|Volume 57 (4) — October 2008
50 years ago ...
The October 1958 issue of the Bulletin contained articles entitled “Agricultural meteorology”, “A world hydrological organization?”, “The role of WMO in hydrology”, “Heat balance of the surface of the Earth” (a long article by M.I. Budyko which addressed the climatology of the heat balance and some of the problems) and covered International Geophysical Year, activities of regional association and of technical commissions, and collaboration with other international organizations.
There is no human activity which is not profoundly affected by weather and climate. That weather has a major control over agriculture and crop production has been known ever since man evolved from the hunter into the farmer. The farmer knows that his crop production is a gamble on the rains and on other weather factors like temperature and wind. He has ever watched the skies anxiously for symptoms of coming weather so that he can plan and prosecute his farming operations in consonance with the expected weather.
Agricultural meteorology deals with the various problems of crop growth and out-turn in relation to the environmental factors, i.e. the weather factors and their time sequence during the growing season. These same environmental factors also affect the many crop diseases and pests and thus bring about a further indirect control over plant growth and yield.
The agricultural experiments recently conducted at experimental farms under expert supervision have confirmed the great importance of the influence of the seasonal variation from year to year. In fact, the variability of crop yields due to weather is found to be of the same order as the variability induced by all the other controls, such as variety, manure and cultural treatments, put together. Again, the acreage sown to crops is known to depend to a considerable extent to weather prior to and during the sowing period. So, just as botany, entomology and chemistry have fundamental contributions of a permanent kind to make to agriculture, so also has the science of meteorology.
In many countries that are primarily agricultural, the official organizations to look after agricultural research ad its applications to practical agriculture and the effect of weather on crops have originated from the incidence of recurring famines due to large-scale failure of the rains. However, in the initial stages, the weather bureaux have confined attention to the organization of networks of weather telegraphing observatories for developing the synoptic weather maps required for predicting the large-scale weather changes from day to day. On the other hand, agricultural statistics of areas sown and yield per acre have been reputedly unreliable, based as they were on subjective visual estimates of revenue officials whose main purpose was the assessment of land tax. So, though climatic data have been accumulated in some counties over a series of years, these relate to what may be called the macroclimate. We now know that while macroclimate conditions crops, crops too within their own environment control the microclimate, each type of plant community developing its own characteristic deviations from the climate of the open. It seems clear that it is the microclimate that actually controls crop-growth as well as the incidence and intensity of pests and diseases.
And it is only of late that objective, statistically sound techniques of random sampling have been adopted for estimating crop acreages, crop growth and yields.
The importance of setting up suitable organizations for the systematic investigation of weather in relation to crops began to e realized early in t his century and the International Meteorological Organization constituted a Commission of Agricultural Meteorology (CAgM) with the object of encouraging these studies in all countries.
After two world wars the nations have come to realize that food is indeed a major world problem. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), as well as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, have taken considerable interest in the problem of maximizing food production in all parts of the world and are collaborating with CAgM in discussing problems of agricultural meteorology and cognate subjects. For the systematic collection of special climatological records side by side with observations of crop growth and yield, CAgM has prepared detailed technical regulations for use by all interested countries.
It will be realized, of course, that the actual research work and development of this borderland subject has its own history punctuated by the outstanding pioneer contributions of individual scientists and their collaborators. We will now consider some typical or outstanding contributions by way of examples and try to indicate roughly on what lines important developments have taken place and finally suggest in what directions future efforts may be directed.
The investigations of Schmidt and Geiger on the influence of slopes, city environments, forests and the like have become classical. Geiger’s book The climate near the ground will ever remain a standard reference on these topics.
In the tropics and sub-tropics the present writer and his collaborators in India have brought out some interesting features of the microclimates of different tropical crops and the way in which temperature and moisture vary inside crops with height and time of day and from simultaneous measurements in an open space. The significant influence of crops at their canopy stage in developing thermal inversions even during day-time, when the canopy takes over the functions of an active surface in place of the bare ground of the open, has also been investigated.
Reference must also be made to the outstanding contributions made in micrometeorology by O.G. Sutton and his collaborators, which have considerably enriched knowledge in a field which is sure to be of immense benefit to those concerned with the war against harmful insects and diseases which sometimes appear in an epidemic form. Sutton’s masterly treatment of these problems in his book Micrometeorology may be referred to here.
