RealClimate logo


Impressions from the European Meteorological Society’s annual meeting in Dublin 

Filed under: — rasmus @ 14 September 2017

The 2017 annual assembly of the European Meteorological Society (EMS) had a new set-up with a plenary keynote each morning. I though some of these keynotes were very interesting. There was a talk by Florence Rabier from the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), who presented the story of ensemble forecasting. Keith Seitter, the executive director of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), talked about the engagement with the society on the Wednesday.

The Helix at DCU was the main venue of #EMS2017

It is impossible to attend all talks of such a conference with several parallel sessions. Besides, I gave most of my attention to the session on synoptic climatology which I co-convened together with Radan Huth.

One particularly interesting talk was a presentation by Rodrigo Caballero on standing waves, the jet stream and mid-latitude storms. He discussed the connection between cold extremes over North America, a perturbed upper-level jet stream, and eddy activity over the North Atlantic.

The talk covered several interesting topics: the idea that North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) is a breaking Rossby wave; episodes of double wave-breaking on the northern and southern side of the jet resulting intense extreme winds; storm clustering; and planetary waves with wave number 5 and zero phase speed but eastward group velocity.

Another brilliant talk was given by Stephen Blenkinsop on intense rain with short duration. He presented observations which indicate that there has been a global intensification of short-duration (time scale: minutes-hours) rainfall events. A new global sub-daily precipitation data set HadISD was presented, which is an output from the EU-project INTENSE.

I have become more selective when it comes to attending talks with age, in order to avoid conference fatigue and information overload. There probably were many other excellent presentations at EMS 2017 which I didn’t catch.

I also think that too many talks tend to be overly cryptic and too many presenters try to cram too much information into way too many slides (e.g 25 slides in a 12 minute talk, many of which loaded with a large number of tiny maps).

It is important to make it easy for the audience, keeping in mind that people often try to digest about 20 of these talks per day.

There was an excellent talk on science communication by C. Alex Young from NASA, and it was too bad it wasn’t streamed. He had some good advice to science presenters that may help them get their message across.

17 Responses to “Impressions from the European Meteorological Society’s annual meeting in Dublin ”

  1. 1
    JCH says:

    Another brilliant talk was given by Stephen Blenkinsop on intense rain with short duration. He presented observations which indicate that there has been a global intensification of short-duration (time scale: minutes-hours) rainfall events. A new global sub-daily precipitation data set HadISD was presented, which is an output from the EU-project INTENSE. …

    Spent a couple of hours last week searching Google Scholar and the web for information on hourly rainfall records/trends, so thanks for this.

  2. 2

    It is impossible to attend all talks of such a conference with several parallel sessions.

    I also wrote an overview with my highlights. Mostly focusing on observations and data quality. Looks like there are no doubles with the above post.

  3. 3
    Thomas says:

    C. Alex Young from NASA — Ultimately, this comes down to understanding key concepts like, who is your audience? what is your message? and why should they care? Despite the importance of communication, it has traditionally not been part of our core training as scientists.

    Yep! And KISS Principle, of course. And maybe the 3 step process as well, be it at a talk, or in a Op-Ed — 1) Tell them what you are going to tell them. 2) Tell them (in ways the Target Audience can actually understand) 3) Review – Tell them again what you just told them (and if appropriate, and not so obvious, WHY it what they now know is so very important – aka Context – Personal Action/s they can take to help).

    Effective Communication is a Teachable Skill anyone can Learn – but only if they apply themselves and get the right advice/training.

  4. 4
    Joel Shore says:

    I hear what you say about people putting too many slides in a short talk. At the American Physical Society meetings, the contributed talks are 10 minutes long (+ 2 minutes for questions). In our grad school, there was a professor who drilled into us that we could easily give one of the best talks simply by not doing stupid things like putting too many slides into the talks or too many equations into the slides. Alas, that advice did not seem to be given to (or at least followed by) most presenters!

    My philosophy was that a 10 minute talk should be structured pretty much like a fairy tale: “Once upon a time there was this big bad problem and then we came along and did []…and everybody lived happily ever after.”

  5. 5
    Dan DaSilva says:

    Title by Keith L. Seitter: “Being as disciplined in our engagement with society as we are in our scientific research”

    If scientists wish to be disciplined in their engagement with society they should back away from the defense of the that which has no defense. Just call it crap and move on. The validity of your scientific studies does not depend on defending bad science. Be righteous my brothers and it will be given unto you.

