08 January 1998

Chuck Doswell's Input to the

10-Year Vision questions


Dissemination of scientific information


Are the current journals adequately covering the subject areas that are shaping the science?

I'd like to see Monthly Weather Review split out the computational science articles into their own journal, akin to the J. Comp. Phys. I am rather unsympathetic to the hydrologists whining about not having their own AMS journal. The stated content of several current AMS journals includes opportunities for them to contribute ... they only seem to be worried that the word "hydrology" does not appear in the titles. The hydrologists already have several journals in which to publish .. do they need another? I vote no on that one. If they are upset because the words "weather" or "atmosphere" appear in the titles of the journals, how interested in interdisciplinary work are they, really?


Should the journals routinely be delivering nonprintable scientific content (animations, etc.) as part of their electronic version?

I believe that's an option that should be offered. This is what electronic publishing is best at ... offering options that are beyond what normal hard copy printing can provide.


Should the AMS create a new publication that is specifically aimed at nonprofessional weather enthusiasts?

No. Unless, of course, it could be turned into a profitable venture.


Does the AMS need to create a new publication, which might be quite different than a traditional journal, to serve those providing technical support to the profession (programmers, instrument technicians, etc.)?

I am disinclined to do this, but then I am not part of this underrepresented group. I think that if we start broadening the services of the AMS to include every conceivable support technician, this could get out of hand. Engineers and technicians have their own options for professional societies.


How can the AMS take advantage of electronic dissemination to better serve the goals of scientific meetings (online meetings, satellite conferencing, etc.)?

Presently, I don't think online meetings are yet practical. Perhaps in a few years. I like the idea of online registration.


How can the AMS foster more interdisciplinary activities at its conferences and meetings?

This is one of those ideals that, unlike "motherhood", gets mostly lip service but no substance. Scientists will pursue things that get financial support ... period. They will NOT pursue things because of some abstractions about it being the right thing to do. Careers in interdisciplinary topics tend to be hard to follow because they are orphans. Interdisciplinary activities can and should arise "organically" and without any artificial kick-starting ("artificial" means not followed up with $$). I vote to leave this one alone.


Will international meetings become more important?

Perhaps, but international meetings often [not always!!] are populated mostly by "political meteorologists" in my experience ... a few good folks are present and opportunities for international interactions can arise ... but I'd say that there is no need to emphasize this much beyond what is already being done.


Is there a completely new structure for meetings that will better serve the needs of the science?

I have mentioned (in the Council meetings) that I believe that the AMS should give the members more freedom in setting up meetings, conferences, symposia, etc. The history of the AMS in this has been too autocratic, in my opinion. Let the members have more freedom in exercising their own creativity, and support them in that, if feasible.


What role can meetings play in providing better service to the applied sectors of the Society?

Scientific meetings in the context of applications tend to be either (a) tutorial, or (b) opportunities for practitioners to share ideas. Both of these are worthwhile.


Can regional meetings be used effectively to serve some sectors?

Indeed they can. The AMS can and should be more supportive of these regional programs, which minimize expenses for their participants and still offer considerable value. As noted in the September Council meeting, I believe the AMS has given out the signal that they are not very supportive, being more worried about trivia than they are in helping these local programs be successful.


Structure of the Society


What new services should be added to better serve the growing private sector professionals in the community?

Not my dominion.


What can be done to provide more service to the operational community?

Help reduce expenses for meetings!


With the increasing interdisciplinary scope of the research in the earth system, how can the research sector the Society intends to serve b[e] defined?

I think the Society should stay closely attuned to the truly meteorological. Other disciplines are probably also struggling with this, but if we expand the number of sectors served by the AMS, then we dilute the meteorological sector correspondingly. This is a society of meteorologists. Let the other professions have their own societies. I recognize the inherent multidisciplinary character of meteorology, but I don't believe that this should result in an expansion of the scope of the AMS into every possible allied field.


Should the certification programs of the Society be expanded or modified?

I would like to see the "Certified Consulting Meteorologist" evolve into "Certified Meteorologist" as has been suggested. The trick is to develop a meaningful certification process ... one in which not every applicant becomes certified. Done properly, some will howl "unfair!" ... too bad. Certification is not necessarily intended to be fair and if we don't have a certain amount of whining about it, it's probably not being done right. Can the AMS muster the courage to face potential lawsuits? Can the AMS design a tough certification program that will stand up to a court test? I don't know the answers, but I think they can do these things. [Note added later: If the AMS is already doing these things, as I have been told, then so much the better!]


What role should the AMS take in continuing education?

What role do other scientific/professional societies take? What role does the AMA play in the continuing education of doctors?


Should the AMS continue to increase its efforts in scholarship and fellowship activities?

Yes ... I like very much the industry scholarships, which connects us to prospective employers of meteorologists.


How much effort should the AMS put into career guidance and employment information?

I think the current level of involvement with this is pretty much o.k.


What role should local chapters of the AMS play in the future?

