Terms of Reference

Scientific inquiry in Southern Hemisphere meteorology and oceanography has expanded considerably over the past 50 years beginning with the International Geophysical Year of 1957/8 and continuing into the International Polar Year of 2007/8 owing to:

  1. increasing numbers of observations of the Southern Hemisphere particularly with respect to the ocean environment;
  2. the importance of the generally data sparse Southern Hemisphere to climate and meteorology knowledge has been underscored by recent increases in ocean observing systems (e.g., Argo floats, Indian and Atlantic moored arrays, Southern Ocean monitoring, etc.) coupled with recent advances in ocean modeling.
  3. the increased availability of remotely observed data by satellite; and
  4. operational implementation of Southern Hemisphere and global numerical weather prediction models that has resulted in significant improvements in forecasting in both hemispheres. The vast differences in land-sea distribution cause pronounced differences in the atmospheric and oceanic circulation in the two hemispheres. These differences are especially evident in the overall general circulation, the annual cycle, and in the role the stationary and transient features play in fulfilling the momentum, energy, heat, and moisture budgets of each hemisphere. The two hemispheres are closely linked by a wide spectrum of atmospheric and oceanic interactions so that advances in the knowledge of the meteorology and oceanography of one hemisphere will be of obvious benefit to understanding and predicting the weather and climate of the other hemisphere. In addition, the differences of the lower boundary features of the Southern Hemisphere can be used to provide a check on theories and models developed specifically for the Northern Hemisphere. Given the unique nature of the Southern Hemisphere, dominated by oceans, there are strongly overlapping problems associated with the monitoring and forecasting of weather and climate.

Thus, by default, Southern Hemisphere Meteorology is treated as a research subfield of Meteorology, and this is embodied in projects such as the Southern Hemisphere THORPEX project [see http://www.wmo.ch/pages/prog/arep/thorpex/documents/Shem_THORPEX_fin4.pdf]. Advances in knowledge can be most effectively attained by scientific cooperation among meteorologists and oceanographers from different countries with a common interest in global meteorology and oceanography. The AMS has an important role to play in facilitating the exchange of information and ideas, and in acting as a liaison with other national and international organizations to help disseminate new developments.

The concerns of the Committee on Meteorology and Oceanography of the Southern Hemisphere cover a wide range of topics and research interests, including the following:

  1. compilation of reliable observational datasets for the Southern Hemisphere troposphere, stratosphere, and oceans, to facilitate optimal utilization of satellite measurements and to assess the impact of observing systems;
  2. analysis and forecasting, and predictability of the flow in the Southern Hemisphere;
  3. description, theory, and interpretation of the general circulation and regional phenomena of the Southern Hemisphere;
  4. interrelationships between Northern and Southern Hemisphere circulations; 
  5. the role of Antarctica, the southern oceans, sea ice, and ice sheets in global climate;
  6. climatic fluctuations over the Southern Hemisphere; and
  7. Southern Hemisphere atmospheric chemistry.

The charge of the committee is the following: 

  1. to foster the advancement of scientific knowledge of Southern Hemisphere meteorology and oceanography;
  2. to foster and facilitate the exchange of information and ideas on Southern Hemisphere meteorology and oceanography;
  3. to serve as a communications channel with other national and international organizations;
  4. to encourage and support AMS sponsorship of conferences, symposia, and works