The AMS Solar Energy Prediction Contest brought together participants from around the world to tackle the problem of improving solar energy forecasting.  The contest was held on Kaggle , a website for hosting worldwide data mining and machine learning contests.  Participants used a set of NOAA Global Ensemble Forecast System reforecasts as input for statistical and machine learning models that predicted the total daily solar energy at 98 Oklahoma Mesonet sites. Over the four-month span of the contest, 157 teams from six continents submitted over 2,500 sets of predictions. The winners were:

First Place:
Lucas Eustaquio Gomes da Silva (Belo Horizonte, Brazil) and
Gilberto Titericz Jr. (São José dos Campos, Brazil)

Second Place:
Benjamin Lazorthes (Toulouse, France)

Third Place:
Owen Zhang (New York, New York)

Top Student Winner:
Gilles Louppe (Liège, Belgium)

The first-place, second-place, and student winners will present their methods at a special session (Wednesday, February 5, 1:30-2:30 p.m., Room C204) of the AMS Annual Meeting. Specialists in renewable energy and data science as well as all interested attendees are invited to learn about the methods used in the contest and to discuss what value the contest results may provide for forecasts of renewable energy and other phenomena.

The contest is jointly sponsored by the 12th Conference on Artificial and Computational Intelligence and its Applications to the Environmental Sciences; the 22nd Conference on Probability and Statistics in the Atmospheric Sciences; and the Fifth Conference on Weather, Climate, and the New Energy Economy.

You can find more information about the contest here. The winners’ model approaches and codes are available here.


The AMS announced this week that Alexander E. “Sandy” MacDonald is the new AMS president-elect and will take over as the Society’s president in January of 2015.

Sandy MacDonald

MacDonald is the director of the Earth System Research Laboratory and the chief science advisor for NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. His career has focused on advancing science and technology toward the improvement of services. His leadership role with NOAA dates back to the 1980s, when he led a group within NOAA’s research laboratories that developed and tested systems to bring data streams and models together for operational forecasters. He received the Department of Commerce Gold Medal Award for his role in the development of the National Weather Service Advanced Weather Interactive Processing System (AWIPS) model in 1993.

In 1998, he earned the Distinguished Presidential Rank Award after working with Vice President Al Gore to start the GLOBE program, a web-based initiative that promotes science education in classrooms across the world.

More recently, MacDonald invented Science on a Sphere®–a multimedia system using high-speed computers, advanced imaging techniques, and strategically placed projectors to display full-color animated images of satellite, geophysical, and astronomical data on a sphere–which is being placed in museums and science centers around the world. In 2007, he was awarded a Meritorious Presidential Rank Award for his invention. (Science on a Sphere exhibits will be the subject of a presentation at the upcoming Annual Meeting in Atlanta.) MacDonald has also led efforts within NOAA to use Unmanned Aircraft Systems to improve the accuracy of weather and climate predictions. He received a Distinguished Presidential Rank Award for his leadership of global modeling efforts at the Earth System Research Laboratory.

A native of Montana, MacDonald now lives in Boulder, Colorado.

The AMS also announced the results of the councilor elections and the Council’s selection of a fifth councilor. The new AMS councilors are Heidi Cullen of Climate Central, Steve Hanna, CCM, of Hanna Consultants, Susan Jasko of California University of Pennsylvania, Dennis Lettenmaier of the University of Washington, Michael Morgan of the National Science Foundation, and Wendy Schreiber-Abshire of UCAR’s COMET Program.



The September issue of BAMS included a special supplement, “Explaining Extreme Events of 2012 from a Climate Perspective,” edited by Thomas Peterson, Martin Hoerling, and Stephanie Herring of NOAA and Peter Stott of the UK Met Office. This was the second edition of this annual investigation of the causes of recent extreme events. The supplement consists of short, concise studies by various author teams and thus serves as a demonstration of the latest methodologies for attributing specific events to longer term trends in climate. For their work on the report, Peterson, Hoerling, Herring, and Stott are lauded in this month’s issue of Foreign Policy magazine as “Leading Global Thinkers of 2013.”

