January 31, 2020

The Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) is the world’s largest gathering of meteorologists and climate scientists in the world. Throughout the week, several sessions showcased the latest research in the weather enterprise, such as how weather affects financial markets and how meteorologists can better communicate with their clients and television viewers. Several networking events enabled ample and productive mingling among professionals in the field. After attending the previous two meetings in Austin and Phoenix as a student, I was honored to represent WorldAware as an industry professional at the 100th meeting in Boston.

The first day of the conference was targeted directly toward early career professionals seeking to smooth their transition from college to career. The first session I attended was a panel discussion on the struggles of moving to a new city without knowing anyone, which was the case for me when I started at WorldAware. The panelists emphasized the importance of work-life balance and always saying “yes” to new opportunities. Another important talk from this session described how to maximize one’s worth as a young professional. Meteorologists, especially those just starting in their careers, need to develop a diverse skill set by constantly seeking new learning opportunities; skill complacency amounts to moving backward.

On the following day, I attended several sessions that focused on weather risk and financial markets, including supply chain vulnerability, metrics to measure risk, and how businesses prepare for natural disasters. According to a recent study, just 10 percent of businesses in the US and less than 50 percent of business in China have an executable business continuity plan in place when a natural disaster strikes. As a result, there is a growing importance placed on quantifying a business’s security risk and how it changes over time.

Several talks throughout the week discussed social science and communication. One session focused on the November 2018 snowstorm in New York City that led to a transportation disaster. The speaker emphasized that the timing of weather events often determines their severity more than the amount of rain or snow accumulation. Snow that falls in the early afternoon will impact transportation more than at any other point in the day. Similarly, precipitation that falls and accumulates quickly can have a greater impact than larger totals that fall more slowly over a longer period. The speaker talked about how meteorologists can better convey information to clients; it is important to deliver a consistent message and to invest in understanding the specific needs of users so that a forecast can be delivered more clearly and precisely.

It was an honor to represent WorldAware at this year’s AMS meeting in Boston. In addition to learning about a wide range of important issues in meteorology, it was great to meet meteorology students and professionals from all walks of life, as well as reconnect with old friends and colleagues. I am excited to use this new-found knowledge to grow professionally and to deliver efficient intelligence to our consumers.