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Weather, water and climate information and services are critical to national security

WASHINGTON March 20, 2014 In the wake of seven weather and climate disaster events last year with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States, scientists are exploring options to build resilience nationwide to natural hazards. To bridge the scientific and federal policy communities, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) will hold its annual Washington Forum April 1-3, 2014 in Washington, DC.

Former astronaut Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will give the keynote address.

"NOAA is the quintessential big data agency," Dr. Sullivan said. "Each day, NOAA collects 20 terabytes of data from our network of forecast models and observational platforms, yet only a small percentage of this extremely valuable information is made available to the public. To realize the full potential of these data, we're looking to the weather, water and climate enterprise, including AMS members, to help solve our big data problem. Working together, not only can AMS and NOAA create new and innovative products and services based off our data, we can ensure that U.S. forecasting capabilities remain second to none."

The theme of this year's forum is "Leveraging the Enterprise: Strengthening Our Value to Society." Sessions topics will include the societal impacts of and recovery from Typhoon Haiyan, as well as health impacts of extreme weather and climate events.

"Typhoon Haiyan, the strongest storm to strike land in recorded history, fed off warm waters and warm air, both of which are trends that will likely worsen in the future due to climate change," said Dr. David Robinson, state climatologist of New Jersey and professor at Rutgers University. "The Philippines is not the only country that needs to guard against killer storms. Superstorm Sandy was a recent disaster that reinforces the need for the United States to improve resilience to natural hazards."

The forum will address human health risks from extreme weather and climate events, including heat-related deaths, infectious disease outbreaks and respiratory ailments. Speakers will explore how recent scientific understanding of the magnitude and pattern of possible impacts, and of the effectiveness of measures to communicate and manage risks, can inform local to national policy development.

Leaders of the weather, water and climate enterprise also will discuss advances in offshore renewable energy, the future of road weather safety, protecting the electrical grid from space weather events, the changing Arctic region, and possible approaches towards the commercialization of weather data. Congressional, White House and federal agency officials will provide an inside look into current programs, priorities and constraints they face as they work with the AMS community to strengthen the U.S. economy using weather, water and climate observations and predictions.

The AMS Washington Forum provides an opportunity for members of the weather, water, and climate community to meet with senior Federal agency officials, Congressional staff, and other community members to hear about the status of current programs, learn about new initiatives, discuss issues of interest to our community, identify business opportunities, and speak out about data and other needs.

All members of the weather, water, and climate community are encouraged to attend the AMS Washington Forum, as well as end users of weather, water, and climate information. For registration and other information, visit


Contact: Ellen Klicka
American Meteorological Society

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