President's Column - June 2012
Wed, Jun 6 2012
The run-up to an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) deadline is always a time when there is lots of frenzied scientific activity. Last time round, at least a third of the lights were still on in the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CAWCR) at 9 p.m. on submission deadline day, and I don’t expect that it will be greatly different this time.
It is a time to take stock of just how much good science is being done in Australia. I had a bit of a taste of this recently when attending the annual review meeting for the Australian Climate Change Science Plan in Hobart (held in May), and I heard how much was happening in just one corner (albeit a very high-profile corner) of the science landscape in the atmospheric and oceanographic sciences. One area in which we can be especially excited is the work being done towards Australian contributions to the 5th Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP5), and the role that the Australian Community Climate and Earth-System Simulator (ACCESS) model is playing in this. Results presented at the meeting indicate that ACCESS is amongst the best-performing of the current generation of climate models for a variety of measures—a very impressive effort. Australian contributions to CMIP5 will be the subject of a special issue of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Journal early next year, so you’ll be able to read much more about the work then (also see the article by Collier et al., 2011, which appeared in the October 2011 issue of BAMOS – Ed.).
If that meeting was the showcase for one particular section of the sciences which we cover, our National Conference is the showcase for all of them. Following the successful 2012 conference, planning is now well advanced for the 2013 National Conference in Melbourne, which we are hoping will be at least as big as this year’s.
We do not yet have a venue for National Conferences from 2014 onwards and would welcome expressions of interest from Regional Centres, especially those that haven’t hosted one in recent years or are yet to do so at all. I’m currently in the process of travelling around (most of) the country and meeting with as many Regional Centres as possible. Outside the largest centres, the Regional Centre groups may be relatively small, but the ones I’ve met with so far have at least a good core of enthusiastic people who are doing their bit to make AMOS a vibrant organisation throughout the country. Regional Centres who might be interested in hosting a National Conference but aren’t sure whether they have the people to handle everything can be assured that the national organisation can provide a lot of support if it is needed.
A final reflection also comes from the Hobart meeting, which occurred shortly after some front-page coverage of some very amateurish data analysis in our fi eld. The point was made that if something like this happened in medicine, the Australian Medical Association would be open in expressing their outrage. The major institutions have shown a reluctance to enter this space; I am interested in the thoughts of members as to whether AMOS as an organisation should get involved in responding to material such as that, and if so what our processes for doing so should be.