Oral History Project Archives

Mark Guishard

Listen to the Interview:


Jinny Nathans: This is Jinny Nathans, I’m the archivist at the AMS, and I am here on April 18, 2018 at the Hurricanes and Tropical Meteorology Conference, and I am talking to Mark Guishard, and he is going to do a short talk on a question, and I don’t know which question, so looking forward to it.

Mark Guishard: Nothing controversial.  I want to – when I saw Jenni Evans here the other day, it reminded me that I should come and do this interview because I was her graduate student.  She was my Ph.D. advisor at Penn State, and I finished in 2006.  She’s now the president-elect of the AMS, so I want to say a few things about my time with her and how that went.

She encouraged me to publish after finishing my Ph.D., so publish a couple of papers.  My Ph.D. is on tropical meteorology, and specifically subtropical storms.  So I ended up spending of the 2008 version of this meeting, the AMS Hurricanes and Tropical meeting in Orlando writing what became two papers on subtropical storms in the Atlantic.  Although that was a very painful process, it was well worth it, and I’m glad she encouraged me to – encouraged is probably a weak term, she twisted my arm – to make me do these papers.  It was exactly the right thing to do.

I’ve been coming to, again, this particular meeting, the AMS Tropical and Hurricanes meeting since 2004 in Miami.  I’m a meteorologist on a small, isolated island, working at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, so most of my contemporaries are oceanographers or marine biologists or coral reef ecologists, and so I feel quite isolated in my organization, and in fact, in my country, because there’s only – well, there’s very few of us meteorologists in Bermuda.  So it’s great to work with them, but coming to this conference is always like coming home to a big family reunion.  So I’m proud and privileged to count myself amongst the tropical meteorology community at the AMS.  That was the blurb I had that I want to share.

JN: Oh, no, that’s wonderful.  One of the things that’s emerging from these interviews are the strong relationships between mentors and graduate students, and the urging to publish and seeing the next generation come along.  Can you talk a little bit more about your membership in the AMS, and what kind of things were special to you as you’re coming along in your career?

MG: I joined as a student member.  I think it was back in 2003 or ’04, in advance of that first AMS meeting that I ever attended.  I have to say, going to that first conference is one of the things that made me feel part of a wider community, getting a chance to interact directly with people whose papers I’ve read, people who are widely acknowledged as subject matter experts in the field that I was just starting out in was huge.  And being able to come face to face with Kerry Emanuel and John Molinari and various other, too many to name here, that in many ways I still work with now.  But now I’m in an organization that fosters research in natural catastrophes, so I interact with some of the people in this community on a formal, regular basis.  I think that would have been very difficult to accomplish without those conferences.  I think, for me, it’s the conference that is the big – this particular meeting is the huge benefit of being part of the AMS.

JN: How about the journals?  Is that also an important part?

MG: Certainly.  I’ve now been published in Monthly Weather Review, Journal of Climate, and the Bulletin of the AMS.  Having access to them is quite important, being able to relate to people that are in those journals and the editors of those journals and the people that are writing the articles.  Again, though, I think it does come back mainly to those personal connections that I’m able to make by coming to the AMS.

I spent about 15 years at the Bermuda Weather Service as a forecaster and then was in the Ph.D., and then I ended up becoming the director of the Bermuda Weather Service.  Through that position I had interactions with colleagues in the Caribbean that all met as a part of WMO meetings and what have you.  One of the nice things that was always facilitated was a joint effort by the WMO and the AMS to host this meeting when it was convenient and when they were going to be in a similar region, to co-locate those meetings.   Also that the AMS has played a big role in fostering those international relationships at the annual meeting, as well, so that there is always a forum for the groups in the Caribbean and Latin America to come and meet at the AMS annual meeting, as well, outside of a formal WMO context.

JN: That’s actually very interesting to hear because that’s a point that doesn’t come up very often because after all, people are talking about the AMS. 

MG: Yes.

JN: So the international piece gets left behind a little bit.

MG: I think, given the timing of this meeting, it’s unfortunate that this year it’s not co-located with the WMO Hurricane Committee because I think you would have gotten more of this type of interaction from my former colleagues in the Caribbean, as well.  So maybe at the next AMS annual you’ll have a chance to talk with some of them.

JN: Well, we do what the Program Committee tells us to do.

MG: Great, OK.  You can tell them from me. (laughter)

JN: All righty, this is now immortalized.  Thank you.  Thank you very, very much, and thank you for stopping in.

MG: Thank you very much.