In late October, over 200 people across the Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise and beyond came together, via a virtual setting, for the 2020 American Meteorological Society (AMS) Washington Forum. This year, the annual conference traditionally held every April brought together the Weather Enterprise’s three sectors — government, industry, and academia — to share and discuss the latest science, policy, and visions about the future of weather forecasting.
Particularly useful to the UFS Community were sessions on “The Future of Weather Forecasters and Technology” and “The Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise: Contributing in an Evolving Landscape.” These sessions focused on how the world around us influences and is influenced by science and technological advances. Participants shared forward-thinking ideas on how modeling, the role of forecasters, and the types of information delivered to society will evolve in the future.
Other highlights of this year’s Forum were:
- Investment in human and technology at the same time (it’s a “both-and…” not an “either-or”)
- Acknowledgment that too much automation can erode skills that are often needed at most critical times
- Strong emphasis on model improvements (EPIC, UFS, community-based approach), machine learning, and artificial intelligence but with the forecaster’s evolution as an interpreter of the science and as a “forecaster above the loop”,
- Monitor automated guidance,
- Intervene based on known bias/errors when and where it matters most,
- Do targeted adjustments work? Yes, for some elements.
- Metrics and tests beds are needed to determining how best to fold increasing AI tools within the forecast process (“we’re building the care while its driving”)
If you missed last month’s AMS Washington Forum, the good news is you don’t have to wait long for next year’s Forum, as the organizing team is already working on the 2021 AMS Washington Forum. Opportunities exist for the UFS Community to engage the organizing team on proposed session topics. If you have ideas or want to learn more about the AMS Washington Forum, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.