That should be up to them. Perhaps more pertinent is "What role should the AMS play in the activities of the local chapters?" See the previous comment about regional meetings. To the extent that it is possible, I'd like to see the AMS help the local chapters by supporting creative local projects, etc. There already is a lot of useful information being disseminated (local chapter news, etc.), so I don't believe a great deal more is needed .. just a more supportive attitude and less bureaucratic meddling. I have heard from more than one place that the AMS has made it clear that it doesn't like joint AMS/NWA chapters and thereby imposes a lot of rules and regulations on those chapters. Stop such nonsense and be supportive!


How can the Society be as inclusive as possible among the various research, operational, and professional components of the atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences and services to maintain broad representation?

I have indicated that I am not particularly interested in being expansive for its own sake. I think the AMS should welcome the interest of as broad a range of folks as possible, but that we need to retain our atmospheric bias. As for being inclusive within the atmospheric science community ... I think the AMS should shed its paternalistic, elitist past and become more responsive to the needs and interests of its members. That's why I ran for the Council, after all.


Do the classes of membership in the Society need to be adjusted?

Do you have anything in mind or is this just fishing? It's possible some adjustments can be designed, but I am concerned about developing too many classes of membership. The current membership classes strike me as acceptable, although (in my opinion), the "Fellow" class has been diluted beyond all value. There are too many of them, and being a Fellow carries little or no meaning or distinction. What benefits does a Fellow receive? Status? I don't think so. Even "Honorary Member" is on its way to being diluted.


Can the Society increase its service to oceanography and hydrology?

It certainly can, but I see no reason to do so.


Should the AMS seek to lead in the emerging areas of operational oceanography and hydrology?

No. Why should a meteorological society do so? And how does the AMS "lead" in meteorological science? I have little faith in our ability to lead by pontification ... scientific leadership is associated with doing science, or with holding the purse strings that enable science to be done. The AMS, per se, does not do science, nor does it provide much financial support. Hence, the AMS mostly talks about leadership, but does very little of it.


Should the AMS actively seek to partner with other earth science societies nationally and internationally?

[Sigh .. "partner" used to be a noun.] Anyway, my answer to this is a firm "yes"! Rather than expanding our membership to be all-inclusive, I believe that the AMS can and should create opportunities for the development of "organic" growth in these interdisciplinary overlaps.


Is the present governance structure adequate?

Good question. I'd love to have a dialog within the membership and actively solicit input on this one.


Does the organizational structure (such as the STAC structure, for example) need to be changed?

See previous answer.


Will volunteers be easier to count on with more retired professionals available or will it become harder to secure volunteer effort as the demands on those currently working increases?

I have no clue.


How will the staff structure of the AMS need to change to carry out its changing activities?

No clue.




Should the AMS increase or decrease its activities in K-12 education?

It's not clear precisely HOW an increase might be manifest. Nor am I certain about just WHAT the AMS is doing at present. Answering this one might be easier if I knew what was going on. I do believe that we should be working to increase the visibility of meteorological science in K-12 education.


Should the AMS increase or decrease its activities in public and popular education?

Increase. If we want people to support what we are doing, we should let them KNOW what we are doing.


To what extent should the AMS seek to serve weather enthusiasts?

See previous answer re a publication for weather enthusiasts. It is interesting to observe that weather enthusiasts are already forming various groups on their own. It is not obvious that a professional society can or should embrace nonprofessionals. Perhaps the AMS can develop materials to help provide high-quality meteorological science content for the public that would naturally be of interest to the enthusiast groups.


To what extent should the AMS seek to provide educational services to the government officials in order to help them make informed policy decisions?

I think this is definitely a place where the AMS could be of considerable value to the profession by helping create informed policy decisions.


What role should the AMS take in international policy issues related to environmental concerns or data exchange issues?

This is also a potentially important activity, where a large AMS role would be helpful.


Should there be a consortium of earth science societies nationally to provide [a] stronger voice than one society can manage?

I think this is a good idea, although it might be difficult at times to find a consensus among the members of any particular society about some societal issues, and that would be compounded with more than one society.


Should there be a international federation of meteorological societies?

Sure, although I tend to mistrust such groups ... these larger groups (like the WMO) tend to be more "political" than I like.


Should the Society proactively seek to engage the providers and the users of weather information in dialogue?

This is also an arena where the AMS could be of enormous value .. I support this enthusiastically if it becomes possible and feasible.


What can be done to take maximum advantage of the direct link broadcast meteorologists provide between the profession and the public?

I struggle with this issue. I, for one, would like to increase the directness of the link between operational public forecasters and the public first.


Should local chapters play a more significant role in the Society's outreach activities?

Yes. I think the local chapters may need some support for this, but they are logical sources for long-term outreach, precisely because they ARE local.


Other topics:


See my AMS Council Web site.

If my readers have any opinions about these topics, I urge them to submit them to the AMS. If you want to argue with me, feel free to send comments about this input to me.