The moisture factor
The study of the air layers near the ground has naturally led to several critical studies on the diffusion of water vapour, carbon dioxide and other gases and vapours occurring in the atmosphere. In particular, the vertical diffusion of water vapour from the ground and from lakes and reservoirs sets an important limit to the water resources that may be available for agriculture. It should be emphasized that, of all the factors affecting crop growth, the moisture needed by plants for the transpiration process and the associated transport of essential nutrients to the various parts of the growing plant is perhaps the most important. The vital need for conserving water resources for maximum uses in food production for the world’s growing population will be obvious. Of late, attempts are being made to check water loss by evaporation by spreading monomolecular layers of organic substances like cetyl alcohol over the large water surfaces of lakes and reservoirs.
The soil moisture available to plants, methods of subsoil irrigation, warnings as to when the next irrigation should be given to a crop, these and other allied topics are under active investigation in many countries.
The pioneer investigations of Thornthwaite, Penman and others have indeed emphasized the urgent need for developing precise experimental techniques for computing evaporation and evapotranspiration. Rapid progress in this direction is at present being made at many centres of research. Thornthwaite’s concepts of evapotranspiration and potential evapotranspiration are indeed proving very fruitful in current researches on the water requirements of crops and attempts are being made in some countries to tell the farmer when the next irrigation is due. The need for development of a portable and simple but reasonably accurate instrument to enable the farmer and the irrigation engineer to measure soil moisture quickly and thus find out when the next irrigation is due has been emphasized by WMO. In India, the Council of Agricultural Research has offered a handsome prize for such an instrument. At Poona, Momin has been developing such an instrument which is based on the dependence of the thermal diffusibility of the soil on soil moisture.
Ramdas and co-workers have shown that under conditions when the soil surface contains only hygroscopic moisture, this surface and the air layers above it exchange water vapour between them, the soil giving up moisture by evaporation during the day, and the air layers yielding moisture to the soil surface by invisible condensation and occasionally as dew. These are now recognized as secondary sources of moisture to living plants.
It is well known that plants respond best to an optimum dose of water. So long as wilting does not set in during a prolonged drought, a timely irrigation may still revive a withering crop. And just as in the case of other factors, too much water and continuous flooding would be as disastrous as a prolonged drought.
Living plants thrive best at an optimum temperature of about 30-35°C. We have seen that the environmental temperature is conditioned by the microclimate which in turn depends on the heat and moisture balance of the pant community in relation to solar radiation. Below freezing point we have killing frost, which is one of the greatest dangers to agriculture. Temperatures approaching the lethal value 45°C and above, which cause wholesale withering of crops, do sometimes occur.
Usually, however, a healthy standing crop itself provides a certain shielding effect from the heating effects of solar radiation. This is well illustrated inside a crop like sugar-cane, particularly after it has developed a canopy in the later stages of the crop’s growth.
Over bare ground, the solar radiation has its full effect and the surface of the ground becomes the source of heating by day and of radiative cooling during night. It is, therefore, the active surface. As soon as a crop begins to grow, the ground begins to transfer some of this activity to the screening vegetation and ultimately to the canopy if one is formed by the crop. Under these conditions the diurnal variation of temperature is considerably reduced inside the crop, while humidity retains comparatively high values owing to the isolation of the trapped air inside the crop. …
Solar radiation and photosynthesis
As is well known, the Sun sustains all forms of life on the Earth. The injurious ultraviolet radiation from the Sun is cut off by atomic oxygen and ozone in the upper atmosphere while a fraction of the incoming radiation is also diffused by the atmosphere. What reaches the surface of the Earth provides sufficient energy for sustaining the thermal balance at the Earth’s surface. Wherever the Earth is covered by plants, a small fraction of the incoming visible solar radiation is utilized by plants for photosynthesis—the process by which plants extract solid carbon from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in the presence of moisture. Considering that photosynthesis plays a vital role in plant growth, it is surprising that ordinarily plants utilize not more than one per cent of the incoming visible radiation. Obviously, great headway has to be made in increasing the utilization of solar radiation. This potential source of energy for increasing plant growth can be utilized only by algae grown in depth in an aquatic medium. Some of those algae are considered to be edible and may thus supplement the depleted food resources of the Earth.
