We Want Your Thoughts on Observational Needs

by Fred Carr, AMS Past President
Dear Paper and Poster Presenters at the AMS Annual Meeting,
As you know, the theme of the 2017 AMS Annual Meeting is “Observations Lead the Way.” Even though there are several conferences, symposia and sessions dedicated to identifying the greatest observational needs in many disciplines within the weather, water and climate community, we want the advice of all presenters in the 42 conferences and symposia comprising this year’s Annual Meeting.
blog_logo_final_all_caps_updateThe intent is to obtain a community consensus on what observations we need to advance our research, applications, products and services. This information, hopefully from you and the 2000 other presenters at this meeting, will be organized and summarized

  • to write an article for the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society on our community’s consensus on the greatest observational needs across the weather, water, and climate enterprise;
  • to create a document using the same data that would be presented to Federal and State agencies that support environmental measurements, platforms, and networks; and
  • to create a similar document tailored for policy makers, especially for Congress and their staff, to give them the community consensus they are often looking for.

To help us in this effort, we are asking you to create one slide or set of bullets near the end of your talk or poster that includes

  • observations (or networks) that are needed to benefit your future research, application or product development;
  • recommended instruments that are needed to make these observations;
  • your view on the greatest observational needs for your discipline in general.

If you have co-authors, please seek their opinions on these questions as well. We have signed up 100 student volunteers who will attend your sessions and help “harvest” and organize all of your recommendations in a form we can use for the aforementioned publications. I also encourage all poster presenters to upload an image of their poster to the Presenter’s Corner.
I hope you decide to assist us in this very important effort to improve our nation’s observing capacity. Thank you!
Fred Carr
President, American Meteorological Society
 

Thanks for Sharing

by Jeff Rosenfeld, Editor in Chief, BAMS
One of the great challenges of parenthood is teaching kids how to share. All too often the stigmatizing message spreads amongst parents at your toddler’s preschool: your little Izzie isn’t “sharing” with the other kids. Sharing is a difficult skill to teach at any age.
The problem is, of course, that we’re telling our children to share the things that matter most to them—sacred items like a toy car, a teddy bear, or a cupcake. To a two-year-old, the most innocuous possessions are precious and are not negotiable. Nor are adults setting an example by sharing precious possessions: we’re not sharing our home with our coworkers or handing the keys of our car to complete strangers. We don’t invite the people at the table next to us in the restaurant to sample our dessert.
Ultimately, some things we simply never learn to share. But you wouldn’t know it from looking over the program to our upcoming AMS Annual Meeting. Clearly, in atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences you will find people who have learned to share. It’s a key characteristic of our community that we ought to share more with the rest of the world (for more on this, seek William Hooke’s book, Living on the Real World: How Thinking and Acting Like Meteorologists Will Help Save the Planet).
People in this community have no choice about sharing, actually. It’s the subject matter, above all. Water and air on this planet must be shared. We can’t live without sharing them. We certainly can’t study them without sharing, either.
Now, actually, science in general is good at sharing. Research can’t get anywhere if ideas and information aren’t shared. The shear number of people presenting at our meeting, however, is a very high percentage of our overall membership. Sharing is integral to science, and in particular to weather, water, and climate science.
Some presentations deal head-on with improving scientific sharing. For example, on Wednesday (Jan. 25, 8:45 a.m.), Kyle Tyle of SUNY is discussing the Big Weather Web initiative of NSF. The idea is to improve data management and access and minimize the work of creating visualizations. In the process Big Weather Web addresses the problem of reproducibility that bedevils a world in which everyone is creating tools and storage on their own.
Later the same day, at 5 p.m., Cecelia Deluca (CIRES, Univ. of Colorado) will talk about how the Earth System Prediction Suite initiative helps the major U.S. modeling centers strengthen their common efforts in subseasonal to seasonal scale prediction. “ESPS and its underlying standards begin to transform the S2S modeling community from one in which multiple modeling centers strive to understand each other’s efforts, to one in which each agency can leverage resources across the nation.” A lot of this, of course, is the sharing of codes and modules.
There are countless other examples of how scientists share techniques and data. Sharing gets more difficult—and the material benefits more elusive—when we talk about sharing at a personal level. The rewards are deep, however. This type of sharing is also fundamental to science. It governs how mentors, teachers, and leaders must interact with colleagues and students.
Melissa Burt and colleagues from Colorado State University published an illuminating article in BAMS in July about how sharing is the essence of solving a central dilemma of our science—how do we attract and keep talent from underrepresented groups in our field? Offering mentorships and field research opportunities are among the keys, but the bottom line in all of those recipes for recruitment and retention is the idea of sharing. Advisors, mentors, and colleagues need to show students that they will share their experiences and opportunities at every step in a student’s education.
At the root of effective sharing is the willingness to build and keep trust. Students ultimately will trust the atmospheric sciences with their futures if they realize the atmospheric sciences will entrust them with the responsibility to carry our work forward.
The trust-building example of the Earth Science Women’s Network (also featured in BAMS) has earned them the 2017 AMS Special Award at this upcoming Annual Meeting. It is inscribed “for inspirational commitment to broadening the participation of women in the Earth sciences, providing a supportive environment for peer mentoring and professional development.”
On this Martin Luther King Day, there’s a lesson in that for all of us—a lesson in supporting diversity through building trust and sharing. Science already models its relationship of trust, and not just by sharing data and tools with each other. Science models this relationship by asking for a measure of trust from the world. The fate of many, many species is, to a large degree, in the hands of those who seek understanding of climate, weather, and water. Surely a science entrusted with the global future can learn to hand over the keys to its intellectual future to eager, talented young people of all backgrounds.
(This post is adapted from the “Letter from the Editor” in the July 2016 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.)

