Nigam returns to AMS Climate Committee as Chair

More than a decade had passed since ESSIC / AOSC Professor Sumant Nigam last served on the American Meteorological Society (AMS) Committee on Climate Variability and Change (CCVC). Nigam not only returned to the committee earlier this year, but did so as its chair, seeking to enhance its role in advancing the climate science activities of the American Meteorological Society.

The CVCC is 1 of 30 AMS Scientific and Technological Activities Commission (STAC) committees and is comprised of roughly 12 scientists. Appointments to the committee are staggered, meaning 3 to 4 scientists are appointed annually for terms of 3 consecutive years. The committee also includes two graduate students, each in advanced stages of climate study and research.

The mission of the CVCC is to serve as both an authority on climate and to promote climate research, forecasting, and information. Committee members accomplish these objectives by advising the AMS Council and members, nominating scientists for AMS fellowships and awards, and facilitating interaction between AMS committees, international organizations, and scientists in various climate subdisciplines.

Nigam’s past tenure with the committee was in fact a key factor in his selection, according to Keith Seitter, the executive director at AMS.

“Dr. Nigam is a very well-respected scientist and his exemplary (CVCC) service made him an excellent choice for chair,” Seitter said.

As an atmospheric and oceanic science (ASOC) professor at the University of Maryland, as well as an appointee at the university’s Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC), Nigam conducts research on atmospheric circulation, climate variability mechanisms, and interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere. He utilizes results from his research to benchmark the performance of climate models and to develop strategies for their improvement.

Nigam feels that one of his most notable responsibilities as CVCC chair is to identify qualified members for the organization’s key tasks.

No single AMS task is perhaps more visible than the organization’s annual meeting, where the CVCC committee will organize the Conference on Climate Variability and Change, a 4-day long conference with a variety of sessions, featuring both member and honorary guest lecturers, and with many of the world’s leading researchers in attendance. Nigam is hoping to make the next Conference being held in Phoenix in January 2015 a special one.

“I want to make this upcoming conference an attractive one,” Nigam said. “I’m thinking of new ways to do this, including adding a few named sessions to both honor seminal contributions of senior colleagues and to draw in the next cohort, and making the meeting a little more interactive in real time.”

For ESSIC Director Professor Antonio Busalacchi, the willingness of researchers like Nigam to accept community appointments is a key factor in sustaining the scientific research process.

“An appointment like this is testimony to one’s standing in the field,” said Busalacchi. “While it requires a tremendous amount of time and dedication, fora such as the AMS CVCC play a vital role in communicating the new and emerging directions in our science.”