WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Reporting from Seattle

Posted January 22, 2011

Greetings from cloudy, "drippy" Seattle, Washington!  I'm here for the next few days, attending the American Meteorological Society's 91st Annual Meeting.  This is one of the largest gatherings of meteorologists, atmospheric and climate scientists, and other folks interested in the weather in the world.  While I am here, I'll share some of the highlights of the meeting, including some of the latest research in meteorology.

For starters, it's probably worth mentioning that the "Annual Meeting" is something of a misnomer.  This will be the site for about two dozen conferences, symposia, forums, and workshops over the next six days.  Each sub-meeting has a specific focus, ranging from transportation weather to instrumentation and remote sensing (like radar and satellite) to climate.  There are also conferences and symposia specifically dealing with communication, societal impacts, and policy issues.  i will be chairing a session of one such symposium next week; more on that then.

Tomorrow, we'll kick things off with the Student Conference.  Some time ago, I was asked to present some thoughts on how these up-and-coming scientists can use social media like Facebook, Twitter, and so forth professionally as they move forward in their careers.  I only found out today that my presentation will be the first formal presentation of the entire Annual Meeting, not counting opening remarks and so forth.  No pressure, right?  The good news is that there is a strong contingent of NC State meteorology students and faculty here, so I hope to have a friendly crowd!

In the afternoon, I'll move over to a workshop jointly held with the American Meteorological Society and the National Communication Association.  We will focus on how we can communicate about the weather with fellow meteorologists and climatologists, with other scientists, and with the public.  I have been fortunate to have been on the planning committee for this first-of-its-kind workshop, and our entire committee is very excited about what we have in store.  That will continue into Sunday.

Shifting gears, I can say that, of what I have seen of Seattle, I do like it.  Granted, my flight didn't arrive until around 5:30pm, which is a good half hour after sunset.  Seattle is at about 47.6° north latitude, so the sun rises later and sets earlier than back home at good-old-latitude 35.8° north.  It was cloudy and raining very lightly when I arrived, but the forecast is for a relatively dry and sunny spell for the next few days.  We will see if that bears out — the west coast of the United States features some interesting forecasting challenges that make predicting the weather here even more difficult than back home in North Carolina.

More to come!

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