August 2008

Fifty years ago

WMO Bulletin Vol. VII, No. 3
July 1958

line

The picture on the cover

coverOne of the most spectacular achievements of the International Geophysical Year (IGY) is the establishment of over 25 meteorological stations on the Antarctic continent through the cooperative efforts of 12 countries. The observations from these stations are transmitted by radio to the Antarctic Weather Central and thence to meteorological services in the southern hemisphere. As a result, the synoptic weather maps being prepared during the IGY of Antarctica and the surrounding oceans are undoubtedly the most comprehensive ever produced; apart from their immediate operational value, they will provide material for research workers who are endeavouring to solve some of the outstanding problems of Antarctic meteorology.

The picture on the cover is a simplified version, supplied through the good offices of the president of WMO, André Viaut, of the synoptic map for 0600 GMT on 7 January 1958, the original of which was prepared at McMurdo Sound. The full lines represent the mean sea-level isobars and the dashed liens are the isohypses of the 85-mb surface. With the IGY approaching its end, may people are wondering if it will be possible to continue this magnificent example of international collaboration in the Antarctic. Proposals have already been made to this effect by a special committee of the International Council of scientific Unions and the matter will no doubt be discussed at he important IGY meeting which opens in Moscow on 30 July 1958, a report on which will be published in the next issue of the Bulletin.

Contents

The July 1958 Bulletin contained articles on meteorology and longhaul civil turbine-powered aircraft operations, emerging needs in development of the world’s rivers, WMO and hydrology, meteorology in Ghana, observational characteristics of the jet stream, and the new building for the central office of the Deutscher Wetterdienst, as well as reports on the 10th session of the Executive Committee, the second session of Regional Association V and activities of regional associations and technical commissions.

WMO and hydrology

Members of WMO were requested … to comment on a proposal, arising from the first session of the WMO Panel on Water Resource Development, that the Organization should accept responsibilities in hydrology similar to its present responsibilities in meteorology. The majority of the Members which replied supported the proposal, the full implementation of which would probably require an amendment of the WMO Convention. Most of the other Members agreed that WMO should increase its activities in hydrology, for example by setting up a Technical Commission for Hydrology, but they felt that this should be done within the scope of the Convention as it now stands.

Second session of the panel

The replies of Members were considered at the second session of the WMO Panel on Water Resource Development, held in the Secretariat from 24 to 26 March 1958. … In clarification … it was stated that in recommending that WMO should accept responsibilities in hydrology, the panel did not wish to imply that the Organization should become involved in engineering work, such as the design of hydraulic structures, nor in the broad-scale planning of water resource development.

With regard to amending the WMO Convention, the panel recommended that, in general, the words meteorology and hydrology should be substituted for meteorology wherever this word appears in the present Convention. To enable the Secretariat to handle the increased workload, the panel suggested that a hydrological unit should be established with a minimum total staff of six persons, to be recruited progressively during the third financial period (1960-1963). It was felt that a 15 per cent increase in the WMO budget, based on the maximum expenditure authorized for the second financial period, would provide a reasonable sum for all the new hydrological activities.

25th session of ECOSOC

… The report refers to the conclusion reached … that “one of the specialized agencies should assume the major responsibility for promoting collection of hydrologic data and dealing with related problems” and that “the specialized agency best equipped to do so is WMO”.

… WMO was invited to take appropriate action on the recommendation that the functions of WMO should be expanded so as to include responsibilities in the field of hydrology. At the same time the UN Secretary-General was requested to establish, within the UN Secretariat, a centre “to promote coordinated efforts for the development of water resources”.

