American Meteorological Society cancels in-person annual meeting

AMS was planning an in-person meeting for the meteorological community in Houston, Texas, later in January. Image: AMS

The American Meteorological Society (AMS) announced today that it is canceling the annual in-person meeting scheduled for this month in Houston, Texas, citing ongoing pandemic concerns. The 102nd Annual Meeting consisting of sessions, public meetings, short courses, posters, exhibits and side events goes completely virtual this year. However, the 21st Annual AMS Student Conference will remain a hybrid meeting, where attendees can participate in person or remotely on January 22-23.

In a statement released today, AMS wrote: “The 2022 Comprehensive Planning Committee and staff worked tirelessly to ensure a safe environment at the conference in Houston for those who felt the level of risk was acceptable. . However, with the rise of the Omicron variant (which is expected to peak at the same time as our annual meeting), we have had a growing number of key individuals and organizations (volunteers, staff, presenters, attendees, vendors, universities). , and government organizations) necessary to support and contribute to the quality of the in-person meeting choose to participate in the annual meeting remotely. It is now clear that we will not have the critical mass of on-site expertise to deliver the component in person nor the participation necessary to provide a quality face-to-face meeting at the level we all expect. Therefore, we came to the difficult conclusion of focusing our attention and resources on a fully virtual annual meeting and hybrid student conference. “

The AGU reports on a COVID outbreak that occurred during its fall meeting earlier this month in New Orleans.  Image: AGU
The AGU reports on a COVID outbreak that occurred during its fall meeting earlier this month in New Orleans. Image: AGU

Another high-level conference that many attend in addition to the AMS event is now dealing with their own outbreak of COVID. The AGU Fall 2021 meeting for the American Geophysical Union was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, December 13-17. According to an update released by AGU on December 31, the last day they tracked infections, 94 fully vaccinated conference attendees tested positive for COVID-19. The AGU required that each individual be fully immunized if they were at the New Orleans Convention Center (NOCC). This included AGU staff, NOCC staff and security; they also demanded masks in the NOCC since they rented the entire facility.

One of the largest conferences in the country in January also sees a large number of people and companies cancel their participation. The Consumer Electronics Show 2022, or CES 2022 for short, now takes place in Las Vegas, Nevada, January 5-7. Some of the biggest names in tech have canceled plans to attend the event, including T-Mobile which was scheduled to have its CEO speak at the event.

“After careful consideration and discussion, T-Mobile has made the difficult decision to significantly limit our in-person attendance at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show,” the company said in its statement, also posted on Twitter. “While we are confident that the CES organizers are taking comprehensive measures to protect attendees in person and that we have also implemented many preventative practices, we make the safety of our team and other attendees a priority with this decision. “

T-Mobile has joined Amazon, Meta (Facebook), Pinterest, Twitter and iHeartRadio in canceling their plans to participate in this event.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA) which runs CES 2022 decided to end its event a day earlier due to concerns over COVID.

The CES also welcomes meteorologists and companies presenting weather-related technologies. In 2019, IBM used CES to unveil its new weather forecasting model. Weather stations, weather radios and household electronics that work due to the weather or weather forecast are often featured at the electronics fair.

IBM used CES2019 to unveil its latest model of weather forecasting.  Image: Weatherboy
IBM used CES2019 to unveil its latest model of weather forecasting. Image: Weatherboy

All of these events have COVID-19 security protocols for their attendees. The AGU required that all participants be vaccinated and wear masks at all times, with the exception of podium speakers who were given the option to remove their masks. Although everyone is vaccinated and masked, COVID continues to grow. CES 2022 requires all guests to be vaccinated and wear masks; Earlier this week, they also announced that attendees must have negative COVID test results within 24 hours of attending a CES event. CES 2022 is providing COVID test kits to event attendees.

Another major scientific conference has decided to cancel their January 2022 event altogether. The 239th meeting of the American Astronomical Society has decided to cancel their in-person event scheduled for January 9-13 before the end of 2021. A statement released by the AAS last week said, “The AAS Board of Directors voted unanimously to cancel the in-person component of the 239th AAS meeting. The rapid increase in the COVID-19 Omicron variant and the health risks it poses to our staff, attendees, exhibitors and contractors, as well as the likely spread of the virus from attendees to other after the conference were considered too great a risk to hold the meeting. Additionally, international and institutional travel restrictions have already impacted some of our speakers and attendees, severely limiting their ability to travel to Salt Lake City. We also received and evaluated community feedback regarding the cancellation of the in-person meeting, with the majority in favor of a cancellation. Most of the people who submitted comments also thanked the board for listening and many recognized the difficult decision they have to make and expressed their support for the board.

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