It is now generally agreed that past data of crop acreages and out-turns are far from accurate so that it is heartening to note the improvements now being made in the estimation of crop yields by crop-cutting experiments in sampling surveys. These data will provide information which could be correlated with the climatic records. Simultaneously, many counties have begun to set up networks of crop-weather stations for estimating crop growth and yield and concurrent meteorological data in sufficient detail so that all environmental factors are recorded during the life history of the crop. While the micrometeorologist and microclimatologist have made considerable contributions of late in improving the type of environmental information that has to be recorded, the agriculturalist, aided by the statistician, also simultaneously developed efficient techniques for estimating crop growth ad yield by random sampling. …
Obviously, one of the aims of science is to be able to predict future events from past information. Governments are anxious to obtain c crop forecasts, well ahead of the harvest, based on the previous crop and environmental conditions in different parts of a country. Crop forecasting based upon these relevant factors, would be most valuable in planning the production and distribution of food and in assessing the probably income of the financial year. There is still considerable headway to be made in this field but meanwhile a provisional forecasting based upon the existing methods is being practised in many advanced countries. Future developments in crop-weather statistics and crop-weather relations will surely lead to considerable improvement in crop forecasting.
The course of climatic factors during a growing season is by no means as simple and regular as may be suggested by their normal or average values. In any single year these factors deviate at random from the normal values. The weather may change so abruptly and with such violence as to damage or destroy growing crops. It is the duty of agricultural meteorologists to prepare frequencies of various adverse weather phenomena that affect growing corps for the different critical periods of each crop’s life history. The weather forecasts have a very eminent role to play in trying to make available to the farmer weather forecasts and warnings as far ahead as possible so that the farmer may be in a position to prepare against possible dangers. Weather forecasts for the farmer will surely develop side by side with the progress of weather forecasting as a science and in the not very distant future it is likely that weather forecasts a week or fortnight ahead may become possible. Medium-range forecasting is at the moment under investigation in many countries
The recent progress of agricultural meteorology enables one to envisage many new developments in the future. The methods being adopted in respect of annual crops may find application an extension to the problems of horticulture and forestry. We have already mentioned possible developments in medium-range forecasting. Then there are problems relating to the maximum utilization of water resources which deserve very high priority.
Weather in relation to animal husbandry also deserves to be explored and developed in the years to come. These problems are naturally more complex and difficult but they deserve early consideration. And then what bigger task can the scientists take up than the study of man in elation to his own environment?
What bigger boon can the scientist give to the farmer than warning against large-scale infestation by disease and pests? One need remember only the invasions by locusts and cereal rusts over large tracts of the world to be reminded of the importance of these problems.
Enabling plants to avoid risks due to drought and frosts by producing resistant varieties is the task of the plant breeder. Fort his purpose as well as for other detailed investigations on crop-weather relations it is likely that work with plants in control chambers, the values of the relevant environmental factors varying from chamber to chamber, is likely to be taken up in many countries, This may help to provide insight into phenomena occurring at random or without control in nature.
A world hydrological organization?2
The first intergovernmental organizations created after the Second World War came into being as a result of the need to create conditions permitting—especially from the political, scientific, social, economic and health points of view—the harmonious development of various countries, bearing in mind the diversity of their natural conditions and resources.
The work of the many organizations thus formed led rapidly to the need to ensue international cooperation in connexion with the exploitation of what has been called mineral number 1 – water. At the moment, the water supply in many regions is inadequate to meet the growing needs of domestic and industrial users, irrigation, transport and energy production. On the other hand the irregularity in the distribution of natural water resources leads to catastrophes such as floods, disastrous fluctuations in the water table and recession of glaciers.
I shall not deal here with the historical evolution of the problem of water resource development after the Untied Nations Economic and Social Council had adopted a resolution recommending that the specialized agencies should give special attention to the matter Suffice it to say that the problem covers collection of hydrological data, techniques applicable to river basin development ad domestic, municipal, agricultural and industrial use of water.
Discussions by specialized agencies
… the UN specialized agencies concerned met to discuss the problem … and the general hope was expressed that WMO would do everything possible to encourage the collection and processing of hydrological data, to standardize procedures and, generally speaking, to keep abreast of scientific progress in the field of hydrology.
