President’s column – February 2012
Wed, Feb 22 2012
I write this first column as President of an organisation which is in good shape. A large part of the credit for this goes to my predecessor. Neville Nicholls’ most significant legacy as President was through leading a lot of unglamorous but essential work, to place AMOS on a much sounder administrative and financial footing, taking us from a set of structures and systems which might have been adequate for a small organisation but had proven inadequate for what we had become, to a framework which meets the requirements, internal and external, of an organisation which turns over a couple of hundred thousand dollars in a normal year. He was able to provide this leadership, and no small amount of hands-on work, at the same time as carrying out the high-pressure and time-consuming task of being a Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC Special Report on Extremes (something which will be about to hit the streets in full by the time you read this). The Society owes a great deal to Neville, and to those who have supported him in this work (particularly Jeanette Dargaville, who has gone well beyond the call of duty in her position as Administrative Officer), and I am sure all of you will join me in extending the Society’s thanks to him.
The main event of recent weeks has been the National Conference, exceptionally well-organised at the University of New South Wales by Jason Evans and his team – they have certainly left the organisers of the 2013 conference in Melbourne something to live up to. The conference, with about 330 registrations, is the largest standalone conference we have yet run. The National Conference has grown dramatically in recent years – it is only six years ago that we struggled to get much over 100, and two years ago we topped 250 for the first time. It has now become the major high point of the national calendar for the fields which we cover, and has attracted an exceptionally wide range of papers covering all aspects of the atmospheric and oceanographic sciences. It also remains open to scientists at all stages of their careers, from the most senior to students just starting out on their careers. Many of us – at least those of us who are young enough that our entry to the arena happened after the conference came into existence – made our conference debut at an AMOS National Conference, and I hope it will always be a receptive forum to those who are entering this environment for the first time.
I will have more to say next month about our plans for this year. One item which will be a priority for us this year is to build our membership, and I commend Michael Hewson’s discussion paper in the Bulletin which will be coming out shortly.