Don't Stay Neutral

by Keith Seitter, AMS Executive Director
Back in September, I had the privilege of taking part in an excellent workshop on sexual harassment in the sciences that was convened by AGU in collaboration with several other societies. Several sessions of the workshop included discussion on how to reduce the potential for harassment at scientific meetings, so with the 97th AMS Annual Meeting just around the corner, I want to take this opportunity to address these issues.
First, it is important to recognize that sexual harassment in the sciences is more prevalent than most of us would like to believe. We have all read about some of the high-profile cases of truly egregious misconduct between senior scientists and students or junior colleagues. Much, much more common are types of harassment that may fall well below the legal standard for prosecution but are, nonetheless, unacceptable levels of behavior in a professional setting. As the workshop highlighted, these forms of harassment are able to exist partly because many of us are reluctant to take action when we see them (or even when we experience them)—choosing instead to “remain neutral” and not call someone out on behavior that has made someone else uncomfortable.
AMS has an excellent statement of “Professional and Respectful Conduct at AMS Meetings” that can be found here. This statement makes it clear that AMS expects all attendees to adhere to levels of professional behavior that ensure attendees will feel safe and comfortable throughout the meeting and all associated activities. It includes actions AMS will take if attendees do not adhere to these guidelines. As noted in the conduct statement, AMS has established several mechanisms for reporting unprofessional behavior at a meeting (which include sending an e-mail to reportconcern@ametsoc.org, leaving a message on a special hotline at 617-226-3965 that will automatically alert a response team of senior AMS staff members, or simply letting anyone with a staff badge know about the issue).
The most powerful and effective mechanism to ensure a climate of safety and comfort at meetings, however, is for all of us to do our part and not stay neutral if we see or experience behavior that is not consistent with professional and respectful conduct. Take a few minutes now to imagine a scenario in which you see something that makes you or someone else uncomfortable, and think of some phrases that you could be comfortable saying. It can be simple, along the lines of “It is not OK to talk that way” or “that is not the way we do things.” A few simple words can have an enormous and immediate impact. The important thing is that you say something. Doing so will promote a climate of respect and help ensure that the kind of behavior we all expect at a scientific meeting is, in fact, what we experience.
(A version of this post appeared in AMS Executive Director Keith Seitter’s “Letter from Headquarters” column in the November 2016 BAMS.)

