Also, through the conservation in irrigation that both water and money for fuel would be saved. Overall, she has found that growers are very eager to take on the new concepts from her research, depending on the size and income of the operation.
40% of her funding comes from the University, 40% is from the company Synoptic Data which provides the weather network data to the National Weather Service, and the remaining 20% is from the different commodity groups (cotton, peaches, blueberries, etc.).
Written by: Caraline Coombs