Tenth session of Executive Committee

… There was considerable divergence of opinion as to how far WMO should accept responsibilities in hydrology and it was noted in this connexion that action is being taken … to allocate primary responsibilities between the interested agencies in the field of hydrology. The majority of the Committee believed that WMO should adopt a broad initial approach to this question, bearing in mind that it was difficult to foresee all the possible future relationships between meteorology and hydrology. The Committee finally agreed unanimously to recommend that WMO’s future policy should be that, in addition to those aspects which fall within the common ground of meteorology and hydrology (precipitation and evaporation), WMO should accept responsibilities in all other aspects of hydrology which involve meteorological considerations It was also generally agreed to support the view that a WMO Technical Commission for Hydrology should be established at Third Congress. It was further decided not to make any recommendations to Congress concerning the necessity of amending the Convention. The suggested terms of reference for the technical commission are as follows:

(a) The formulation of observational requirements for hydrology, including location and distribution of stations, times of observation and the units to be used

(b) The formulation of requirements for the international routine exchange and dissemination of hydrological data, forecasts and warnings

(c) The formulation of requirements for the arrangement of climatological data to meet the needs of hydrology

(d) Studies of methods of hydrological forecasting

(e) The development of international standards in hydrology

Collaboration with the Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East (ECAFE)

An example of the way in which WMO is collaborating with other organizations in the field of hydrology is provided by a report, prepared jointly by the Secretariats of ECAFE and WMO, which was submitted to the Regional Technical Conference on Water Resource Development, held in Manila in December 1957. The report was entitled Major deficiencies in hydrologic data and contained information about existing and planned networks of various kinds of hydrological stations in the ECAFE region, from which it was concluded that the number of stations is far from adequate to meet the expanding needs. Suggestions were made for action to remedy the situation and attention was called to the need for well qualified personnel, both for making hydrological observations and for analysing the results of the observations.

New building for the Central Office of the Deutscher Wetterdienst

The formal opening of the new building of the Central Office of the Deutscher Wetterdienst at Offenbach-am-Main took place on 21 April 1958. Representatives of the authorities, of scientific institutions and of technical organizations were welcomed by Mr G. Bell, President of the Deutscher Wetterdienst. The Federal Minister of Transport, Hans-Christoph Seebohm, outlined in his address at the ceremony the historical development of the public meteorological service in Germany and then formally handed over the building to the President of the Deutscher Wetterdienst. The Secretary-General of WMO, D.A. Davies, who also participated in the opening ceremony, expressed the congratulations of the Organization and spoke of the cooperation between the Deutscher Wetterdienst and WMO.

In his historical review, the Minister mentioned that Prussia was the first German Land to possess, in 1847, a public meteorological service. In the following decade the other Länder built up similar services which, in 1934, were combined in the Reichswetterdienst, the headquarters of which were in Berlin. After 1945, the four occupation powers established independent meteorological services within their occupation zones. With the integration of the three occupation zones in the Federal Republic of Germany, efforts were made to untie the zonal services under federal authority. These endeavours resulted in the foundation, in 1952, of the Deutscher Wetterdienst, the different divisions of the Central Office of which were lodged separately at Frankfurt-am-Main and at Bad Kissingen for five years. Now, with the construction of the new headquarters, it has been possible to house them under one roof, together with the Regional Weather Office of Frankfurt-am-Main; the number of officials working in the different sections amounts to about 400. The various sections of the General Division deal with the following items: education, public information, personnel, juridical affairs, budget, aeronautical meteorological service, instruments, aerology, monitoring of radioactivity, library and publications, and international affairs (which includes coordination of all correspondence with WMO).

The Synoptic, Climatological, Research, Agrometeorological and Telecommunications Divisions are responsible for the relevant aspects of regional, national and international meteorology.

It became evident, during the sightseeing tour arranged for the participants at the opening ceremony, that the architect in charge had very successfully combined convenience and fine proportions in the building. The Central Office is situated in about 15 700 square metres of parkland, 3 455 square metres of which are occupied by the main building and the two wide-wings. These two side-wings join the main building, which lies north-south, near its main entrance. Above the eastern side-wing, which lodges the lecture-room and the reading-room, is a hexagonal, air-conditioned, windowless construction for the library which, with its 85 000 volumes, may be certainly be considered to be one of the largest and oldest collections of meteorological literature in the world. The Hollerith room, climatological data archives and cafeteria are housed in the western side-wing. In the Hollerith room a large part of the observational data is continuously entered on punch-cards. The archives contain to date about 16 million punch-cards.

