As the AMS celebrates our 100th anniversary, we find ourselves in a world with increasing skepticism of science and societal impacts of extreme weather and climate events. While these represent serious challenges, they also offer significant opportunities. Traditionally the Society has done an extraordinary job as an objective voice for our community without losing credibility by needlessly delving into political matters; however given today’s challenges, the AMS should continue our recent trajectory of becoming more active in engaging with the public and key decision makers.
The AMS is also well positioned to help our community navigate the challenge of the pending explosion of environmental data from commercial sources, which challenges the traditional model of data from government observing systems being provided free to government agencies, international partners and industry. The AMS, and particularly the private sector members of our Society, will play a pivotal role in the evolution of the weather enterprise driven by the increasing role of the private sector as a data and service provider.
One other challenge to highlight is the long-term decline in STEM graduates as a percentage of the total college degrees attained by US citizens. The AMS has attacked this on multiple fronts for many years, to include engagement with the public, working with students and educators at all levels, and working to broaden the pool of future scientists through diversity and inclusion outreach programs. As the AMS and weather enterprise evolve to be more interdisciplinary and other tech sectors continue to compete for our future workforce, these important AMS initiatives must evolve to meet the growing needs.
My diverse professional experiences have helped me fully appreciate, understand and respect the challenges of the government, academic and private sector groups within the AMS, and how each approach their respective challenges to the benefit of the entire weather enterprise. I would be truly honored to serve as your president and contribute in any way I can to the Society as we enter our second century.
Michael R. “Mike” Farrar is is the chief scientist for weather operations for the U.S. Air Force (USAF). In this role, he serves as the primary science advisor to the USAF director of weather and coordinates science and technology activities related to weather operations with internal USAF and Department of Defense (DoD) stakeholders as well as with US interagency and international partners. Farrar served in 2017–18 as senior VP and chief operating officer of the University Corporation of Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and held several executive positions in NOAA from 2012 to 2017, including the Meteorological Development Laboratory (MDL) director and Environmental Modeling Center (EMC) director in the National Weather Service (NWS) and acting deputy director of the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR). Prior to that, he was VP of strategic and business development for Science and Technology Corporation (STC) from 2010 to 2012, and he began his career as a uniformed USAF meteorologist where he served for 24 years in several leadership positions in forecast operations, scientific development, program management, training, budgeting, planning/policy, and collaboration with U.S. and international partners. Within AMS, Farrar currently serves on the Commission on Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise; the Executive Committee of the Forecast Improvement Group; and on the Kenneth Spengler Award Committee. He previously served as a Mesoscale Processes Committee member (1999–2000), Weather Analysis and Forecasting Committee member (2000–02), and Committee to Improve Climate Change Communication member (2010–14). Farrar holds a B.S. in physics from Purdue University, a B.S. in meteorology from The Pennsylvania State University, an M.A. in national resource strategy from the Eisenhower School of the National Defense University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in meteorology from Florida State University. He has received numerous military awards and decorations and has led two centers/ labs in the NWS to receive Department of Commerce Gold Medals.