Welcome to AMS Insights.

AMS Insights are perspectives meant to connect AMS Statements with views on real world events.  We hope these views help shed light on various aspects of the weather, water, and climate enterprise and the relationship we all share with that.

AMS Statements

AMS Statements represent our official position on various topics relating to weather, water, and climate.

Major Snowstorms and Social Sciences

February 2015

Northeast Snowstorms cover.

Boston Blizzard of 2015

The recent series of major snowstorms in the Northeast and New England reminds us that weather can have severe impacts on society and the economy. Schools and businesses closed for many days, road transportation came to a halt, and the ripple effects across the country included thousands of airline flights canceled or delayed. At some point during these past storms Boston and New York each shut down their subway systems while governments across the region declared states of emergency.

The AMS Statement, “Strengthening Social Sciences in the Weather–Climate Enterprise,” advocates “the need for stronger integration of the social sciences in the design and execution of future weather and climate research as well as the dissemination of atmospheric information.” The statement adds, “Opportunities for including social science in the weather and climate enterprise are growing.”

Even though snowstorms can be very accurately predicted days in advance, they affect millions of people and cost billions of dollars in damages and lost business. Incorporating our understanding of social sciences during these weather events helps ensure safety while minimizing losses. Social scientists, who seek to understand how individuals and society interact with weather and climate, can and do contribute substantially to the effectiveness of weather and climate communication, especially as it relates to partner decision-making, user understanding and response, and mitigation of vulnerability. This will help communities rebound more quickly and take stronger steps toward making even the most vulnerable among us more resilient.

AMS supports this deepening collaboration between social scientists and weather and climate scientists. By bringing new research tools and strategies to the table, social scientists help the weather and climate community aim research, observations, and information at addressing societal needs. Both physical and social scientists benefit from sharing expertise, learning from each other, and combining research efforts. Our communities are the ultimate beneficiaries of this collaboration.