Interview of the month: Irish Meteorological Society

Interview with Declan Murphy, President of the Irish Meteorological Society (IMS)

Declan Murphy, President Irish Meteorological Society

EMS LC: If you were to describe your society in one sentence, what would you say?

IMS: We are a broad-based society relying on voluntary effort from weather and climate enthusiasts.

EMS LC: When was IMS founded?

IMS: The Society was founded in 1981.

EMS LC: What are the objectives of IMS?

IMS: The promotion of an interest in Meteorology, and the dissemination of meteorological knowledge, pure and applied.

EMS LC: Could you explain the structure of your membership?

IMS: We are open to membership from anyone with an interest in weather or climate, including professional meteorologists and climatologists, and researchers, but also members of the general public.

EMS LC: What are IMS’s recent achievements?

IMS: Hosting the annual EMS Conference in Dublin last September was a major achievement for us as a small society. While most of the organisational tasks fell to the EMS professional organisers, the IMS also had a huge challenge in handling the Irish element of the event and in adding social and cultural items to the week. We were particularly pleased that a large number of Irish scientists contributed to the Conference presentations.

We also organised a very successful Conference on the theme of “Windstorms and Hurricanes” on 13 April at the prestigious Royal Dublin Society venue. The theme (with the intriguing title of “The Wind that Shakes the Island”) was inspired by the high public interest following the impacts on Ireland of Hurricane Ophelia last October and Storm Emma in February.

EMS LC: Where do you see the greatest challenges?

IMS: Probably our greatest challenge as a Meteorological Society is to position the Society to be recognised as an important and respected forum for debate and information provision on a range of weather and climate issues but particularly climate change. In doing so we would aim to focus debate on sober scientific analysis and respect for all views. Recent successes such as the Conferences will, we hope, give us a platform upon which to achieve this aim.

EMS LC: Which activities are you planning for the coming months?

IMS: Our programme of free monthly evening talks will continue with the topics for May and June being “Grand day for it”: how forecasting as conversation can speak beyond weather and climate” and ‘A 305-year continuous monthly rainfall series for the Island of Ireland (1711–2016)’

We will have a field trip to Ballyhaise Agricultural College and Meteorological Station in May and we will organise a Conference on “Weather and Sailing” in November, in association with the Royal Institute of Navigation.

EMS LC: Are you collaborating with other EMS Members?

IMS: No active collaboration at present; we have occasional contact with the UK Royal Meteorological Society and general intentions to organise some joint activity with them.

EMS LC: What do you expect from the EMS? In what ways can it help you to develop your activities?

IMS: We consider that the sharing of information and ideas for activities between the member societies is a very useful activity that the EMS should facilitate.

EMS LC: What have been your most successful events in the last three years?

IMS: Hosting the EMS Conference in Dublin (September, 2017)

Conference on Windstorms and Hurricanes, Dublin (April, 2018)

Conference on Meteorology and Aviation, Dublin (December, 2016)

Maintaining an active programme of evening talks and annual field trips over the period.

EMS LC: What changes do you believe your society needs to make?

IMS: We would like to increase membership numbers to enable us to be more ambitious in our activities. A particular change we would like to see is reaching out more to areas outside of Dublin.

EMS LC: Thank you very much for the interview!