Policy Before and After the Presidential Transition

By Paul Higgins, AMS Policy Program Director
Presidential transitions are a time of uncertainty, change, and opportunity. For the AMS Policy Program, and for the entire AMS community, the transition from President Obama to President Trump offers a chance to reflect on our role in the broader society and to reevaluate how we might engage that broader society most constructively.
Our role is to advance science. For us, that means increasing both the potential for scientific discovery (i.e., through research and observations) and for the beneficial use of scientific understanding by the broader society (i.e., through the application of science and informed societal decision-making).
The AMS Policy Program uses three primary approaches to advance science: 1) we develop capacity within the scientific community for effective and constructive engagement with the broader society, 2) we inform policymakers directly of established scientific understanding and the latest policy-relevant research, and 3) we help expand the knowledge base needed for incorporating scientific understanding into the policy process through research, analysis, and studies.
Since the election, AMS Executive Director Keith Seitter and I have been active in reaching out to Congress and the transition teams. We’ve had discussions with staffers from both parties, including those who serve on the Senate Commerce and Appropriations Committees and the House Budget, Science, and Appropriation Committees. The meetings gave us the chance to distribute the AMS priorities statement and to provide background information on Earth observations, science, and services. The discussions have been going very well and they’ve helped to reinforce the value of our information-based, nonpartisan approach to policy engagement. Staff from both sides of the aisle express their appreciation for our approach and their high regard for our input.
Over the next several months, we will continue to consider ways that we can build on our core approaches to advance science most effectively. Our activities will almost certainly emphasize six basic strategies:

  1. To develop, communicate, and advance a positive vision for Earth observations, science, and services (OSS)
  2. To engage constructively with administration officials, the agencies, and congressional staff from both parties to encourage scientific advancement
  3. To praise, thank, and congratulate those who make positive contributions to Earth observations, science, and services
  4. To identify, characterize, and work to resolve efforts that may be counterproductive to scientific advancement
  5. To empower the scientific community to engage effectively and constructively with the policy process
  6. To improve our communication with (and outreach to) AMS members, other scientists, policymakers, members of the media, and the public with respect to the advancement of Earth observations, science, and services.

For now, we are focused on opportunities to work with Congress and the new administration to advance science and its beneficial use. We strongly believe the most effective approach to policy engagement starts with first building solid relationships, particularly with those with whom we differ. Building relationships depends on respect and understanding—recognizing that those who see it differently can still be high-minded people who are working toward their vision of a stronger country and a better world. In my experience, the vast majority of policymakers in Washington, D.C., have good intentions.
We understand why many are concerned about the potential for the misuse or abuse of science. We hope the need to protect scientists and science (e.g., from attacks or from misrepresentation and misuse) will not be necessary, but AMS has been strong on that in the past and is prepared for it again whenever necessary.
Now is an important time to engage constructively with the policy process. We can advance science most effectively with strong positive messages about the role of science in society. After all, our science helps efforts to meet basic human needs including food, shelter, energy, health, and safety. We need not be shy in seeking strong positive outcomes for our community or for the broader society that we serve. The policy process is complex, however, often more so than outsiders (including scientists) recognize. When we can balance humility about what we don’t understand about the policy process with confidence in what our science can provide to society, our efforts to engage will be more well received and that will lead to better outcomes.
Policy choices have the greatest chance to benefit society when grounded in the best available knowledge and understanding. Through our activities, the AMS Policy Program advances societal decision-making with respect to weather, water, and climate. This helps policymakers recognize and manage Earth system risks, and take advantage of emerging opportunities our science makes possible.

