From the User Executive Committee (UEC) Chair

Published: 22 March 2024

The ARM User Executive Committee (UEC) is eager to engage with you. This is a message from UEC Chair Jennifer “Jen” Delamere.

Check out summary report of October 2023 UEC meeting

Jen Delamere talks with Mike Ritsche, Jim Mather, Connor Flynn, and Yunyan Zhang in front of ARM radars and lidars at the Southern Great Plains Central Facility.
During the User Executive Committee’s October 2023 meeting, those of us who attended in person got to tour ARM’s Southern Great Plains Central Facility. I am standing to the right, talking with Mike Ritsche, Jim Mather, Connor Flynn, and Yunyan Zhang. Photo is by Adam Theisen, Argonne National Laboratory.

Every time I write a blog for you, the ARM community, I try to craft a witty start to a 500-word discourse. I knew my topic for this blog was the announcement of our new report, “Summary of October 2023 ARM User Executive Committee Meeting.” This time, however, I couldn’t find wit, only a sense that it shouldn’t have taken me six months to draft this report. The best-laid plans of mice and men. … Well, heck, where did that phrase I’ve said many times come from? The actual phrase is “The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men / Gang aft agley,” from a gem of a 1785 poem by Robert Burns, “To a Mouse.” Not understanding the Scottish dialect, I found a translation using Google: “The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Not witty, but at least you have a tidbit to take away!

COVID left many of us stranded in a virtual world in 2020 and 2021, the return from COVID in 2022 left us unsure, and now we all have our best-laid plans in between Zoom meetings, emails, and Slack messages. In contrast to our collective, frenetic pace, I found the UEC trip to the ARM Southern Great Plains (SGP) atmospheric observatory, “a laboratory without walls,” to be just right. I so enjoyed seeing the cows grazing on the prairie grasses, the collection of cloud types, and, more so, my UEC colleagues. We spent two days just talking ARM and science, with an evening at El Patio Mexican Grill and Cantina in between. Our summary report reviews our topics of conversation and provides links to presentations and UEC blogs.

My takeaway is that the members of the UEC are diverse in what we study and how we do it, but we do not diverge in our commitment to ARM. I want to convey to the ARM community that you can ask any of us a question, and we will provide an answer or at least direct you to the appropriate person. If you have a concern to share, we will listen. It is our job to introduce ourselves to you, and at our October 2023 meeting, we came up with some innovative ways to do that. For example, ARM could use a stepped approach to communicate details about the user facility, including the UEC, to the community. Levels of information and engagement could be tuned to the nature of engagement of users (e.g., ordering data, accessing computing resources, and conducting campaigns) to enhance users’ experiences while engaging with the facility. Our four subgroups continue to generate recommendations for ARM, and you will learn about the newest recommendations in the meeting summary report and a series of upcoming blogs written by the UEC subgroup chairs.

To the 2025–2026 UEC members who have yet to be elected, we are planning your introduction to the UEC, ARM, and its partnerships with the Atmospheric System Research (ASR) program and beyond. Many UEC members have never visited an ARM site, and we don’t all know each other when we begin our UEC terms. Our October 2023 meeting represented the first time some UEC members had visited the SGP or any ARM site. As UEC Vice-Chair Mike Jensen points out, “There are many different ways scientists engage with the ARM facility and the data that is collected.” To that, I type: “Thanks, Mike! With the outcomes from this workshop and your upcoming leadership, the 2025–2026 UEC will be in good hands.”