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AGMET, (full title “Joint Working Group on Applied Agricultural Meteorology”) is a group of agricultural and meteorological scientists formed in 1984 to support agricultural meteorology in Ireland.

Over the past 25 years the AGMET group has evolved to include those involved in agro-meteorological activities across state bodies and research institutes throughout the island of Ireland.

From the start, the group was supported by the Meteorological Service and had a very practical focus promoting the transfer of agro-meteorological knowledge to the farm level. The first report of the AGMET group, issued in March 1985 is available here.

As well as playing a key role in developing meteorological services for the agricultural community, the AGMET group activities have included collaborative research projects, the publication of books and the running of conferences and workshops.

The 'Austin Bourke Medal' for Excellence in Agricultural Meteorology
The 'Austin Bourke Medal' was launched by the AGMET Group in 2004 to help promote excellence in agricultural meteorology. This Medal is associated with the late Dr. Austin Bourke, a major figure in the field of agricultural meteorology in Ireland.

Austin Bourke was one of the first Irish Meteorologists recruited by the newly-formed Irish Meteorological Service in 1939. He had a most distinguished career in the Service, including a term as Director of the Service from 1964 to his retirement in 1978. He played a huge part in the establishment of the Irish Meteorological Service as a modern, operational and scientific service.

Over the course of his career, he made a particular mark in agricultural meteorology, with a special focus on potato blight. Austin’s work led to the introduction of a blight forecasting service in Met Éireann, a development which was taken up by many other countries.

He later turned his attention to a study of the Great Irish Famine of the 1840’s and his research into the spread of the potato blight and the influence of the prevailing weather conditions made a significant contribution to our understanding of that period in our history. His ongoing work won him both national and international acclaim. From 1958 to 1962 he served as President of the World Meteorological Organisation’s Commission for Agricultural Meteorology, and he acted as advisor to the Government of Chile. On the home front, he was awarded a D.Sc. (honoris causa) in 1973 for his scholarship in the field of agriculture meteorology and the origins of the Great Famine. Austin Bourke died in 1995.

The Austin Bourke Silver Medal is awarded for long-term outstanding contributions to agrometeorology while the Austin Bourke Bronze Medal is awarded for a specific outstanding contribution.

Austin Bourke Medal Recipients

2004 Inaugural Austin Bourke Medal Mrs. Austin Bourke
2006 Silver Austin Bourke Medal Mr. Tom Keane
2007 Bronze Austin Bourke Medal Dr. John Casey
2008 Silver Austin Bourke Medal Dr. Anthony Brereton
2009 Bronze Austin Bourke Medal Dr. Joanne Fitzgerald

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