Foreign Policy called the report “a breakthrough in climate science” for connecting extreme events like Hurricane Sandy to human-influenced climate change. The magazine praised the report’s four editors for “point[ing] problem-solvers in the right direction” on better understanding the causes of extreme weather and climate events. Upon learning about the honor, the four noted that the recognition highlights the value that studying extreme events can provide to global security and sustainability.

“It is clearly an acknowledgement that attribution of extreme events is an important scientific topic—that the results of event attribution research can help guide real-world, climate-smart actions,” Peterson told

The editors also noted that the tribute “honors the collective effort” of all climate scientists studying extreme events, and specifically the 18 different research groups that contributed to the BAMS report. Of course, extreme events will be a featured topic at the AMS Annual Meeting in Atlanta in February, as the theme of the meeting is “Extreme Weather–Climate and the Built Environment: New Perspectives, Opportunities, and Tools.”

Foreign Policy‘s 100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013 are divided into 10 categories ranging from “the innovators” and “the healers” to “the artists” and “the decision-makers.” The coeditors of the BAMS report were cited in “the naturals” category. Others who made the list of 100 include Vladimir Putin, Pope Francis, the Mars Rover Team, Mark Zuckerberg, Shinzo Abe, and the IPCC. Foreign Policy will be honoring the 100 Global Thinkers at a special event this Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Watch for the third extreme-events supplement to be released with BAMS next September.


There is almost 4 million square feet of space in the Georgia World Congress Center–the home of the 94th AMS Annual Meeting. The meeting will feature more than 1,500 oral presentations, close to 1,000 poster presentations, about 100 exhibitors in the main exhibit hall, 45 special events, 36 conferences and symposia, and 18 town hall meetings.

That’s a lot of ground to cover and a lot of  activity to keep track of. And we haven’t even mentioned the Student Conference, short courses, lectures…and of course, the most important number of all: approximately 3,500 attendees just like you.  annual app screenshot

The point is that there will be a lot going on at the meeting–so much that you could probably use a little help to keep track of it all. That’s where the new 94th Annual Meeting app for mobile devices comes in. It provides lists of sessions and events, abstracts of presentations, exhibitor information, and maps of the venue. It includes a scheduler that will allow you to set up your day-to-day calendar. It allows you to communicate with other attendees and it provides access to Twitter and Facebook activity. It links to news, photos, and videos related to the meeting that will be regularly updated. In sum, it does a lot to  help make your experience at the meeting more enjoyable and more convenient.

The app is now available for iPhones and iPads (search the app store for “AMS 2014″), Android devices (search the play store for “AMS 2014″), and Blackberry and Windows phones (point your browser to



by Keith L. Seitter, AMS Executive Director

Earlier this week, the Heartland Institute appears to have sent an extensive e-mail blast with what is more or less a press release for a paper that will appear in an upcoming issue of BAMS entitled “Meteorologists’ Views about Global Warming: A Survey of American Meteorological Society Professional Members” (in full disclosure, I am a coauthor on this paper).  A disturbing aspect of this e-mail is that it seems some effort was placed in making it appear to have been sent by AMS.  It was sent from an e-mail account with AMS in the name (though not from the “” domain) and featured the AMS logo prominently (used without permission from AMS).  Only in the fine print at the bottom was it clear that this apparently came from the Heartland Institute.  The text of the e-mail reports results from the study far differently than I would, leaving an impression that is at odds with how I would characterize those results.

If you got this Heartland Institute e-mail, or if you have read articles or blog posts related to this study, my suggestion is simple.  Rather than take someone else’s interpretation of the survey results, read the paper yourself and draw your own conclusions.  It is freely available here as an Early Online Release.

A difference between the AMS and some organizations is the transparency and scientific integrity with which we operate.  This survey was conducted to satisfy scientific curiosity on an important topic and the results are published for all to see.  This is the way science is meant to work.



