Terms of Reference

Background:

 In too many instances, fatalities, injuries and unneeded property losses are occurring from extreme weather, water and climate disasters. Former FEMA Director Craig Fugate is well known for saying, “There are no natural disasters, only human-made ones.”  That is due to how and where structures are built and what society is willing to accept as “good enough.”  Examples include mobile and manufactured homes becoming detached from its foundation due to inadequate anchoring, or a weakened garage door exposing the interior of a single family home due to high winds, buildings being inundated by storm surge, and being built near floodplains that didn’t flood in the past, but are flooding now. And, building “firewise” structures in communities at risk of wildfires.  Extreme climates and climate events also require different methodologies to lead to climate resilient communities.  What works in the desert southwest doesn’t necessarily translate to the high plains.  The Weather Enterprise invests billions of dollars to ensure the public receives accurate, timely warnings, but without adequate thought to weather, water and climate impacts on construction, the societal outcome can still be tragic and economically devastating.   

Purpose:

The Board on Enterprise Strategic Topics (BEST) has identified the need and opportunity to collaborate with the engineering community.  While the interactions have also been there, they were not integrated into our community in a sustainable way to lead to long lasting change. To strengthen community resilience against extreme weather, water, and climate events, an “end-to-end” approach is needed, which includes the AMS fully embracing the contributions and research of the engineering discipline.

Goal:  

To increase awareness and share best practices within the weather, water and climate enterprise on how to build greater community resilience to weather, water and climate disasters. This includes looking at the structural engineering research and best practices, better understanding societal barriers that exist, and increasing knowledge of policies related to building for resilience. This would include promotion and development of preparedness and call to action messaging, connecting research and development opportunities across all relevant disciplines.

Activities:  

The Ad Hoc Committee on the Engineering of Resilient Communities will lead the following AMS activities:
Identify the many ways that buildings are impacted by weather, water and climate events and how design standards may change in the future

Consider outreach and discussion with other AMS Boards/Committees that have related interests (ie.  Committee on Emergency Management, Climate Services Committee, Societal Impacts Board)

Identify/provide outreach content on best practices and tools for building resilient communities.

Pursue opportunities toward AMS Statements focused on the role of resilient engineering to combat loss of life from such weather hazards as tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, and other types of extreme weather.

Determine improved methods of public messaging to the value of resilient engineering such as tornado shelters, anchoring of manufactured homes, hurricane shutters and other construction recommendations.

Compile existing resources for outreach/education purposes, and make recommendations for needed resources for outreach/education purposes

Identify R&D partnering opportunities with an interdisciplinary approach across all relevant sciences.

Share lessons learned and best practices within the AMS community forums and through webinars for all members to have an increased awareness of the issues and potential resources and solutions available.  

Organize relevant sessions for the AMS Annual Conference Symposium on the Weather, Water, and Climate Enterprise
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Committee Structure:  

The Ad Hoc Committee on Resilient Engineering will be structured as follows:

Will be a temporary “ad hoc” Committee, reporting to the Board on Strategic Topics (BEST).

Will have a two-year “ad hoc” designation upon which the BEST Chairperson(s) will recommend to the Commissioner whether or not to terminate the committee or present to the AMS Council justifying its change to full committee status.
Will consist of six (6) to fifteen (15) professional members including the Chairperson(s).

Professional membership terms (nominally) will consist of three (3) year terms with 1/3 typically rotating off the Committee each year

Membership terms will begin immediately upon approval by the Commissioner of this ad hoc committee and again each year at the AMS Annual Meeting.

Membership shall represent the three (3) community sectors (e.g. private/commercial, government and academic) as well as membership from related sciences. At least one student member is also encouraged.

Candidate committee members will be nominated by the Committee Chair and approved by the BEST Chair and the Commissioner of the CWWCE.

At the discretion of the Chair, with BGS Chair and CWWCE Commissioner consent, a Committee member who does not participate in Committee activities for a period of twelve or more months can be removed and a replacement named.

The Chair, shall be an ex officio non-voting member of the BEST. This designation of non-voting may change if/when the Committee becomes a full committee.