Ah, sunshine mixed with a few days of rain. This is what awaits thousands descending on Austin, Texas this weekend for the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society. At least that's what our nation's forecasters tell us.
These professionals, along with others in weather-related careers and students in the atmospheric or related sciences, won't be focused on what's happening outside in the atmosphere during the week ahead. Instead, they'll be attending or presenting short courses, forums, town hall meetings, symposium and poster presentations, committee meetings, awards banquets, or one or more of the many special events from a walk through the Exhibit Hall to a talk by T. Boone Pickens on our energy choices.
What they share and learn at the AMS 93rd Annual Meeting collectively advances the field of meteorology, and weather clearly affects us all. In March, which ranked as our nations warmest on record, 220 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change experts from 62 countries wrote a report that found climate change has already contributed to changes in extreme events – such as heat waves, high temperatures, and heavy precipitation.
This past year marked the warmest spring ever in the U.S. with severe drought across more than half of the continent, wildfires across more than 1 million acres, a derecho storm that swept from Chicago to DC in June, a hurricane that set record daily maximum rainfall (Isaac), record low Arctic sea ice extent, and finally Hurricane Sandy that extended about 1,000 miles wide and packed more total energy at landfall than even Hurricane Katrina with 90 mph-winds and massive flooding to the Atlantic coast. Now, aren’t you glad they’re meeting?
Amidst these scientists and technical experts at the Meeting will also be science educators and communicators. They're there to bridge the science, share the science, and teach the science. The American Meteorological Society hosts not only an Education Symposium but also day-long workshops for K-12 educators, a student conference and career fair, and WeatherFest – a large public event that engages learners of all ages in weather-related activities presented by meeting attendees.
If you live in or near Austin, make sure to attend this free engaging family event! It’s one more reason you’ll be glad AMS is hosting the meeting and is committed to education and outreach pursuits, especially with our nation's top atmospheric scientists in your home town! The UCAR Center for Science Education will be there, too, with engaging activities, digital simulations, and trivia about "Weather that Spins." Come say "Hi!"