The Board for Early Career Professionals (BECP) was created in 2012 to better meet the needs of AMS members who have completed their degrees, landed or are pursuing their first job, and who are looking for opportunities to advance their careers through professional development opportunities, networking, and support through a variety of AMS-sponsored activities. At the 2013 AMS Annual Meeting in Austin, the BECP hosted the First Annual AMS Conference for Early Career Professionals.  It was attended by more than 50 upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and a cross-section of AMS members entering fields throughout the weather enterprise.

“Our inaugural conference in Austin was a resounding success and demonstrated the Society’s commitment to supporting early-career members,” says BECP chairperson Andrew Molthan.  “For 2014 in Atlanta, we have two outstanding conference chairs–Erik Pytlak and Matt Lacke–who have arranged a series of focused, interactive group and panel discussions targeting professional development. We’ll have great information and feedback from mid- and late-career members of all sectors, candid conversations on the topics you’re interested in, and a chance to interact with the AMS leadership team. It will be a great opportunity to network with your colleagues while bolstering your technical skills with other ‘soft skills’ required for success in the workplace.”

The Second Annual AMS Conference for Early Career Professionals will take place from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, 2 February 2014, as part of the 94th AMS Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference will kick off with rotating group discussions led by professionals in the atmospheric sciences. The focus will be on what to do after getting that first job and what skills to consider developing. Topics will include how to keep a current job, how to get the next job, how to become a leader, and how to handle working with others.

The second half of the conference will include two interactive panel discussions. One panel with AMS leadership will discuss how the Society can benefit members who are beginning their careers in the atmospheric sciences. The second panel with other early- and midcareer meteorologists from the private, academic, government, and television sectors will discuss early-career experiences and offer advice on topics brought up by attendees.

Following the conference, attendees and other Annual Meeting participants are invited to attend the Fourth Annual AMS Reception for Early Career Professionals planned for Sunday evening.

For more details, visit the Early Career Professional Conference program online here. Additional information on the BECP can be found on Facebook, in the July 2012 issue of BAMS, and in Q&A articles with early-career professionals in recent issues of BAMS.


Annual Meeting Updates

November 20, 2013 · 0 comments

Philip Ardanuy and Eileen Shea, the co-chairs of the 2014 AMS Annual Meeting, and AMS President J. Marshall Shepherd recently sent out this message with updates about the meeting:

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

The 94th American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting is less than three months away, can you believe it? We’ve had some updates to the technical sessions, so please visit the program to view the sessions and set your very own personal schedule. We are also VERY excited to launch our new mobile app, AMS 2014—coming in early December! With this app you will be able to view sessions, view exhibitors, view floor plans, connect with other attendees, and so much more! Below are a few specific events, in addition to the technical sessions, that are new and we’re excited to share them with you!

  • The Presidential Forum’s opening plenary will be entitled “Monday Morning Quarterbacking: Looking to the Past; Preparing for the Future.” This session will provide practical perspectives on the consequences of weather and climate and will allow all of the participants and attendees to explore the Annual Meeting Theme together. It will also set the stage for the week’s exploration of the Weather and Climate Enterprise, which is aimed at improving society’s ability to more effectively anticipate, prepare for, and respond to weather and climate extremes now and in the future.

The Presidential Forum will include a keynote address given by Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth blogger, The New York Times, and Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding, Pace University. Mr. Revkin will be speaking on “The New Communication Climate: An Exploration of Tools and Traits That Give the Best Chance of Success in Facing a Fast-Forward Media Landscape and Changing Climate.” Additional information can be found here. This address will be followed by a McLaughlin Group-style panel moderated by Margaret Davidson, NOAA Coastal Services Center. Modeled after The McLaughlin Group television program, the panel discussion will be (mostly) unscripted and unrehearsed. Panelists will be invited to express their own opinions and analysis, in anticipation of creating insightful and lively debate. Per The McLaughlin Group policy, we “will defend the right of individuals to express unpopular views . . . Intellectual honesty and argument merit are touchstones…” The panelists for the discussion will be:

