AMS Statements

The American Meteorological Society advances the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications, and services for the benefit of society. As a service to its members, and in fulfillment of its larger responsibilities to human society, the AMS periodically issues statements on topics that fall within the scope of AMS expertise.

New or Updated Statements in Force


Summary of AMS Statement Guidelines

Provisionally approved on March 22, 2023
(Adapted from the full AMS statement guidelines)

AMS statements are a means of communicating with members of the AMS community and external audiences such as the public, policy makers, the media, and other beneficiaries of AMS information and services. Statements convey scientific information and the potential of using it, advance strategic priorities, and provide a foundation of shared understanding of AMS and its values and practices. Crucially, each statement should stand alone and contribute to a comprehensive body of scientific information and its application on behalf of AMS and for the benefit of humanity.

AMS statements are created and maintained with oversight by and the active participation of the AMS Council, the representative and elected governing body of the organization, and as such, speak with the full weight of the Society. Any member or AMS group can propose a new AMS statement or recommend the revision of an existing AMS statement. Furthermore, the standard sequential process of statement creation (described below) incorporates opportunities for any AMS member to review and provide feedback on statements being developed along with opportunities for any member of the AMS community to volunteer for service on a statement drafting team.

AMS statements are categorized by their primary intent and audience: 

  1. information statements  promote understanding of key topics in weather, water, and climate to broad audiences (internal and external), 
  2. professional guidance statements support the conduct and performance of the activities of the AMS enterprise, 
  3. Best Practices support external communities that benefit from the AMS enterprise by describing how to use information and services most effectively, and 
  4. policy statements provide information about the earth and environmental system sciences directly to decision-makers for the purposes of speeding the uptake and use of our science and services (e.g., policy-makers).  

The guidelines for statement creation summarized here serve two primary purposes: 1) to ensure the creation of statements that advance the AMS mission, and 2) to provide clear instructions for anyone who wishes to propose a statement, participate in the process of creating a statement, or use an AMS statement. The specific procedures seek to: ensure rigor, accuracy, validity, and credibility of AMS statements and to thereby protect and enhance the scientific integrity and standing of the AMS. 