WMO could obviously clam to have fairly close links with hydrology. Even with its present structure, the work of this organization includes the common ground between hydrology and meteorology, often referred to nowadays as hydrometeorology. On the other hand, it is certain that the whole field of hydrology, which includes surface water (floods, spatial and temporal variations in river flow, sediment transport, limnology, etc.), everything relating to groundwater in the most general sense and even some aspects of snow and ice, is fairly remote from the field of meteorology.
The logical solution to the problem raised by ECOSOC would therefore be to create a World Hydrological Organization. This logical solution, however, has a drawback which is admittedly of major importance, namely that the creation of such a new organization would inevitably lead to expenditure likely to cause hesitation on the part of the nations who would have to support it. Moreover, this disadvantage is also apparent at the national level—witness the number of countries which have combined their meteorological and hydrological services. In other countries, the majority no doubt, a hydrological service as such does not exist; its functions are shared by various administrations, services or organizations which, too often, limit the collection of hydrological data to those which they require for applications related to their own main activities. Countries possessing a service devoted solely to hydrological activities are not very numerous.
Can it be hoped that all these countries lacking a complete and independent national hydrological service (as a result of financial reasons which can easily imagine) would accept the creation of an international organization dealing solely with hydrology? It is much more likely that preference would be given to the idea of adding hydrology to the field of one of the existing organizations, amongst which WMO must certainly hold first place.
Role of IASH
But let us return for a moment to IASH. How did its members interpret the Rome resolution of 1954?
Some of them thought at that time that IASG could be the world organization dealing solely with hydrology, thus providing a solution to the problem raised by the ECOSOC resolution. I consider that is no doing these members overlooked certain fundamental aspects of our Association and its aims. It must be remembered that IASH is a scientific association belonging to a scientific union. We read in the first articles of its statutes that:
“The purposes of the Association are:
(1) To promote and develop the study of hydrology;
(2) To encourage, facilitate and coordinate research and investigation, particularly in those aspects of the subjects which require international cooperation;
(3) To arrange for the discussion, comparison and publication of the results of these investigations.”
Can these purposes related to investigation and research be interpreted to include the “collection of hydrological data” envisaged in the ECOSOC resolution?
The answer to the latter question becomes more obvious when viewed in the light of the working arrangements between WMO and the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG). The latter reserves for itself the scientific aspect (“WMO will be guided by its recognition of IUGG as an international forum for the advancement of meteorology as a science”), but it allocates to WMO “the primary responsibility for the international organization of meteorology, for the furthering of its application to all human activities and for the promotion of meteorological research and training, through intergovernmental cooperation”.
This text clearly limits the fields of responsibility of the two bodies. The only comment which might be made is that it only relates to the field of meteorology. On the other hand, if we adhere to the spirit of these working arrangements and reason by analogy, it is certain that IUGG cedes the organization and routine aspects to WMO.
IASH is not a governmental organization. Its representatives in the various countries are scientists belonging to a national committee, which is usually responsible to an academy of a scientific institution of that type. It must be admitted that they often have very limited means of exerting pressure on their governments in order to obtain the adoption of any particular measure. Moreover, in many countries, the dispersion of hydrological responsibilities at the national level in various governmental departments, as mentioned above, makes the possibility of universal adoption of the proposed measure at the national level extremely doubtful.
We have carried out and are still carrying out inquiries requesting information from countries belonging to IASH. The success of such requests has usually depended on personal contact based on friendly relationships, unlimited patience and continuous work, the extent of which is not always realized. It is certain that a governmental organization would have other means at its disposal.
The foregoing considerations have led me to the following two conclusions:
(a) IASH, a non-governmental association with statutes limiting its activity t the scientific aspects (investigations and research) of our problems, could hardly meet the requirements of the ECOSOC resolution;
(b) The existing governmental organizations wished the problem to be solved by WMO and it is very doubtful whether a new governmental organization responsible for hydrology would be accepted.
In these circumstances I felt obliged to participate in the exchange of views which WMO desired to have with IASH. I therefore agreed to act as the IASH representative on a panel created by WMO to study the question ad I was of the opinion that the problem should be solved in the case of hydrology as it had been for meteorology, namely that WO should in effect become the World Meteorological and Hydrological Organization.