o Leslie Chapman-Henderson, President and CEO, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes
o David Perkes, Architect/ Professor, Mississippi State University /Gulf Coast Community Design Studio
o Ellis Stanley Sr., Vice President for Emergency Management Services, Hammerman & Gainer International, Inc.
o Rear Adm. David W. Titley, Senior Scientist and Director, Center on Weather and Climate Risk Solutions, Pennsylvania State University
o Peter Kareiva, Chief Scientist and Director, Science, The Nature Conservancy
  • Didn’t get enough discussion on the Annual Meeting Theme? Then don’t miss the Monday evening Presidential Town Hall Meeting entitled “Adapting to the New Normal—Building, Sustaining, and Improving our Weather and Climate Hazard Resilience” or one of the 18 Themed Joint Sessions that will take place during the week.
  • This year’s Annual Meeting will feature three named symposia to recognize the significant achievements of three scientists in fields served by the AMS. The Stanley A. Changnon Symposium will take place on Tuesday, 4 February, the Edward S. Epstein Symposium will take place on Wednesday, 5 February, and the Donald R. Johnson Symposium will take place on Thursday, 6 February. Please note that while all attendees are invited to attend named symposia, tickets to luncheons for the Changnon and Johnson symposia are not included in the conference registration package and must be purchased separately. There will not be a luncheon for the Epstein Symposium.
  • On Thursday, 6 February, a full day of posters and presentations are dedicated to Superstorm Sandy. Last year, as details were being finalized for the 2013 AMS Annual Meeting in Austin, Texas, Superstorm Sandy was developing. To honor this historic event, a special town hall was added to kick off the formal dialog within the AMS community. In the past year, research and studies on the event allow an opportunity for the community to share the lessons learned, show new tools and techniques, and highlight best practices that have resulted from this devastating event. The day kicks off with a panel discussion looking at President Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force and Strategy Report. The remaining three oral presentation sessions will take a look at the weather and climate perspectives, the societal impacts, and the modeling of Superstorm Sandy. A poster session dedicated to Superstorm Sandy has twenty excellent contributions as well. Of note, we had many abstracts submitted from those interested in the event, including from the power industry, the Centers for Disease Control, Swiss Re, and from various social science backgrounds. These insightful presentations and posters should allow further dialog to continue across the weather enterprise, and hopefully create some new connections outside of our traditional weather and climate community as well.
  • Learn more about the AMS Beacons Program, an initiative of the Membership Committee designed to carry on former Executive Director Kenneth Spengler’s legacy of fostering the AMS as an open, inclusive, and welcoming organization.
  • The Short Course Programs, Workshops, and Registration webpages have been updated. Short Courses will be held on Saturday, 1 February and Sunday, 2 February. A workshop entitled, “Inside AMS Publications —Hot Topics” will take place on Tuesday, 4 February. Register before 2 December to get the lowest rates!
  • Don’t forget to Meet the President! One of AMS President J. Marshall Shepherd’s goals during his tenure was to make the leadership of the Society as accessible as possible to the membership. He has set aside some time during the week to answer questions, listen to concerns and suggestions, or just to talk. You can also follow him on @DrShepherd2013.
  • Join us for the Women in the Atmospheric Sciences: A Conversation about the Future session and luncheon on Wednesday, 5 February from 12 to 1:30pm. Lockheed Martin Corporation and Harris Corporation will provide a limited number of box lunches.
  • Please note that the registration deadline for the 13th Annual AMS Student Conference (you must be an AMS student member) and the Second Annual AMS Conference for Early Career Professionals (you must be an AMS member or student member) is 14 January. There will be no onsite registration.
  • Be sure you arrive early enough on Sunday to go to Weatherfest, our free public outreach event, as well as the 94th Annual Review just before the Fellows Awards Reception. The business meeting starts at 4:00 pm and the reception starts at 5:45 p.m.
  • The Front Page, the official blog of the AMS, has started previewing the Annual Meeting. Be sure to check The Front Page periodically for updates. Click “AMS2014” in the tag cloud for stories you may have missed. Or stay up to date by following the AMS on Facebook (ametsoc) and/or Twitter (@ametsoc). The official Twitter hashtag for the 94th Annual Meeting is #AMS2014.
  • Don’t forget to register online and book your hotel room. The hotels are filling up quickly, so keep checking back for updated availability. Also, if you’ve made a reservation but can no longer attend the meeting, don’t forget to cancel that reservation! You’ll not only save yourself a deposit, you’ll open up that room for another person that can attend. And, as always, we appreciate you booking within the AMS block!


