At the AMS Washington Forum

Snippets from the sessions and the hallways:

(Some friendly advice from one quarter, in reaction to some back-of-the-envelope estimates of economic value of the enterprise) when doing economics studies, use economists…. and don’t just use economists for budget justification… use them to enhance Enterprise value.

(Some hallway reaction to the discussion on commercialization of weather and climate data) Any national weather service needs a mission. If a weather service only collects data, then when budget stresses come, there’ll always be pressure to reduce data collection. It’s the start to a slippery slope. But if a weather service has to provide for public safety, then it has to collect the data necessary for that mission… Flip side: it shouldn’t collect one bit of data not necessary for that mission. But tell me…what additional data wouldn’t help contribute to public safety?

(One takeaway from the discussion on defense weather systems) Back in the day, the Air Force used to fly operational hurricane penetration and collect satellite hurricane data. In response to command pressure to cut one or the other, they cut the aircraft reconnaissance. Now with threats to the continuity of satellite coverage, they’re working across agencies to develop and augment drone-aircraft hurricane flights. They’ve come full circle.

(From the session on environmental security) With the Arctic ice melting faster than had been anticipated, and with the prospect of an ice-free Arctic during summer months, nations are scrambling to adjust to the emerging economic and national security realities. Marine transport of natural gas and oil may compete in new ways with the existing network of pipelines crossing Russia, Ukraine, and other nations in the region and the Middle East. The Bering Sea will be a focus of future concern much as the Straits of Hormuz and the Straits of Malacca are today. On the other hand, any rise in shipping of all types through the Arctic Ocean will be slowed by the lack of port infrastructure across Arctic shores and the associated risks for shipping…

… and even slight changes in atmospheric and ocean temperatures might significantly increase the risk of Hawaii’s southern shores to hurricanes and storm surge. Critical infrastructure including the ports that handle most of Hawaii’s food imports and Honolulu airport could be affected. Just one vignette of many showing the complexity and texture of the responses needed to climate variability and change.


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