It goes without saying that were WMO to accept the responsibility foreseen in the ECOSOC resolution, IASH would willingly act as adviser and consultant on the hydrological aspects of the various problems. In other words, the two organizations should collaborate as closely as possible. Although this official stage has not yet been reached, we welcome WMO’s assistance in the establishment and distribution of our hydrological bibliography. Similarly, it was with satisfaction that IASH received WMO’s support in its efforts to ensure that clearly defined evaporation measurements would be carried out during the International Geophysical Year. It was the same voluntary collaboration which led WMO to participate in the work of the IASH Committee on Precipitation.
We can see that the way has already been opened and we can expect this collaboration to be extremely fruitful.
Doubts of hydrologists
Before closing, however, I feel obliged to confess that this whole question has given rise to a certain amount of feeling, I might even say a vague anxiety, amongst hydrologists. To express this rather bluntly, hydrologists would not like their science to be dealt with as subsidiary to meteorology.
I should like to repeat once again and to stress that hydrometeorology is only a part (and not the most important one) of hydrology. That which I have called the whole field of hydrology must not be reduced to the role of an accessory. Hydrologists should feel themselves, in all respects, to be working side by side with the meteorologists. Their fear of a different standing is perhaps the result of the fact that, generally speaking, their national organizations do not possess the unity and cohesion of the meteorological organization and also that meteorologists possess within
WMO the advantages, if not the rights, of the first occupant.
It is essential that from the very beginning action should be taken in such a way as to show hydrologists that their fears are unfounded.
In closing, I must apologize for the length of my statement. I wanted to explain the whole background of this question and to express very freely our hopes—and perhaps also our fears—for the future. I know that the present leaders of WMO will do everything possible to dissipate these fears and to ensure that the collaboration between IASH and their Organization will lead to the fruitful results which we now anticipate.
The role of WMO in hydrology
The viewpoint of a meteorologist
In recent issues of the WMO Bulletin information has been given on the various proposals for increasing the activities of WMO in hydrology. The object of this article is to review some of the arguments for and against the proposals from the viewpoint of a meteorologist.
The first concern of the directors of meteorological services will be that WMO continue to function properly in meteorology. Can WMO support the additional load of hydrology at a time when meteorology is expanding rapidly, not only in its existing branches but in entirely new fields of interest? What effect will the added task have on such pressing WMO projects as developing standards for observations up to the 10 mb level and for transmission of data for numerical forecasting? Will WMO still be able to offer the proper guidance in improved forecasting methods, expanded climatological studies and development of electronic instrumentation?
WMO has always operated on a small budget, by making use of the active aid of Members sincerely interested in furthering meteorology. Can this effective scheme of operation be maintained if hydrology joins the WMO family?
At present only a few countries have a unified national hydrometeorological service. For these countries, the unification of interest at the international level is clearly logical and beneficial. In most countries, however, hydrology is the responsibility of one (or several) agencies separate from the meteorological service. In federated States, it is not unusual to find that hydrological activities are left to the individual states. This division of responsibility at the national level gives rise to serious problems with regard to any proposal for international unification. Who shall represent his country in WMO—a meteorologist or a hydrologist? Will the proper functioning of WMO in either field be assured in the representation is diversified? Can WMO maintain its character as the international meteorological organization if hydrology is included in its programme? Will the essential homogeneity of the organization be lost by the introduction of a new discipline?
These questions and doubts are important and must certainly be answered to the satisfaction of the meteorologist before unification is possible or even desirable. The answers must be equally acceptable to hydrologists if a unified organization is to be successful. What then are the arguments for increased hydrological activity in WMO?
Need for international collaboration
There is no doubt that international collaboration n hydrology is indispensable. The world is becoming steadily more conscious of its water problems. Water must be provided to grow more food, to meet the demands of industry and to supply human needs. The development of the underdeveloped countries cannot be accomplished without enormous increases in their water sue. At the same time, the pollution of streams, the damage and loss of life from floods, and water of water either to the sea or by excessive evaporation must be diminished or eliminated entirely. In arid zones, particularly, new sources of underground water must be located, evaluated and intelligently exploited.
