Hans Kaper discusses ASLI award received at American Meteorological Society annual meeting
The Atmospheric Science Librarians International (ASLI) selects three books every year for the ASLI Choice Award. To be considered, the books must meet nine specific criteria, which refer to the topic area, the clarity of the exposition, the relevance for the atmospheric sciences community, etc. This year there were 40 nominations, 20 did not meet all nine criteria. Our textbook "Mathematics and Climate," which was published by SIAM in October 2013, was the 2014 ASLI's CHOICE "for its accessible explanations in key areas where climate and mathematics meet." According to Christine Sharrett (MIT), the chair of the selection committee, the vote was unanimous. Two other books selected for an award were a historical account of the tornado that hit London in 1938 and a historical/technical book about radio waves and their application in atmospheric science. The awards were presented at the annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society (the "other" AMS) in Atlanta, February 5, 2014. We got a very nice plaque, with the citation, and SIAM received a certificate.
We had brought two display copies of our book, one for the ASLI booth and another one for Cambridge University Press (which is the distributor for SIAM in Europe). Both were on display, with a stack of order forms. I don't know whether any orders resulted, but we were told by Jinny Nathans (founder of ASLI) that our book received more interest than any of the others. So, that is all good news.
My colleague and co-author Hans Engler had to go back to DC after the event, but I stayed overnight and joined the ASLI group for dinner at Pittypat's Porch, famous for the movie "Gone with the wind." Southern-style cuisine served family style.
The next day I watched some spectacular demos (there was a large industrial component in the exhibit hall) and attended several talks. The choice was difficult, because there were many parallel sessions, often supplemented by poster sessions. This was a really big meeting. with at least 10,000 participants. The organization was quite different from what we are used to, it was more a collection of meetings organized by the 31 activity groups under the AMS umbrella. There were no plenary sessions, only plenary sessions organized by and for the various activity groups.
I attended interesting talks on plumes in urban environments, climate change adaptation and droughts, climate change adaptation and policy planning and tools, and a talk by Kathryn Sullivan, the Acting Undersecretary for Commerce, on the NOAA perspective of Extreme Weather, Climate, and the Built Environment. I also visited a fair number of posters.
I was struck by the fact how much closer these people are to the "real" world when it comes to climate change. They deal directly with fishermen, water managers, and first responders, to name a few, to find out what they know, whether they have any plans for adaptation, any success stories, etc. Sure, there was also a lot of science, not so much modeling as collecting data and doing statistical analysis. Our attempts to get closer to stakeholders are nothing compared to what I heard and saw at the meeting.
Another thing worth mentioning is that people have essentially given up on "mitigation" of climate change; now it is all about "adaptation." A scary thought to finish on.