We’re excited to see you in Atlanta!


Philip Ardanuy and Eileen Shea

Program Co-Chairpersons, 94th AMS Annual Meeting

J. Marshall Shepherd

AMS President





by Keith Seitter, AMS Executive Director

I am very proud to report that the AMS was named by the Boston Globe as one of Boston area’s top places to work.   This prestigious award is a reflection of the incredible staff we have in the AMS, but it also reflects on the Society’s members and its mission to advance the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications, and services for the benefit of society.

TPTW 2013 logosThe organization that conducted the study that named the top places to work in the Boston area (and who has done similar studies across the country), makes it clear in the supporting documentation that a key factor in workplace satisfaction is doing work that the employees feel is important and mission-driven.  The AMS community is doing incredibly important work across the breadth of its many subdisciplines, from helping ensure sustainability of the atmosphere, oceans, and water resources in the face of a changing climate, to protecting life and property from the threats of severe weather and other hazards.  The AMS staff understands the importance of this work and takes great pride in supporting the professionals who do it.  The fact that AMS members tend to be simply wonderful to work with as they share their passion for the science and its application also makes being on the AMS staff a truly enjoyable and satisfying experience.

So we share this award with our members and the broader community served by the Society, and thank them for making the work we do as AMS staff members so fulfilling.


Dr. David Titley, Rear Adm. (Ret.)–well known to us as former oceanographer of the U.S. Navy, as chief operating officer at NOAA, now as a professor at Penn State’s Department of Meteorology–and of course as an AMS Fellow–writes to us asking for your input on a new project:

As you may know, the National Research Council (NRC) is now conducting a Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences (DSOS 2015), sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Shirley Pomponi (Harbor Branch/Florida Atlantic University) and I are the co-chairs.

This study will review the current state of knowledge, identify compelling scientific questions for the next decade, analyze infrastructure needed to address these questions vs. the current NSF portfolio, and identify opportunities to maximize the value of NSF investments.

The DSOS committee feels strongly that this report must be informed by broad and thoughtful community input from across the entire spectrum of ocean sciences supported by NSF. The DSOS committee will be holding town hall sessions at the AGU Annual Meeting in San Francisco in December and at the ASLO/TOS/AGU Ocean Sciences Annual Meeting in Honolulu in February 2014. In addition to soliciting comments at the professional meetings, we are seeking community input through a “virtual” town hall:

The website provides more detailed information on the statement of task, as well as a complete list of the DSOS committee members. Please go to the website and contribute your comments regarding the top ocean science priorities for the next decade. Thank you very much in advance for supporting the Ocean Studies Board and the NRC in this important effort.


Many scientists these days are asking how they can better communicate their research to the public. One group of climate researchers has found a solution–by putting themselves into the spotlight (literally) in the 2014 Climate Models wall calendar.

Scheduled for release this December, the calendar will include pictures of 13 climate scientists as well as information about them, such as their favorite dataset or climate phenomenon. Their ultimate goal, according to their website, is to “increase awareness of climate change and its impacts by engaging the public with scientists and what they’re learning about Earth’s climate.” In the process, the scientists reveal a side of themselves that most of the public doesn’t regularly get to see, and they hope to inspire colleagues to be equally creative in sharing their research with the public. You can get a sneak preview of a few of the models in the video below.

In addition to their work in front of the cameras, the scientists, who represent Columbia University’s International Research Institute for Climate and Society and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, will also be presenting a poster about their novel communication efforts at December’s AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

You can help support the calendar by donating to its Kickstarter campaign.