Space-Based Environmental Intelligence Community Celebrates

bridenstine
by Ron Birk, Northrop Grumman
Over 150 stakeholders in our Space-based Environmental Intelligence community came together December 1 at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C., for a special event co-hosted by the American Astronautical Society and the American Meteorological Society. Key stakeholders from NOAA, NASA, USGS, Congress, the Administration, the European Union, the private sector and academia celebrated accomplishments including the successful launch and deployment of the NOAA GOES R geostationary weather satellite.
There was a buzz throughout the networking event about advancing societal benefits into the future. Dr. Bill Hooke, Associate Executive Director of AMS and author of Living on the Real World, brought his compelling perspective on the value of science for society. Dr. Piers Sellers, acclaimed astronaut and Earth scientist, shared his findings from over 30 years of research and space travel on the value of monitoring our Earth from space in an excerpt from the recently released National Geographic Before the Flood movie.
The audience enjoyed an impressive video prepared by the space-based environmental community (watch for the video to be posted here soon). Major aerospace players, including Ball Aerospace, Harris Corporation, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, provided impressive accomplishments linked together to form the value chain from environmental sensors processed into information products to inform emergency responders in saving lives and protecting property for a Weather Ready Nation. The Society of Satellite Professionals International and the European Commission Copernicus program enhanced the video highlighting benefits and capabilities that span the environmental intelligence value chain. The Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, Sustainable earth Observation Systems (SeOS), and the Aerospace Corporation joined in sponsoring the event.
The Honorable Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), House Science, Space, and Technology Subcommittee, arrived just as Tom Fahy announced the Senate passed the Weather Research and Forecasting Act S.1561. Congressman Bridenstine enthusiastically called for the space-based environmental community video to be shared with congressional committees. He emphasized the value of environmental information for severe weather warnings, especially tornados and floods, key to people of Oklahoma and across the nation. He described steadfast support for NOAA operational polar and geostationary weather missions, Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) and Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES R), and heralded the value of Earth science to monitor the vital signs of our planet with benefits for our economy, protection of life and property, and national security. The Congressman also emphasized progress and plans an increasingly robust Earth observations system, including benefits of being augmented by commercial weather data. A key area identified as a challenge for the community is space situational awareness, recognizing that low Earth orbit is increasingly congested and contested.
Tremendous recognition is due to everyone in the community coming together to make this important enterprise successful and vibrant as we continue into the future. Thanks to all for bringing so much talent and energy to the event.  Our challenge and opportunity is to continue to reach out and expand our community, recognizing that everyone across the U.S. and around the world benefits from quality space-based environmental intelligence.

AMS Community Priorities for the New Administration

By Fred Carr, AMS President
Now that the election is over, a furious amount of activity has ensued on who will be in the new administration and what policies they will pursue. AMS members are particularly concerned about future science funding levels, environmental policies, observational and research infrastructure, STEM education, and who the new leaders will be in agencies that oversee aspects of the weather, water, and climate (WWC) enterprise. To provide guidance to those involved in the transition period, the AMS created a policy statement titled “Weather, Water, and Climate Priorities” that is located here.
I would like to summarize a few vital aspects of this document here. The fundamental premise is that “Economic and social prosperity belong to a society that understands and effectively responds to Earth’s changing weather, water, and climate conditions.” There is no doubt that many changes are occurring in the Earth’s physical and biological ecosystems (atmospheric and oceanic warming, Arctic and glacial ice losses, sea level rise, land use, drought and flooding intensities, etc.), most of them resulting from human activities. They are affecting our quality of life and large portions of our economy, and will worsen with time. These changes cannot be ignored, and national investment and leadership are needed.
The AMS policy statement provides recommendations on how to address these challenges, which require holistic, bipartisan, and coordinated strategies to accomplish. Some of them are:

  • The nation must invest in educating the next generation of scientists.
  • Both basic and applied research in the geophysical and environmental sciences must increase.
  • Observational infrastructure should increase across the WWC enterprise.
  • The U.S. should lead the world in high-performance computing.
  • Effective outreach to the public and decision-makers is needed to develop a scientifically literate citizenry and data-driven, science-based policies.
  • Partnerships among the academic, public, and private sectors are needed to develop successful policies and actions.
  • Outstanding individuals are needed to provide effective leadership of WWC-related agencies, advisory groups, and industries; they must be well-qualified, visionary, and diverse.

