What does the EMS Annual Meeting mean to me?

I think the mark of a really good conference is the fact that I’m already looking forward to EMS2019 in Copenhagen!

Group of Irish delegates at the EMS 2016 in Trieste. Photo credit: E. Gleeson

My first involvement with the European Meteorological Society was in 2012. I became a member of what was then known as the Editorial Board, chaired by Bob Riddaway.I had just spent 3 years as Secretary of the Irish Meteorological Society and regularly contributed articles to the ems-message, the European Meteorological Society’s newsletter. It was a great honour for me to join the Editorial Board thanks to Martina Junge, EMS Secretary. Despite all this interaction, it took until 2016 for me to attend my first EMS conference, held in the beautiful city of Trieste. I had 2 poster and 2 oral presentations at that conference and the friendly, knowledge-sharing, enthusiastic vibe of the event really took me pleasantly by surprise.

Around the same time that I joined the Editorial Board, I submitted a successful bid, backed by the Irish Meteorological Society, to hold the EMS Annual Meeting in Dublin. EMS2017 was held in Dublin and is the largest meteorological conference ever held on the island of Ireland. Having found the conference in Trieste so inspiring, the pressure was on to ensure that the Dublin event matched this. Several colleagues and I, both in Ireland and abroad, submitted suggestions for new conference sessions and became conveners of these; for example, a session on “Radiation, clouds and aerosols” and one on “Phenology”.

Evening trip to Dunsink Observatory in Dublin during EMS2017. Photo credit: L. Rontu.
Evening trip to Dunsink Observatory in Dublin during EMS2017. Photo credit: L. Rontu.

In addition, we became involved in outreach events associated with EMS2017, in collaboration with Paul Halton (EMS Council and Chair of the Local Organising Committee in Dublin) such as a tour of the National Botanic Gardens, a talk on the history of weather forecasting in Ireland and a trip to the historical Dunsink Observatory, where Irish Mathematician William Hamilton, who first described the quaternion number system, once resided. Over 100 delegates from Ireland were among the 800 or so attendees; a record attendance at the EMS Annual Meeting.

At EMS2017 Bob Riddaway was appointed President of EMS and I agreed to take over the chairing of the Editorial Board. The role of this Board changed to incorporate improving communication with and between members. The Editorial Board was subsequently renamed the Liaison Committee.

As Chair of the Liaison Committee, I had the opportunity to attend the EMS Council and General Assembly meetings for the first time at EMS2018 in Budapest which gave me a better insight into all aspects of the EMS. These meetings preceded the EMS Annual Meeting and gave me a new perspective on the week’s events that were about to unfold. Like other years, I presented poster and oral presentations at the meeting and chaired a few sessions (“Radiation, clouds, aerosols” and “High resolution short range NWP including forecaster-developer cooperation”). I also worked with Tanja Cegnar, Chair of the EMS Media and Communication Team, to produce short video interviews with EMS Council members, award winners, local representative and conference participants during the week.

Delegates from Ireland at EMS2018 in Budapest with EMS Secretary. Photo credit: E. Gleeson

Now that I’ve set the scene regarding my involvement with EMS, I can answer my original question. What does the EMS Annual Meeting mean to me? This conference is one of the most inspiring, interesting meetings I have attended. The atmosphere is really invigorating with so many participants eager and enthusiastic to share knowledge and to collaborate. I like the fact that experts from all fields are present and willing to discuss their work with everyone. For example, Professor Dame Julia Slingo mingled with participants right after her inspiring EMS Silver Medal lecture this year . The EMS conference is also an event that sparks off ideas for future projects, collaborations and outreach possibilities. Representatives from many European and global meteorological organisations are in attendance e.g. WMO, EUMETNET, EUMETSAT, ECMWF, private weather companies, technology companies and more. It’s also a great conference to bring you up to speed very quickly on developments across a wide variety of fields, to meet all EMS representatives, journal editors, the Copernicus conference organiser Katrin Kruger and to catch up with colleagues and collaborators around Europe through side meetings and specialised sessions. I really enjoy the wide range of session topics covered by EMS and often wish I could clone myself to attend multiple sessions simultaneously!

By Emily Gleeson, EMS Liaison Committee

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