Message from the CMOS President: Alternative Congress & Virtual Sessions

– By Kimberly Strong, CMOS President and Professor & Chair, Department of Physics, University of Toronto –

Dear CMOS Friends and Colleagues,

Over the last two months, we have all had to adjust to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and CMOS is no exception. In March, we monitored the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation on a daily basis, and on April 3, we decided to cancel the 54th Congress, which was scheduled for May 24-28 in Ottawa. This decision was based on the recommendations of local, provincial, and federal governments and public health agencies regarding actions needed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect our communities. It was made in collaboration with the Local Arrangements Committee (LAC), the Scientific Program Committee (SPC), the CMOS Executive and Council, and the Delta Hotel.

Photo of Kimberly Strong new CMOS Vice President on the Executive Committee in the Toronto Centre

However, the annual CMOS Congress is an important event for maintaining connections within our scientific community, with 350 abstracts submitted this year. Wanting to continue with some event for our members, we explored options for a virtual format and received enthusiastic support for moving the Congress online. An alternative Congress will therefore take place over three weeks from Monday, May 25 to Thursday, June 11, 2020. We worked with convenors to create an online forum consisting of 16 virtual sessions spread out over those three weeks. These sessions cover a broad range of topics related to the Congress theme of “Building Societal Resilience to Changing Weather, Climate, Oceans and Environment”.

The Congress website has been reconfigured to support the new format, and the revised program can be found there. The sessions will be hosted by their convenors and will be live-streamed, primarily using Zoom. There are no fees associated with joining this online event, but all participants must register on the Congress website; registration will provide access to all virtual sessions. The new format adopted this year will be an experiment for CMOS, one that we hope provides useful lessons for adding a virtual component to future Congresses.

In addition to the scientific forum, the CMOS Annual General Meeting is scheduled for June 23, 2020 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm EDT. All CMOS members are welcome to attend via this Webex link and the meeting documentation will be made available in this Google Drive folder. The AGM is an important meeting for CMOS, one where members receive Annual Reports from Executive members, Committees, and local Centres, and discuss and vote on By-Law changes, the budget, and policy issues. This year, we will be presenting the CMOS member Code of Conduct after a period of consultation that began at last year’s AGM. Because we are unable to hold the traditional CMOS Banquet, this year’s recipients of CMOS prizes, awards, and fellowships will also be announced at the AGM in conjunction with a press release. We look forward to highlighting the excellent contributions the winners have made to the fields of meteorology and oceanography.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of the LAC, the SPC, the Ottawa Centre, CMOS staff and Executive, and our session convenors for the tremendous effort that they have put into organizing the 2020 CMOS Congress, both the original version and the subsequent alternative format. Even though we will not be able to meet in person this year, we will still have an excellent scientific program.

I look forward to seeing you online at the alternative Congress and at our Annual General Meeting!

AGM, Congress 2020, Kimberly Strong, virtual

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