The proper development and use of water resources requires basic data, skilfully interpreted. Two key items in the water balance of an area—precipitation and evaporation—have long been the responsibility of the meteorological service in most countries. If a single international organization (other than WMO) is to be responsible for hydrology, then WMO must be prepared to give up its role in connexion with precipitation and evaporation. I am sure that no meteorologist would be prepared to do this, just as he would not surrender aviation meteorology to the International Civil Aviation Organization or agricultural meteorology to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Confronted with this alternative, the meteorologist finds a strong argument for inclusion of hydrology in WMO. Similarly, the hydrologist’s interest in many other phenomena of meteorology encourages him to accept the same conclusion. This similarity of interest also ends to dispute the argument that inclusion of hydrology in WMO will dilute its homogeneity. In fact, discussion at the Second Congress and in various technical commissions suggest that, in reality, meteorology in itself is far from homogeneous. In many ways the climatologist and agricultural meteorologist will feel closer to the hydrologist than the aviation forecaster. Certainly, the hydrologist engaged in river forecasting will have common ties with the weather forecaster.
Repercussions within WMO
Naturally the inclusion of new functions n WMO will retard growth of existing functions unless appropriate adjustments in budget and staff are provided. This means that if WMO accepts the responsibility for hydrology it must accept the added cost 9estiamted at 15 per cent of the present budget). It must be noted that this is certainly far less than the cost of an entirely new organization, and in view off the importance of hydrology to the world a remarkably small sum in total.
There seems to be no reason why the present procedural methods of WMO which have worked so well for meteorology should not serve hydrology equally well. The necessary technical commission(s) of hydrologists would have to be created and supported but the great similarity between the international problems of hydrology and meteorology would seem to assure the effectiveness of this approach.
The lack of unity at the national level creates a potentially more serious objection to international coordination than do the other arguments Nevertheless, this problem is one which has been met and solved successfully in other instances. UNESCO, for example, represents a diverse field of interest. Many countries have created national committees for UNESCO in which all interests are represented. This committee advises the permanent representatives on appropriate action at congresses and other meetings. Similarly, in the case of WMO, each country will have to designate its permanent representative as it see fit but he must have the support and advice of a national committee representing both meteorological and hydrological interests. With good will, such an arrangement should be harmonious and effective. Indeed it may have, in the long run, great advantages to both meteorology and hydrology as a result of increased cooperation and understanding at the national and international levels.
Whether WMO will take over all of hydrology as recommended by the Panel of Experts on Water Resource Development or will share some of the responsibility with other international agencies as suggested by the tenth session of the Executive Committee remains to be decided. There are certainly strong arguments for bringing hydrology under one roof. Hydrology is, however, a broad science and inclusion of it in its entirety in WMO creates many problems. The wider field involves greater cost and more staff if a balanced programme is to be carried on from the start. Further, other specialized agencies of UN have long-standing interests which they may not feel they could surrender. Whatever the final decision, meteorology should profit from increased stature in the family of UN and from closer scientific coordination with scientists in a closely related field.
News and notes
Presentation of the third IMO Prize
The third IMO Prize, awarded by the Executive Committee to Ernest Gold, former deputy-director of the British Meteorological Office, was presented on 30 June 1958 in London. André Viaut President of WMO, presented the prize during a ceremony which took place in the historic assembly hall of the Royal Society at Burlington House, Piccadilly, under the chairmanship of Sir Graham Sutton, Director-General of the Meteorological Office. Eminent persons who honoured Mr Gold and his wife by their presence included Lord Hurcomb, President of the Meteorological Committee, Sir David Brunt, Sir Charles Normand, Sir George Simpson and G.M.B. Dobson.
In paying tribute to Mr Gold, Mr Viaut pointed out that throughout his long career his activity had unceasingly been on two levels—although a faithful servant of his own country, he had at the same time constantly endeavoured to promote the international cooperation which he recognized as being essential. Having recalled the various posts which Mr had held and the honours he had received both in Great Britain and abroad, Mr Viaut addressed the following remarks to the recipient: “From the very beginning of your career you have instinctively realized that meteorology—more perhaps than any other science—is essentially international. Clouds and winds completely ignore man’s political barriers and meteorologists constitute one large family. These are the principles which have guided you in giving the full weight of your knowledge and authority to the International Meteorological Organization.”
