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Recently, I received a thick envelope from a longtime AMS member I have never met. Inside, a short message explained that he was enclosing some notes on observations he made while a military forecaster in the early 1960s. The notes covered forecasting techniques for tropical disturbances that were useful in those days before we had the sort of numerical guidance we are all used to today. I was struck once again--as I have been frequently when reading about forecasting techniques from the couple of decades following World War II--by the ingenuity of the forecasters of that period. They poured over the limited datasets available to them and extracted every ounce of information they contained. Through many long hours of immersion in the data, they gained a bit more understanding about how the atmosphere works, and that knowledge was used to improve the services on which others depended. The member who sent me this information followed his military experience by pursuing a master's degree, and his thesis laid a theoretical foundation for some of his operational observations.

I have been thinking a lot about how there are thousands of stories like this from over the past century. In each case, the individual might be seen as simply doing his or her job, but in our community that often translates to a passion that digs a little deeper, looks for clues others might have missed, or finds ways to use new observations or techniques to extend our knowledge. That passion translates to moving the science, application, technology, or service a little bit further. For most, that work will not rise to the level of receiving a major award from an organization like AMS, but it plays an important role in moving the community forward all the same. In some cases, it may possibly be essential in laying the groundwork for a major breakthrough that occurs some years or decades later.

Our Centennial year is a great time to reflect on how all these contributions across the breadth of our global community over many years have taken our science and services to the current level of benefit to society. We have reached incredible levels of success by building on the thousands of incremental advances (and perhaps a few hundred more major ones). The Centennial Monograph, available through the AMS website as an open-access publication, chronicles the scientific advances across the many subdisciplines making up the AMS community. And the Centennial web pages, also available through the main AMS website, include many stories from individuals reflecting on their personal path, showing the very human side of what drives those advances. Both make for fascinating reading, and if you have not yet contributed your story, I encourage you to do so.

Keith L. Seitter, CCM

Executive Director

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Author:Seitter, Keith L.
Publication:Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Article Type:Column
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2019
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