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Elliot Abrams
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Paul A. Hirschberg, Elliot Abrams, Andrea Bleistein, William Bua, Luca Delle Monache, Thomas W. Dulong, John E. Gaynor, Bob Glahn, Thomas M. Hamill, James A. Hansen, Douglas C. Hilderbrand, Ross N. Hoffman, Betty Hearn Morrow, Brenda Philips, John Sokich, and Neil Stuart

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) Weather and Climate Enterprise Strategic Implementation Plan for Generating and Communicating Forecast Uncertainty (the Plan) is summarized. The Plan (available on the AMS website at www.ametsoc.org/boardpges/cwce/docs/BEC/ACUF/2011-02-20-ACUF-Final-Report.pdf) is based on and intended to provide a foundation for implementing recent recommendations regarding forecast uncertainty by the National Research Council (NRC), AMS, and World Meteorological Organization. It defines a vision, strategic goals, roles and respon- sibilities, and an implementation road map to guide the weather and climate enterprise (the Enterprise) toward routinely providing the nation with comprehensive, skillful, reliable, and useful information about the uncertainty of weather, water, and climate (hydrometeorological) forecasts. Examples are provided describing how hydrometeorological forecast uncertainty information can improve decisions and outcomes in various socioeconomic areas. The implementation road map defines objectives and tasks that the four sectors comprising the Enterprise (i.e., government, industry, academia, and nongovernmental organizations) should work on in partnership to meet four key, interrelated strategic goals: 1) understand social and physical science aspects of forecast uncertainty; 2) communicate forecast uncertainty information effectively and collaborate with users to assist them in their decision making; 3) generate forecast uncertainty data, products, services, and information; and 4) enable research, development, and operations with necessary information technology and other infrastructure. The Plan endorses the NRC recommendation that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and, in particular, the National Weather Service, should take the lead in motivating and organizing Enterprise resources and expertise in order to reach the Plan's vision and goals and shift the nation successfully toward a greater understanding and use of forecast uncertainty in decision making.

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Neil A. Stuart, Gail Hartfield, David M. Schultz, Katie Wilson, Gregory West, Robert Hoffman, Gary Lackmann, Harold Brooks, Paul Roebber, Teresa Bals-Elsholz, Holly Obermeier, Falko Judt, Patrick Market, Daniel Nietfeld, Bruce Telfeyan, Dan DePodwin, Jeffrey Fries, Elliot Abrams, and Jerry Shields

Abstract

A series of webinars and panel discussions were conducted on the topic of the evolving role of humans in weather prediction and communication, in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the founding of the AMS. One main theme that arose was the inevitability that new tools using artificial intelligence will improve data analysis, forecasting, and communication. We discussed what tools are being created, how they are being created, and how the tools will potentially affect various duties for operational meteorologists in multiple sectors of the profession. Even as artificial intelligence increases automation, humans will remain a vital part of the forecast process as that process changes over time. Additionally, both university training and professional development must be revised to accommodate the evolving forecasting process, including addressing the need for computing and data skills (including artificial intelligence and visualization), probabilistic and ensemble forecasting, decision support, and communication skills. These changing skill sets necessitate that both the U.S. Government’s Meteorologist General Schedule 1340 requirements and the AMS standards for a bachelor’s degree need to be revised. Seven recommendations are presented for student and forecaster preparation and career planning, highlighting the need for students and operational meteorologists to be flexible lifelong learners, acquire new skills, and be engaged in the changes to forecast technology in order to best serve the user community throughout their careers. The article closes with our vision for the ways that humans can maintain an essential role in weather prediction and communication, highlighting the interdependent relationship between computers and humans.

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