14th Presidential Forum: Extreme Weather, Climate, and the Built Environment: New Perspectives, Opportunities, and Tools

Monday, 3 February, 9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.; Thomas Murphy Ballroom


The 2014 Annual Meeting is being organized around the broad theme of “Extreme Weather—Climate and the Built Environment: New Perspectives, Opportunities, and Tools.” Through the lens of past, current, and future extreme events, participants will explore the dynamic interplay of scientific inquiry, technological advances, societal changes, and public awareness as complementary elements for ensuring the resilience of communities, businesses, and the natural resources upon which we depend. The vision underpinning the organization of the 2014 Annual Meeting imagines: An AMS weather and climate enterprise effectively engaged in addressing the challenges presented to governments, communities, businesses, and resource managers anticipating, preparing for, avoiding, and dealing with the consequences of weather and climate extremes. The Presidential Theme will continue throughout the week via four targeted events as follows:

1. Beginning Monday morning opening plenary session, Society members and Annual Meeting attendees will hear practical perspectives on the consequences of weather and climate extremes from high-ranking representatives of businesses, governments, and communities. The Presidential Forum will include a keynote address given by Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth blogger, The New York Times, and Senior Fellow for Environmental Understanding, Pace University. Mr. Revkin will be speaking on “The New Communication Climate: An Exploration of Tools and Traits That Give the Best Chance of Success in Facing a Fast-Forward Media Landscape and Changing Climate.” Organizers of the Presidential Forum are then planning a lively, McLaughlin-style panel that currently includes confirmed participation from the following invited guests:

• Leslie Chapman-Henderson, president and CEO, Federal Alliance for Safe Homes
• David Perkes, architect/professor, Mississippi State University and Gulf Coast Design Studio
• Peter Kareiva, chief scientist, The Nature Conservancy
• Ellis Stanley Sr., vice president, Emergency Management Services, Hammerman and Gainer International, Inc., and
• Rear Admiral David W. Titley, senior scientist and director, Center for Weather and Climate Risk Solutions, The Pennsylvania State University

The panel discussion promises to be a collaborative and dynamic chance for panelists and attendees to challenge, explore, and extend the Annual Meeting’s theme together.

2. On Monday evening, a Presidential Town Hall Meeting, entitled “Adapting to the New Normal— Building, Sustaining, and Improving our Weather and Climate Hazard Resilience,” is scheduled. The evening will feature two preeminent speakers: FEMA Administrator W. Craig Fugate and Professor Donald Wuebbles. Professor Wuebbles will first present the principal findings of the recent major international IPCC assessment report, of which he is a coordinating lead author. Special guest speaker Craig Fugate will then provide practical perspectives on disaster risk management and  preparedness now and into the future. Attendees will also have a chance to see the ultra-fine resolution simulation of the evolution of Hurricane Sandy as it approached and made landfall, with catastrophic impacts over the northeastern United States created by a team of researchers from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), and Cray Inc.

3. On Tuesday afternoon from 3:30 to 5:30, the  Presidential Forum will host an International Panel Discussion—“Climate Services to Support Risk- Informed Decision Making for Building Resilience to Weather Extremes in a Changing Climate.” This panel, scheduled as part of the Ninth Symposium on Policy and Socio-Economic Research, will explore opportunities of the weather and climate services to support risk analysis and provide   fundamental information as input to policy development and risk-based decision-making tools, used by practitioners to reduce impacts and develop resilience of built environment to extreme events.

4. The Superstorm Sandy Symposium, described separately, is also considered a formal component of the 2014 Annual Meeting Presidential Forum.

Beginning with the opening Presidential Forum Plenary on Monday morning and continuing throughout the week, the Annual Meeting organizers hope to provide attendees with a fuller understanding of the societal challenges associated with weather and climate extremes and the opportunity to identify common areas of importance for members and the Society as a whole to contribute toward the development of a shared response to those challenges. To continue the excitement and momentum initiated throughout the week, the meeting organizers and AMS will find ways to continue the dialogue through targeted technical sessions, special 10 journal issues, interaction with local chapters, and other venues. We look forward to your help fully realizing this idea in Atlanta.