97th AMS Annual Meeting | 22–26 January 2017 | Seattle, WA

17th Presidential Forum: Earth System Observations in Service to Society

Monday, 23 January 2017, 9:00 A.M., 6ABC

“I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you can not express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind;…” — Lord Kelvin, 1883, Physics Letters A, Vol. 1.

view in conference program

Our ability to observe the atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and cryosphere underlies our understanding of the Earth system and our ability to predict its evolution.  The richness of Earth system observations enables us to span disciplinary boundaries to make exciting discoveries about our planet and address challenges to human health, food security, sustainable energy, water quality and abundance, and environmental change.  This year’s Presidential Forum will include presentations and discussion about how our current observations serve societal needs and the limitations, vulnerabilities, and requirements for our future Earth observing system.

The Panel comprises five preeminent researchers:

Andrew Light
Andrew Light

Andrew Light is University Professor at George Mason University, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute. As an academic, he has worked for almost twenty years on the normative implications of environmental policy. As a policy expert and advocate, he works on the front lines of international climate and science policy.

Vanda Grubisic
Vanda Grubisic

Vanda Grubišić, moderator, is the NCAR Associate Director for the Earth Observing Laboratory. Formerly of the University of Vienna, Grubišić is a specialist in mesoscale atmospheric dynamics and has played a lead role in several major field campaigns focusing on mountain lee waves and rotors, atmospheric wakes, orographic precipitation, and other phenomena.

Donald J. Wuebbles
Donald J. Wuebbles

Donald J. Wuebbles Don Wuebbles is the Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois. Dr. Wuebbles is an expert in atmospheric physics and chemistry, with over 500 scientific publications related to the Earth’s climate, air quality, and the stratospheric ozone layer.

Roger S. Pulwarty
Roger S. Pulwarty

Roger S. Pulwarty is the Senior Science Advisor for Climate, and the Director of the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS) at the NOAA Office of Oceans and Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. Dr. Pulwarty's publications focus on climate and risk management in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean

Richard Jackson
Richard Jackson

Richard Jackson is a Professor at the Fielding School of Public Health at the University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Jackson’s areas of interest include environmental impacts on health ranging from toxicology, chemical body burdens, terrorism, sustainability, climate change, urban design and architecture.

The Forum will address the following topics:

  • Earth system observation requirements for human health
  • agreements from the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) and the role of observations in “trust and verify”
  • greenhouse gas monitoring and the future Earth observing system: challenges and opportunities
  • Earth system observations at the nexus of food, energy, and water

In addition to the high-level perspectives provided in the Presidential Forum, the 2017 theme of “Observations Lead the Way” permeates throughout the Annual Meeting.   There will be two invited-speaker symposia—"Observation Symposium: Progress, Problems, and Prospects” and "Special Symposium on Individual, Social, and Cultural Observations in Weather and Climate Contexts”—the latter exploring contributions the social sciences can provide to the atmospheric sciences community. There are also several other conferences/symposia dedicated solely to observations.  Moreover, nearly all other conferences/symposia will have designated themed joint sessions or keynote talks on the critical observational requirements for their disciplines.  All recommendations for crucial observations or instruments made in any session during the Annual Meeting will be captured and summarized in a future BAMS article on the “community consensus” for vital environmental measurements.