As price tag of extreme weather soars, a call for strong partnerships to support decisionmaking

April 17, 2015

WASHINGTON - APRIL 21, 2015 - The weather has far-reaching and profound effects on the safety of our communities and the health of the nation's economy.

Extreme weather events have cost the United States more than $1 trillion since 1980, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center. Following the severe winter of 2014-15 in the Northeast, some analysts believe the U.S. Gross Domestic Product may fall as much as 1 percent.

To motivate initiatives that will increase our resilience and reduce our vulnerability to damaging and costly weather events, the American Meteorological Society (AMS) will hold its annual Washington Forum April 21-23, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

The theme of this year's forum is "Applied Decision Support: Meeting User Needs".

The Forum will bring together top private, public and academic sector decision makers leading the nation's efforts in researching, planning for, forecasting, and responding to extreme weather and climate events.

"The demand for environmental data and analysis that informs decisions has never been greater," said Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who will give the Forum's keynote speech. "As America's Data Agency, the Commerce Department's data collection literally reaches from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is taking steps to harness the full potential of its data and evolve the National Weather Service into a more effective agency capable of meeting the nation's growing needs for weather, water, and climate information. In collaboration with AMS Members and other partners, we envision a 'Weather Ready Nation' where our communities and our economy become more resilient and less vulnerable to extreme weather, water, and climate events."

The Forum will address weather impacts on transportation, including how extreme weather events may be degrading our infrastructure of bridges and railways. Speakers will also explore how recent studies show climate change could affect shipping lanes and sea ports, including Arctic ice melt opening the Northwest Passage and how rising sea-levels and destructive tropical systems damage harbor facilities.

Key stakeholders for public health will discuss the challenges and potential solutions for the preparedness of hospitals in the wake of extreme weather events.

As a record-breaking drought plagues California, the leaders of the weather, water and climate enterprise also will discuss interstate and international water rights.
In addition to these panel sessions, participants will hear from leaders of several Federal agencies, congressional staffers, the Expert Witness Training Academy, and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, the Forum's featured dinner speaker.

The AMS Washington Forum provides an opportunity for members of the weather, water, and climate community to meet with senior Federal agency officials, Congressional staff, and other community members to hear about the status of current programs, learn about new initiatives, discuss issues of interest to our community, identify business opportunities, and speak out about data and other needs.

Congressional, White House and federal agency officials will provide an inside look into current programs, priorities and constraints they face as they work with the AMS community to strengthen the U.S. economy using weather, water and climate observations and predictions.

For registration and additional information, visit

About the American Meteorological Society

The AMS promotes the advancement of the atmospheric and related sciences, technologies, applications, and services. Founded in 1919, AMS has a membership of more than 14,000 professionals, students, and weather enthusiasts. AMS publishes 11 atmospheric and related oceanic and hydrologic journals -- in print and online, sponsors more than 12 conferences annually, and offers numerous programs and services.

American Meteorological Society

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