These recommendations make sense across the political spectrum, and I encourage readers to do what they can to bring them to the attention of the new administration.

GOES-R: Are You Ready for Something Awesome?

By Jonathan Malay, AMS Past-president and retired Lockheed Martin Washington Operations
I’m sorry to say, the word “awesome” seems way overused these days. OK, it’s pretty funny when Cecily Strong’s character on Saturday Night Live’s “Girl Talk” sketch keeps saying “Awesome!” That’s amusing, but it’s not awesome. Awesome is a word we simply can’t help ourselves from using when we’re really blown away by something, like when we gaze at the natural miracle of the Grand Canyon below us, or when we behold the immensity, both in size and raw emotional impact, of the new One Trade Center in southern Manhattan, or when we see an Olympic record being broken.
As a meteorologist and a space guy, I’ve been fortunate enough to look up at the Space Shuttle from the foot of its launch pad at Cape Canaveral. I’ve seen the brilliant flames when the mission lifted off, and, a few seconds later, felt the vibrations of sound waves penetrate all the way to my bones. I stood in a clean room at the Stennis Space Center a few years ago where I saw, and actually touched, the initial structure and propulsion module of GOES-R, a spacecraft destined to become the first of a new and revolutionary generation of geostationary meteorological satellites. I can honestly say these things I saw and felt were really and truly awesome. goes_r
If the schedule holds, at 5:42 p.m. this Saturday, November 19, that satellite will be launched. Thousands of eyes, either in spectator locations, or in mission control rooms, at National Weather Service centers, on big-screen TVs, on computer monitors, or even on handheld devices, will watch the magnificent white- and copper-colored Atlas V as its powerful RD-180 engines ignite and send the GOES-R spacecraft toward its assigned orbit in space. It will be awesome. Really and truly.
GOES-R, which has been some 15 years in the making, is going to deliver to meteorologists, oceanographers, and space weather forecasters at NOAA and everywhere—and to the people of the United States and all the Americas—a truly awesome set of capabilities, such as:

  • Three times more spectral information
  • Four times greater spatial resolution
  • Five times faster coverage
  • Real-time mapping of total lightning activity
  • Increased thunderstorm and tornado-warning lead time
  • Improved hurricane track and intensity forecasts
  • Improved monitoring of solar x-ray flux
  • Improved monitoring of solar flares and coronal mass ejections
  • Improved geomagnetic storm forecasting

By now, AMS members and the meteorological community are probably aware of the improvements GOES-R and the other birds in the series—S, T, and U—will provide over the current GOES-N/O/P-series satellites, which have been in orbit since 2006. This new generation of GOES satellites will far exceed anything we’ve seen before. As someone who lived the GOES-R experience while working at Lockheed Martin in Washington, D.C., I’ve had the privilege of knowing and working with many of the fantastic people who have made it a reality. These folks at NOAA and NASA, on the White House staff, on Capitol Hill, at my great company, at our industry partners, and across the meteorological, oceanographic, and space weather communities . . . there are too many of you to acknowledge individually (except program director Greg Mandt, my good friend and colleague, who truly deserves a special shout-out)—you have all been awesome!
So, along with all my friends in government and at Lockheed Martin Space Systems and the Advanced Technology Center, United Launch Alliance, Harris, Exelis, ATC, LASP, and all the great contractors on the team, we’ll all be watching Saturday’s rocket launch, saying with all our hearts: “GO GOES-R! GO ATLAS!” And then, as the mission disappears in the sky, we’ll all involuntarily say, “Awesome!”

