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Annual Theme

The 92nd AMS Annual Meeting will be held 22–26 January 2012 at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Ward Seguin is the 2012 Annual Meeting Chairperson. He is working with Phil Ardanuy, Andrea Bleistein, Carl Hoffman, Michael Jamilkowski, and Fred Zeiles as members of the 2012 Annual Meeting Overall Planning Committee on the organization of the meeting.

The 2012 Annual Meeting is being organized around the broad theme of “Technology in Research and Operations—How We Got Here and Where We’re Going.” With the 1951 delivery of the Universal Automatic Computer I (UNIVAC I), arguably the first government “supercomputer,” and the 1960 launch of Television Infrared Observation Satellite-1 (TIROS-1), the first weather satellite, the stage was set for a revolution in meteorology—later in oceanography, geography, space weather, land observing, and climate. This technology-driven revolution now encompasses the full spectrum of our professional society’s physical and social sciences, including climate modeling and prediction, atmospheric chemistry, carbon, water, biogeosciences, and even energy management. As a direct consequence of this revolution, the era of extremely limited observational capabilities ended and hand-drawn and analyzed weather charts were replaced by objective numerical analyses and forecasts. We have seen evermore sophisticated numerical modeling and assimilation, and exponentially increasing computing capacity that can never satisfy an insatiable demand. Increasingly interoperable data and information systems are facilitating national and international collaboration toward a system of systems. And we are using charge-coupled devices to catch photons and acoustic devices to sense sound waves to turn observations into environmental data products to initialize these models. These and countless other technological advances have provided, and continue to provide, powerful tools to geophysical and heliophysical research scientists and operational forecasters. And the pace of this revolution is increasing exponentially.

The central theme of the 2012 AMS Annual Meeting will be technology and its profound impacts on research, operations, the business of our environmental sciences, and the public. These advancements in environmental awareness and knowledge have greatly lowered the human suffering and loss of life in the United States and around the world from the deadly and costly effects of extreme weather and ecological disasters. This meeting, appropriately scheduled for the Crescent City of New Orleans, which has lived through the traumas of Hurricane Katrina and Deepwater Horizon’s oil spill, is not intended to be “technology worship.” Rather, it will focus on past, current, and future advances that should be of wide interest and value to AMS members. Also to be considered by members in discussion of these topics should be the link between the advancement of complex technologies and our improving confidence in the end parameters and their linkage across scales and processes, such as are represented in hurricane prediction. And this is always of great interest for discussion in New Orleans.