The Societal Applications Symposium: Ten Years of Growth, and Predictions for the Next Ten Years (Core Science Lecture)

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Monday, 5 January 2015: 11:30 AM
226AB (Phoenix Convention Center - West and North Buildings)
Gina M. Eosco, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; and K. E. Klockow, R. A. Peppler, and H. Lazrus

Ten years ago marks the beginning of a new AMS journey, the creation of the first ever Symposium on Policy and Socio-Economic Research. Taking place in Atlanta in a small, oddly shaped room, a total of 33 talks were presented. Last year at the 9th Symposium, there were a total of 166 talks given at sessions, joint sessions, and panels. This Symposium has seen rapid growth in the last 10 years, but what has shaped this change? Further more, how has the research in this symposium reflected real-time weather events, marked social change, or captured the success of weather and climate services?

To explore these potential questions, a team of researchers began to work with the AMS Meetings staff to gather all the abstracts submitted to the symposium over the course of the last 10 years. As an initial analysis tool, word clouds and word counts were created to see how themes have changed over the last 10 years. Interestingly, some of the themes show that weather and climate are given uneven attention, but this theme flips in terms of one or the other receiving more mentions. Specific hazards such as hurricanes, tornadoes, or drought, seem to garner more attention some years than others. Named hurricanes, for example, garner more research attention right after they occur, and this is reflected in the abstracts. What's more, however, is that the level of study changes over time. That is, words such as individual, community, region, public, and national trend differently over the last 10 years showing a movement toward publics and community, whereas national was more likely to trend in the earlier years.

Additional analysis will take place and be presented at the AMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix. It is the goal of this study to reflect on how far the Symposium on Policy and Socio-Economic Research has come. From the awkwardly shaped room in Atlanta 2006 to standing room only in Atlanta 2014, to the freshly renamed 10th Symposium on Societal Applications: Policy, Research and Practice to be held in 2015, it is clear that that the American Meteorological Society has taken new meaning to the word “society,” and has fully integrated it into the scientific study of weather, climate, and beyond.