AMS Journals—Better than Ever

by Keith Seitter, AMS Executive Director, and Michael Friedman, AMS Journals Production Manager
It is interesting how quickly bad news travels, isn’t it? Conversely, good news seems to barely propagate at all if left to its own devices. Changing long-held impressions is even harder, and in some cases, even overwhelming evidence can barely make a dent. As an example, let’s turn to the terrific news coming out of the AMS Publications Commission meeting last May that seems to be taking a long time to filter effectively into the community.
The news at the meeting was universally positive and record setting on nearly every front—from the 3,436 manuscript submissions received in 2015, to the 65-day average time to first decision for those submissions, to the time to publication of accepted manuscripts, which has gone from an all-time low of 95 days in 2015 to the 2016 average (so far) of just 74 days. This is a huge improvement (~72%) from the dark days of 2008, when that metric was well over 200 days.
The dramatic recent drop in time to publication is due in large part to the 2016 transition to a continuous publication model in which each individual article is published online when it reaches final form, instead of waiting until there is a whole issue’s worth of material. The AMS Publications staff tries to take advantage of every potential efficiency improvement it can to drive the time to publication even lower.
These records are just the latest data points mapping a trajectory of continued growth and improvement on all fronts over the past several years, thanks to the efforts of many dedicated volunteers and professional staff, along with effective implementation of technological advances. Meanwhile, AMS publications have maintained the very high quality that has always been their hallmark.  AMS journals continue to rank among the best in the world in our subject areas, and their impact also increased as measured by several objective metrics.
We are doing our best to let the author community know about the excellent performance of the AMS journals on all fronts so that they will not avoid publishing their work with AMS due to concerns based on incorrect impressions. As noted above, however, this can be a frustratingly slow process, and overriding long-held impressions is not easy (we still hear from authors who complain about color charges even though those were eliminated three years ago).
Help us spread the good news. If it has been awhile since you have published in AMS journals, you will be pleased with the improved work flow and speed to publication that we currently provide. If you are considering doing so for the first time, know that along with the prestige and quality that have always been associated with AMS publications, we are able to offer a path to publication much faster than ever before.
(A version of this post appeared in AMS Executive Director Keith Seitter’s 45 Beacon column in the August 2016 BAMS)
 

A Peer Review Conversation

by Jeff Rosenfeld, BAMS Editor in Chief, and Bob Rauber, AMS Publications Commissioner

Since this week has been declared Peer Review Week, the publishing blog, “Scholarly Kitchen,” is devoting a series of posts about the manuscript evaluation process that you might dread or love, depending on where you sit as an author, editor, or reviewer. They kicked off discussions with a round table on the future of peer review. You’ll find in that blog the usual gamut of projections about peer review—from business as usual to wholesale revolution. Given the many innovations in publishing lately, nobody seems to know what will happen next in this centuries-old tradition in science.

One thing the participants all seemed to agree on, however: in one form or another, peer review is here to stay. As Alice Meadows, director of communications for ORCID, the researcher identification consortium, puts it, “It is hard to imagine scholarly communication without some form of peer review.”

Those of us who have served as AMS editors will not be surprised by that sentiment, and not just because we rely so heavily on reviewers to provide their input into the publishing process. We know how valuable peer review is because the authors tell us.

It is not unusual to see an author’s final revisions arrive accompanied by a note to the editor saying ““Please thank the reviewers.” And it is not unusual to find “anonymous reviewers” thanked in the acknowledgements of published papers.

This happens even though not all of these authors have been entirely happy throughout the review process. Reviews usually mean authors spend additional time on a paper they thought was fine when they first submitted it. Despite that, the authors know their reviewers deserve thanks, and the authors freely give it.

They do this because they find that peer review is not just “essential to the communication of science.”  Peer review is, itself, scientific communication of the best kind.

We often picture peer review as criticism. One set of anonymous experts tells another expert how to write their article, what to say, and what not to say.

That’s hardly a model for scientists communicating with other scientists. It sounds downright regressive, actually—an intrusive but necessary form of telling authors what the standards are and where to throw out the junk. Thumbs up, or thumbs down.