  6. 6

    DDS: If scientists wish to be disciplined in their engagement with society they should back away from the defense of the that which has no defense. Just call it crap and move on. The validity of your scientific studies does not depend on defending bad science. Be righteous my brothers and it will be given unto you.

    BPL: Could you be more specific about which “crap” scientists are defending, in your pseudoscience worldview?

  7. 7
    Astringent says:

    Dan #5, have you ever actually met a scientist? The ones I know would act like a starving wolf when they cornered a crap hypothesis in a dark forest. They might be polite on the outside, but there would be blood in the snow. So maybe they aren’t defending bad science……

  8. 8

    #5, DDS–

    Borehole it; this is content-free “crap”.

  9. 9
    Dan DaSilva says:

    RE #6 Barton Paul Levenson
    Hope you do not mind if I ignore the pseudoscience worldview comment.
    1) The famous hockey stick
    2) Al Gore’s movies

    RE #7 Astringent
    Never met one only read their writings. I thought what they write would reflect their views and ideas. Are they that different from other humans?

  10. 10

    DDS: 1) The famous hockey stick

    BPL: …has been replicated by fourteen independent studies, according to the NAS report.

    DDS: 2) Al Gore’s movies

    BPL: …are essentially accurate, as a court in the UK decided when some asinine deniers decided to sue him about it.

    For climate discussions, Al Gore takes the place of Hitler in Godwin’s Law. The conversation can only go on so long until someone attacks Al Gore, and the first person to do so loses.

    It doesn’t matter to the question whether Al Gore tortures puppies in his basement. What matters is whether his message is true or false. Not Republican or Democratic, not conservative or liberal, just true or false. You can kill the messenger (and I’m surprised no on has yet taken a shot at Mr. Gore, considering how often and how deeply he is abused on the internet), but that does nothing whatsoever to the validity of the message.

  11. 11

    DDS, #9–

    A second consecutive content-free smear. (Apparently I’m now counting them.)

  12. 12
    Thomas says:

    4 reasonable comments followed by 7 off-topic waste of space/efforts by DDS and retorts (but no offense to those who retorted – the DDS, KIA, Victor et al crap is indeed frustrating and obviously so! And never-ending, apparently.)

    https://docs.jivesoftware.com/jive/7.0/community_admin/index.jsp?topic=/com.jivesoftware.help.sbs.online/admin/WhatIsContentModeration.html

    Surely it is not that hard a step to take?

  13. 13
    Mal Adapted says:

    DDS:

    If scientists wish to be disciplined in their engagement with society they should back away from the defense of the that which has no defense. Just call it crap and move on.

    DDS, it should be crap if you’re going to call it crap. That’s why it’s essential to recognize crap when you see it.

    Humans admire themselves for their capacity to reason, an adaptation for successful survival and reproduction as social omnivorous primates. Like all products of evolution by natural selection, however, our cognitive abilities are constrained by competing selective forces; IOW, they’re as good as they are and no better. Consequently, we easily form unjustified beliefs about ‘reality’, i.e. the space-time continuum.

    Scientists are different from other humans: they are trained not to fool themselves, and by cultural norm they don’t let their peers fool themselves either. Without scientific training and peer review, it’s normal for us to let our wishes and hopes fool us, never imagining we’re doing so. We recognize it in our friends much more readily, although by culture norm we don’t challenge them on it. Unacknowledged biases, and/or excessive pride in their own competence, can lead even trained and discipline scientists to defend that which has no defense. Thus:

    If scientists AGW deniers wish to be disciplined in their engagement with society they should back away from the defense of the that which has no defense. Just call it crap and move on.

    FIFY. With the recognition that only professional AGW deniers wish to be disciplined, to defend the indefensible if they wish to be paid. Volunteer AGW deniers, OTOH, merely fail to discipline their wishes.

  14. 14
    Dan DaSilva says:

    Hello Barton,
    Exactly as I thought you defended them both, thanks for the confirmation.

  15. 15
    Al Bundy says:

    Astringent: The ones I know would act like a starving wolf when they cornered a crap hypothesis in a dark forest.

    AB: Around here that sort of behavior leads to troll-feeding.

  16. 16

    DDS: Exactly as I thought you defended them both, thanks for the confirmation.

    BPL: You might just want to look up “confirmation bias.”

  17. 17

    #14, DDS–

    Content-free trolling, #3.

    Hmm, almost looks like a pattern is beginning to emerge.