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AMS 2010: A slow start

Olive Heffernan

My coverage of the American Meterological Society conference has gotten off to something of a slow start, after a series of unfortunate incidents. In short, the experience has all been a bit Copenhagen-esque (though not the fault of the organisers, in this case). I spent most of Saturday (about 8 hours in total) sitting in a plane on the tarmac at Heathrow Airport, waiting to find out whether it would in fact leave for Atlanta. Firstly, there was a fuel leak that needed fixing; by the time it had been fixed, the crew had gone two minutes over their allocated working hours, so we had to wait for another crew to arrive. By the time they arrived, international immigration in Atlanta had closed. So following an unpleasant stay at an airport hotel, we got a rescheduled flight the next day. That flight was also delayed, but only by an hour or two. I finally arrived in Atlanta more than 40 hours after leaving my home in London.

The upside of the delay in getting here is that my first day in Atlanta is Martin Luther King Day, and people are celebrating and singing in the streets. I couldn’t ask for a better introduction to the city.

But the downside is that I’ve missed Weatherfest – the public weather and climate science festival – and sadly, the film ‘Cloudspotting’ by the Cloud Appreciation Society, which I was really quite pysched about. The AMS had been covering these events over on its own blog, The Front Page, so you can follow them there until I get up and running. I’m going to try to track down the Cloud Appreciation Society people here during the week and I’ll be covering the Warren Washington Symposium on Thursday, an event named in honour of the veteran meteorologist and includes many ‘legends of climate science’ on the bill. Washington himself was one of the founders of modern climate modelling and has advised five US Presidents on climate system modelling through his participation in numerous committees and societies, such as AMS, which he was president of in 1994.

Other than that, I’ll be dipping in and out of sessions and keeping you posted on interesting events during the week. More later.


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