But actually, more often than not, the thumb wiggles and points the way to success. Editors notice that when the review process is going well, the reviewers are not simply dictating terms for acceptance for the authors. What happens instead is conversation. It is often an even more intimate and honest exchange than one can get from colleagues down the hall. And like any good conversation, it involves iterations. Reviews go to authors, and the authors who take them seriously often reply unexpectedly, forcing reviewers to think again. In the best cases, reviewers and authors—and the editors who facilitate their two-way exchange—learn from each other and adapt.

The evidence of this conversation is in those citations AMS gives when naming the recipients of our Editor’s Awards each year. Sift through the Annual Meeting banquet programs and you’ll find many words of praise for an iterative communication. For example, the 2016 Journal of Hydrometeorology Editor’s Award went to W. Justin Baisden for “a series of rigorous and detailed reviews … resulting in a substantially improved paper.” Similarly, both Andrew Stewart (for the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology) and Matthew Kumjian (for Monthly Weather Review and Weather and Forecasting) were cited for how “constructive” their reviews were. And the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology singled out Tanya Spero Otte for “thought provoking reviews that led to significant manuscript improvements.”

Clearly this is what editors want, and this is what makes peer review a conversation. The manuscripts improve, and both sides learn. People often ask why scientists devote so much effort and time—often unpaid and at extremely inconvenient moments—to formulating reviews and considering authors’ responses. Like any scientific communication, it’s because reviewers, authors, editors, and ultimately readers are all headed for the same goal: learning something new from each other. That’s what makes these conversations so lively, so intense, and so rewarding.

It is striking how frequently the review process in AMS journals becomes a conversation.  It happens so often that it’s the norm, and we sometimes don’t stop to think how extraordinary it is that busy people volunteer their time to contribute so fundamentally to the work of others. Thumbs up, then, for Peer Review Week, for peer review itself, and in particular for the thousands of volunteers who answer the call from editors, day in, day out, to review for AMS journals!

Your AMS Membership Has Never Been More Valuable

by Keith Seitter, CCM, AMS Executive Director
(From Dr. Seitter’s column in the June 2016 Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society.)
There are a variety of ways to think about the word “value” and to apply that term in the context of being an AMS member. Those who consider the value of membership in terms of financial benefit are likely to recognize that their subscriptions to BAMS and Physics Today, as well as any of several types of member discounts (such as that for meeting registration) can easily offset the cost of dues.
While fully appreciating the importance of member discounts on AMS journals, Weatherwise magazine, books, merchandise, meetings, and other services, I have always tended to think of the value of membership in terms of the less tangible aspects—and this has been true for me reaching back far before I was part of the AMS staff. My AMS membership makes me part of a vibrant community of scientists and professionals with common goals. I have always taken great pride in being associated with an organization that promotes the advancement of knowledge and understanding about our environment, that stands up for the integrity of science, and that helps ensure that the scientific understanding coming from the research community is translated into effective actions that protect lives and property.
In addition, my involvement with AMS—especially early in my career—opened up avenues for professional growth that helped shape my career in important ways. Volunteer service with AMS drew me deeper into the community and introduced me to colleagues who have become lifelong friends. AMS meetings further expanded opportunities for networking and collaboration, which allowed my work to be more productive and successful. Many of the most important turning points in my career can be traced back to my membership with AMS.
I was talking with a longtime member a few months ago about why he enjoys his volunteer service with AMS so much. His words struck me as clear and on target. He said, “The Society is not here to give you things. The Society is here to help you get the most out of your professional career.” I think there are thousands of us in AMS who would agree with this, and who have experienced firsthand the value of being part of an organization that represents a truly incredible community of scientists and other professionals dedicated to serving society. The impact of the science and services provided by the AMS community has never been greater, and the continually expanding role of AMS in serving and representing this community means your AMS membership has never been more valuable.
With new services coming online, we think the tangible benefits of being an AMS member have never been more significant, while the intangible value—the many ways that AMS promotes community and collaboration—also continues to strengthen and grow. If you have colleagues who are not AMS members, but should be, I hope you will encourage them to join AMS and become part of this truly unique community.