A Policy Statement of the American Meteorological Society
(Adopted by the AMS Council 26 May 2016)
Understanding how the Earth system works and transforming this knowledge into action will allow our nation and the global community to effectively respond and adapt to changing weather, water, and climate conditions. National investment and leadership combined with enhanced partnerships across the public, private, academic, and nongovernmental organization sectors are necessary to make this vision a reality.
Introduction. Access to reliable, accurate, timely, and understandable weather, water, and climate (WWC) information is vital for the safety and well-being of society. Decision-makers at all levels need this information to formulate and implement effective strategic, tactical, and policy decisions across all interconnected sectors of society, including health, energy, food, water, infrastructure, transportation, and national security. Extreme weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, floods, wildfires, severe coastal storms, and heat waves, and the impacts of longer-term climate changes such as droughts, changing snowpack, and sea level rise threaten the social and economic security of our nation and society as a whole. While these challenges pose serious risks, they also offer a remarkable national opportunity for enhanced knowledge, advanced tools, leadership, and actionable information.
WWC observations, science, and services are critical national infrastructure essential for meeting human needs. They have led to technological innovations, fueled economic growth, stimulated social prosperity, and mitigated potential WWC-related disasters. AMS public, private, and academic-sector members acknowledge the ongoing vital commitment and support of the American public and its leaders to the advancement of WWC observations, science, and services. This support improves forecasts, makes new information products possible, trains the next generation of scientists and decision-makers, and enables more effective communication. As a result, people have been better prepared for disruptive WWC events, and many lives have been saved.
The value of WWC tools and information to economic growth is increasing as is the cost of WWC- related disasters. Individuals and business and government leaders are shaping decisions and actions based on detailed knowledge of meteorological, hydrological, oceanographic, geophysical, and ecological conditions, and on an understanding of how society responds. As society responds to the increasing frequency and severity of extreme WWC events, it needs and expects ever more reliable and actionable information to deal with pressing local, regional, national, and global economic and societal challenges that can range in time scales from minutes to centuries.
Recommendations. Economic and social prosperity belong to a society that understands and effectively responds to Earth’s changing WWC conditions. To meet this challenge the following actions are required:
Expected Outcomes and Conclusion. Implementing these recommendations will better enable individuals, communities, businesses, and governments to manage risks and explore opportunities associated with changing WWC conditions. Economic and social prosperity will be enhanced, and further progress will be made toward saving lives, enhancing commerce, protecting property, and adapting to a changing world. In so doing, our nation will advance its leadership in promoting technological innovations that are critical to the success and well-being of a global society.
[This statement is considered in force until May 2021 unless superseded by a new statement issued by the AMS Council before this date]