My biggest problem with Azimuth is that I don't have enough time to spend working to serve it.
My suggestion is to focus on the process and let go of some of our expectations about what the results will be.
What we have here is the kernel of a rather remarkable, interdisciplinary scientific community. The goal of understanding climate change is a North Star. But there are many stars in the sky; the celestial sphere is one whole, painted with constellations.
The many sciences, and mathematics, support each other, and are part of one Science. So, sure, there's always the question about where to focus one's energy, but let's not get carried away with dichotomies.
Let's keep on building this community, through the means of projects such as the El Nino investigation. By increasing the number and diversity of our participants, we will be increasing the fertility of our discussions and adding to the potential energy of a movement for science that really matters. We can't know what the participants of the future will do or say, but we can work on building a forum for them today.
There are a lot of dots to be connected in order to achieve a greater level of planetary scientific awareness.
We can each pick our spots and work from there. I have no expectation for myself to tackle any significant problems in climate science. My spots are (1) the foundations of applied mathematics, with emphasis on stochastic processes, and (2) the data and knowledge infrastructure for scientific understanding. These areas are relevant and connected to the enterprise of climate science, and that is enough for me to feel a sense of place at Azimuth. One day I hope that we can expand to the point where we are directly and actively collaborating with environmental researchers, on the forum and elsewhere.
I also believe that with the expertise and talent that we have already concentrated here, we have the capability and the opportunity to make a real contribution to science education; if, for example, we ever decided to work on a textbook or an organized series or book of blog articles. I'm pretty sure that we could give the material a lot of color and life. This would be another way of doing service for the community; it could widen our recognition in the public sphere, and perhaps lead to further recruitments of researchers and other folks. To my mind, this deserves to be an ongoing and permanent project of the Azimuth group, which today is primarily spearheaded by John on the Azimuth Blog.