ICAM Photo

History of ICAM

As early as 1950, Mario Bossolasco of Italy convened an International Conference dealing with the scientific aspects of meteorology in the Alpine region in a broad geophysical sense. After the second and third realization in Austria (1952) and Switzerland (1954), the other Alpine countries France, Germany, and (then) Yugoslavia continued the bi-annual sequence until the 26th realization took place in 2000 in Innsbruck (Austria). Following an unwritten rule the national meteorological service of the country in charge undertook the planning and staging of the conferences, which grew over the years to a full 4.5 day scientific event. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) regularly supported the conferences and sent observers.

After the turn of the century, increased trans-Atlantic cooperation in the field of mountain meteorology called for a better phasing-in with the Mountain Meteorology Conference (MMC) of the American Meteorological Society (AMS). A more formalized steering committee was inaugurated, for which concise terms of references were drafted by MeteoSwiss, as this service was to stage the next event in Switzerland. The ICAM was shifted by nine months from September in even years to late spring of the following odd one, while AMS agreed to stage their MMC in the intervening even years. This initiative resulted in the sequence 10th MMC in Park City (Utah, 2002), 27th ICAM in Brig (CH, 2003), 11th MMC in Bartlett (New Hampshire, 2004), 28th ICAM in Zadar (Croatia, 2005), 12th MMC in Santa Fe (New Mexico, 2006), 29th ICAM in Chambéry (France, 2007), 13th MMC in Whistler, British Columbia (Canada, 2008), and the 30th ICAM in Rastatt (Germany, 2009).

Starting in 2004, scientists from other European countries with a strong interest in mountain meteorology (e.g. United Kingdom and Iceland) expressed their intent to host a future ICAM in order to provide an extra stimulus for Mountain Meteorology in their home country and to pay back some of the hospitality which they could enjoy at past ICAMs. At its 5th session in Santa Fe, the Steering Committee charged their chairperson (Evelyne Richard) and the vice-chairperson (Hans Volkert) to draft an adapted form of the terms of reference, which allows the number of ICAM countries to change in a suitable fashion. The new terms of reference were confirmed at the 7th ISC in Whistler, Canada in 2008. Under the new procedures, the United Kingdom was adopted as the 8th ICAM country at the Whistler meeting.