To be more specific: I found out a few weeks ago that I’ve been awarded the Royal Meteorological Society‘s (RMetS) Michael Hunt Award, which is “for excellence in increasing the understanding of meteorology or its applied disciplines among members of the general public”. Get me!
And don’t worry, I’m sure it wasn’t given to me for this blog, which has only rarely been updated in the last year or so – I blame having kids and my change from postdoc to lecturer, which have occurred since I started blogging. I also do other outreach/public engagement things like school visits, Skeptics in the Pub talks, science festival events and wotnot. It’s usually a lot of fun and to get an award for doing it is great!
Oddly enough, though, my previous post on this blog was slightly critical of a recent RMetS Meeting on climate change communication; I’m glad that they didn’t hold that against me!
So, to continue that theme, I thought I’d make another couple of points about RMetS and how it communicates with the outside world…
I know that they run events in schools and at science festivals, which is great.
The previous RMetS Chief Exec had a blog for a while (it was quite fun, I enjoyed the posts about his watch) and it’s now become a more general society blog but I think that there’s still room in the weather and climate blogosphere (ugh, never though I use that word seriously) for coverage of big issues. For example, The Carbon Brief has only been going since 2011ish and it has become an excellent resource. Whilst I suspect that RMetS want to keep it a bit more light-hearted, there’s still some low hanging fruit here that I’m sure RMetS could grab. Even the columns in the (recently departed) “theWeather” magazine would have made excellent blog posts that I’m sure would get widely read but they were never (as far as I know) made available online.
I loved “theWeather” magazine and it even won an award or two but, given the way that publishing and reading habits are changing, perhaps it wasn’t the time to launch a subscription only print magazine.
I just hope that the RMetS can find more of a place online where most people do their communicating these days, particularly in terms of climate change. (Whether that’s a good thing is another matter!)
What I would do is set up a network of early career meteorologists, climatologists, oceanographers etc. to run a collaborative blog on the RMetS website. One of the most interesting and exciting things I’ve done outreach-wise was the EPSRC-funded (now EPSRC-non-funded) NOISEmakers ambassadors scheme. It was great meeting up with scientists that you wouldn’t normally work with and discuss ideas (perhaps a little bit like the JASONs but not as serious!) In my case, this led to writing some nice general audience pieces, starting my own blog, networking with other people about communication and even working on papers and research proposals with people I met through NOISEmakers.
Finally, I also thought I should find out who Michael Hunt was and found this clip on youtube, you can see Hunt at 3.39, he’s got a good look!