Mr Viaut then summarized Mr Gold’s international activities and recalled the important scientific investigations which he had carried out. He concluded: “You have invariably been called upon to play the part of a pioneer. This was certainly not by chance, because not everyone can be a pioneer; it is a role which calls for unflagging enthusiasm, convincing powers of persuasion and constant energy and sometimes for what might be called righteous indignation. You have shown that you possess all these qualities and I am sure that I shall have the full support of all my colleagues on the Executive Committee in expressing publicly the respect which you and your achievements have inspired in us.
Having received the prize, Mr Gold replied to the President of WMO, thanking him for having come personally to London for the ceremony. In his speech, made partly in French, Mr Gold said how pleased he was to have participated in the introduction of a meteorological code which had become universal and as a result of which, from China to Chile, from Spitzbergen to Shackleton and from Virginia to Vladivostok, the number 65 signified for everyone continuous heavy rain.
Award to M.I. Budyko
Readers of the Bulletin will be interested to hear of the announcement on 22 April 1958 of the award of the Lenin Prize to M.I. Budyko, a member of the CCl Working Group on Derived Climatic Elements, who is director of the Main Geophysical Observatory of the USSR in Leningrad. The Lenin Prize is awarded for outstanding technical and scientific work and for achievement in the arts. Only 10 awards were made on this occasion in the scientific section and Prof. Budyko is the first meteorologist to be thus honoured.
Prof. Budyko has been engaged primarily in studies of the heat balance of the Earth’s surface. Methods developed from the result of his studies have been applied to the solution of various agricultural problems and his conclusions have led to the establishment of a new map of the climatic regions of the USSR.
News from the WMO Secretariat
In previous issues of the Bulletin we have given brief accounts of the work of different sections of the WMO Secretariat but so far no mention has been made of the all-important work of the Finance Section.
By way of introduction, it may be useful to recall that WMO is financed by the annual contributions of Member Governments according to a scale laid down by Congress. The main ask of the Finance Section is to prepare the annual accounts which have to be submitted to the Executive Committee and to Members. This involves the maintenance of individual Contribution and Working Capital Fund accounts for each member; General Fund accounts for all budget transactions, including receipts from the sale of publications and miscellaneous sources; budget control accounts, individual accounts for all meteorological services, universities, booksellers, airline and shipping companies, and other purchasers of WMO publications; separate accounts for the IGY Meteorological Data Centre, the Technical Assistance Unit and the IMO Prize and Contingency Funds. Bank accounts are maintained in Geneva, New York, Paris and London and the payments and receipts of the organization involve transactions in many currencies.
Since the establishment of the Finance Section as part of the Administrative Division in 1951 under E.H. Cook, the volume of work to be handled has increased very rapidly and it was recently decided to make the Section responsible also for the sale and distribution of publications. The staff now consists of a second accountant, a machine operator, a secretary and two distribution/invoice clerks. The expansion of the financial activities of WMO has now justified a change-over to a mechanized system of accounting. An accounting machine was recently installed and all the accounts were transferred to the new system as from 1 July 1958.
Finally it must be mentioned that the Finance Section makes al the travel and financial arrangements for WMO staff and representatives and plays an important part in the preparation of the annual budget estimates submitted to the Executive Committee by the Secretary-General, as well as the budget estimates for each financial period submitted o Congress.
Readers will recall the report in the last issue of the Bulletin of the laying of the foundation stone of the new Secretariat building. It is hoped that some progress will be made this year in the actual building operations; in the meantime accommodation difficulties in the temporary premises of the Secretariat have again increased and it has been necessary to rent additional offices in the nearby Centre international at 1-3 rue de Varembé. The Investigations and Publications Sections of the Technical Division have been transferred to this new accommodation, together with the WMO Technical Assistance Unit.
2 Editor’s note: This article is contributed by L.J. Tison, Secretary-General of the International Association for Scientific Hydrology of IUGG. His views on the machinery necessary for ensuring international cooperation and coordination in hydrology will, it is thought, be of interest to readers, in view of WMO’s increasing activities in this field. Mr Tison is also a member of the WMO Panel of experts on Water Resource Development.