The Year by the Numbers

Here’s a statistic for you: 3,300.
That’s the number of attendees (as of Tuesday) at this AMS Annual Meeting.
Here’s another: 1,000.
That’s the lower estimate of attendance at our WeatherFest here in Austin on Sunday.
Here’s another: 2013.
No, that’s not the number of umbrellas sold to meteorologists in downtown Austin yesterday; that’s the year, which happens to be the International Year of Statistics. The American Statistical Association (ASA) and more than 1,400 organizations in 111 countries are combining energies in 2013 to promote statistics. “Statistics2013” will highlight the contributions of the statistics field to finding solutions to global challenges.
“For most people, statistics is an invisible science,” says Ronald Wasserstein, executive director of the American Statistical Association. “Through this yearlong, worldwide awareness campaign, we will remove the veil that cloaks statistics from the public consciousness.”
Such awareness is not difficult to acquire through the programming of the week’s meeting in Austin, with sessions on characterizing uncertainties, data assimilation, Big Data, climate trends, radar algorithms, and so much more. But there’s no better way to kick off Statistics2013 than to attend tomorrow’s poster session (9:45 a.m.) for the Symposium on the Role of Statistical Methods in Weather and Climate Prediction. Bias correction, microphysics parameterization, statistical downscaling, model postprocessing–it’s Gauss in Wonderland.
From the Statistics2013 website:

When many people hear the word “statistics,” they think of either sports-related numbers or the college class they took and barely passed. While statistics can be thought about in these terms, there is more to the relationship between you and statistics than you probably imagine.

And here’s that number, again: 3,300…that’s how many people here at the Austin Convention Center who would heartily agree.