The Standard Sequential Procedure for Statement Creation:
  1. Proposal development and submission. Anyone from the AMS community can propose a new AMS statement or the revision of a statement that is already in force. Typically, proposals will be 300 words or less and identify: A) the subject of the proposed statement, B) an initial scoping of the statement (this may change with Council’s input or throughout the process of drafting the statement, accordingly), C) why the topic is important and appropriate for consideration as an AMS statement, and D) an initial list of subject matter experts who might contribute to the statement (including a potential chair(s) of the drafting team).
  2. Proposal review and Council initiation. Proposals will be initially reviewed by appropriate members of the AMS staff, commissioners, and the AMS President as a potential AMS statement. The Board on Best Practices (BBP) serves this role for Best Practice statements and the BBP is also charged with identifying and proposing new AMS Best Practice statements, as needed. If potentially appropriate, proposals will then be forwarded to Council for consideration. Typically, the Council will move forward by identifying a chair for the drafting team, a Council liaison, and possibly others who can help scope the statement (e.g., AMS commissioners or staff). Note that The Council liaison is a unique and crucial role. They are the only person that serves both as an active member of the drafting team and as a member of Council. In this role, they communicate the perspective of the drafting team to Council and the perspective of Council to the drafting team. They contribute substantively to the content of a statement as a member of drafting team.
  3. Precis development and call for volunteers. The designated statement chair, in partnership with the Council liaison, relevant AMS commissioners and staff, will develop a brief precis (300 words or less) describing the scope of the intended statement (see these sample précis). The precis, once approved by Council, will serve as the basis of an open call for volunteers from the AMS community to serve on the drafting team (note that those volunteers who are not selected will have a chance to comment during the open comment period).
  4. Formation of the drafting team (i.e., volunteer selection) and initial statement scope. The chair, in partnership with the Council liaison and appropriate volunteers and AMS staff will consider the volunteers and propose a drafting team for the statement. The drafting team typically includes 6-12 individuals who, collectively, are as representative as possible with respect to the relevant subject matter of the statement, range of credible scientific viewpoints on the topic, and breadth of backgrounds and experiences among the AMS community and the larger society that we serve. The proposed drafting team will go to Council for a vote to begin drafting the statement. Council approval of the drafting team begins an eight month clock for the creation of the statement.
  5. Initial drafting team work (i.e., creation of statement draft) and iteration with Council. The drafting team creates an initial draft of the statement and provides it to the AMS Council for review (step 6).
  6. Council input prior to open member comment. This is the initial Council review of the statement draft and it is the preferred moment for Council to provide significant substantive input, to identify additional issues for the drafting team to consider, or to make major course corrections. Steps 5 and 6 can involve several iterations of revision by the drafting team and Council review. In general, the Council liaison communicates between the Council and the drafting team in coordination with the chair of the drafting team.
  7. Council approval for member comment.  When (and if) Council approves a draft for member comment (i.e., Council deems the draft to be ready) the statement is available to the AMS membership for a 30-day open comment period.
  8. Drafting team revision based on member comments. All comments go to the drafting team for consideration. Once considered and appropriately addressed (i.e. incorporated, or rejected with justification) an updated draft of the statement is submitted to Council along with a complete list of comments and responses from the drafting team to those comments.
  9. Council vote to approve, reject, or modify the draft statement. Council may request further changes (major or minor) from the drafting team, approve the statement as is, request minor edits (subject to review by the drafting team), or disband the drafting team without adoption of the statement. This step may be repeated until the statement is approved or the drafting team is disbanded. If approved by Council, the statement is copy-edited and posted. It is considered in-force from the day of Council approval.
Procedure for Statement Revision and Updating

Existing statements that need updating or that AMS wishes to renew beyond their original date of expiration generally fall into one of three categories, each of which has its own pathway for renewal. A statement can: 1) be "good as is" if it requires no significant substantive changes and can therefore simply be readopted by the Council without engagement of outside experts or the full membership, 2) effectively require "starting over" using the standard sequential procedures described above if the original content requires comprehensive reexamination, or 3) merit "significant retention with some modification" where the original statement remains mostly appropriate as is but could benefit from some substantive updating that exceeds what the Council itself is likely able to provide without additional input.

For those statements that merit "significant retention and some modification" Council must determine where in the sequential procedures to begin. For example, Council might start immediately with a 30-day member comment period using the existing statement as the basis for member review. The Council would then, either alone or with the help of outside subject matter experts, update the statement based on the member comments. The procedure would follow the standard sequential steps as usual from that point.

Special Circumstances.

As the representative governing body, statement creation and updating is at the sole discretion of the AMS Council. Deviations from the regular procedures are rare and while the vast majority of statements are created through the standard sequential procedures (described above) there are instances when expedited approaches and opportunities arise. Three examples are: 1) Council authored statements of strategic priorities or of overarching community principles for which Council itself constitutes the relevant center of subject matter expertise because it is the governing body of the Society, 2) the need to respond rapidly to specific situations, imminent or ongoing hazards, public events, and other time-sensitive communication (procedures for rapid responses are under revision), or 3) the adoption or endorsement of an existing document as AMS’ own (e.g., that has been generated by partner organization or through an alternate process). 

Note that these special circumstances do not necessarily preclude the use of the regular procedures and, in practice, attempt to incorporate as much of the regular procedures as possible given competing considerations. 

Note also that communication and dissemination of AMS statements is of central importance to their value. This is a shared responsibility for the drafting team, the AMS Council, AMS commissions, and relevant members of the AMS staff. Members of the drafting team are encouraged to consider and recommend potential audiences and elements of a comprehensive communication and dissemination plan.