Royal Meteorological Society

THE ROYAL METEOROLOGICAL Society is a British charity whose mission is to "continue to be a world-leading professional and learned society in the field of meteorology. It will encourage and facilitate collaboration with organizations that are active in Earth Systems Sciences. It will serve its professional and amateur members and the wider community by undertaking activities that support the advancement of meteorological science, its applications and its understanding." A Council and its committees are responsible for running the society, within the constraints of the Royal Charter.

The Council comprises a total of 21 officers and ordinary members of council elected at the annual general meeting. The president, elected for a two-year term, is supported by a vice-president for Scotland and three other vice-presidents, the treasurer, general secretary, four journal editors, four main committee chairmen and Ordinary Members of Council. The Council convenes five times a year to consider applications for membership and supervise the running of the Society through its Honorary Officers, Committees and permanent staff. The work of the Council is largely organized by the recommendations made by its Committees. The society staff are based at the society's headquarters in Reading where committee meetings are normally held. The society's patron is HRH The Prince of Wales. Its membership in 2006 consisted of more than 3,000 members worldwide.

The Royal Meteorological Society is the national British society for all those individuals whose profession or interests are in any way connected with meteorology or related subjects. It controls the national qualifications of the profession and, under its royal charter, follows its mission to advance meteorological science. The society intends the terms meteorological science in their broadest meaning which includes its day-to-day application in weather forecasting and in disciplines such as agriculture, aviation, hydrology, marine transport and oceanography, as well as in the areas of climatology, climate change, and the interaction between the atmosphere and the oceans. The society publishes the results of new research and provides support both for researchers and professional meteorologists and also for those whose work is connected to the weather or climate and for those who have a general interest in environment and the weather. The membership of the society thus includes a variety of figures: professional scientists, practitioners, and weather enthusiasts. Associate fellows may be any age and do not require any specific qualification in meteorology. Fellows normally require a formal qualification in a subject related to meteorology plus five years experience and must be nominated by two other fellows. The society has a number of regular publications: the monthly magazine Weather, the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, Meteorological Applications, and the International Journal of Climatology and Atmospheric Science Letters.

The society was established in April 1850 with the name of the British Meteorological Society, and was later incorporated by Royal Charter in 1866, when its name was changed to the Meteorological Society. The privilege of adding 'Royal' to the title was granted by Her Majesty Queen Victoria in 1883. In 1921, the society merged with the Scottish Meteorological Society.

In 1995, the Royal Meteorological Society developed a set of atmospheric dispersion modeling guidelines to encourage good practice in the use of mathematical atmospheric dispersion models, stressing the importance of selecting the most suitable modeling procedures and of fully documenting and reporting the results of modeling assessments. The 1995 guidelines provided broad general principles of good practice for modeling studies applying across a wide range of modeling situations. The UK Atmospheric Dispersion Modeling Liaison Committee (ADMLC) commissioned an upgrading of the 1995 guidelines to take into account the new developments in modeling techniques. The updated guidelines were completed and published in 2004.

The Royal Meteorological Society has specific resources on global warming for teachers and for educational purposes. The society has acknowledged that global warming is taking place and that it is the result of human activity. Yet, one of its former presidents, Chris Collier, and one of its leading researchers, Paul Hardaker, complained in 2007 about catastrophism and the "Hollywoodization" of weather and climate that only work to create confusion in the public mind. They argue for a more sober explanation of the uncertainties about possible future changes in the Earth's climate so as not to undermine scientists' credibility.

According to both Collier and Hardaker, several organizations, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), have overplayed the evidence that the phenomenon of global warming is causing short-term devastating impacts.

sEE ALso: United Kingdom; Weather.

BIBLioGRAPHY. Royal Meteorological Society, www.rmets. org (cited November 2007); Michael A. Toman and Brent Sohngen, Climate Change (Ashgate Publishing, 2004).

Luca Prono University of Nottingham

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