Observational characteristics of the jet stream

At the first session of the Commission for Aeronautical Meteorology, which was held simultaneously with the fourth session of the Meteorology Division of the International Civil Aviation Organization (Montreal, June-July 1954), a recommendation was passed that WMO should issue a descriptive survey of existing literature on the jet stream. The fifth session of the Executive Committee approved this recommendation.

The former president of the Commission for Aerology, J. Van Mieghem, set up a working group composed of R. Berggren (Sweden). W.J. Gibbs (Australia) and C.W. Newton (USA, chairman), to prepare the requested survey. Thanks to the commendable diligence of the members of the working group, a completed manuscript was submitted to the second session of CAe, which was held in Paris in June-July 1957. The commission having recommended early publication of the work, the Secretary-General took the necessary steps to have the survey issued in the WMO Technical Note series and this has now been done. …

Abstract

This report attempts to summarize the principal known characteristics of the jet stream insofar as they are revealed by direct observations and aerological analysis. No attempt is made to discuss theories of jet stream formation or hypotheses relating features of the jet stream to development of weather systems. An extensive bibliography does, however, include papers concerned with those subjects.

The first and second sections deal with definitions, a short historical resumé and with the general characteristics of the wind and temperature fields in the vicinity of the jet stream, as shown by aerological analyses.

In the third section, a discussion of data and analysis problems is followed by a general summary of existing knowledge on the planetary distribution of jet streams. Easterly jets up to around 100 knots are found in equatorial regions above the 200-mb level. Westerly subtropical jet streams are found near 200-mb in both hemispheres, having typical speeds of 100-200 knots near latitudes 30° north and south. These show great steadiness, particularly in winter, and shift poleward and weaken in summer (becoming difficult to identify in summer in the northern hemisphere). Near 300-mb between latitudes 40° and 60° are found jet streams associated with the polar-front zone, which are highly variable in position and do not appear clearly on mean charts. Strongest winter mean winds, in the northern hemisphere, are found where troughs in middle-latitude westerlies dip into latitudes of the subtropical jet stream, these locations being near the east coasts of Asia and North America and over the Middle East. Stratospheric jets, with strongest speeds at 30 km or higher levels, are found in subpolar regions and vary from strong westerlies in winter to moderate easterlies in summer.

The fourth section summarizes the relation of jet streams to synoptic systems. Subtropical jets, in latitudes of the subtropical highs, are not related to frontal systems. Middle-latitude frontal cyclones are related to polar front jets in a general way and waves and longitudinal variations in speed are found on the jet stream, which are crudely related to migratory surface systems. The polar-front jet, however, is often characterized by breaks and on occasions its relation to surface fronts is quite complex. Pronounced fronts extending all the way to tropopause level always have associated jet stream (tending to lie above the 500-mb location of the polar front) but distinctly identifiable fronts are often absent near jet streams.

The fifth section summarizes knowledge on the horizontal variation of wind. Aerological analyses and some aircraft measurements verify that on the anticyclonic side of the jet stream the horizontal shear is limited by the condition that absolute vorticity does not go below zero. For a straight current in middle latitudes, this means the anticyclonic shear does not exceed but frequently approaches a value around 10 m/s in 100 km, corresponding to the value of the Coriolis parameter. On the cyclonic side, shears of two or three times this value are common and shear up to five or six times as great have been observed on occasion. Evidence for marked small-scale variations, based on aircraft reconnaissance, is considered weak; deviations from a smooth velocity profile appear to be at most about 10 knots. Multiple jet streams, each having characteristic widths of 500 km or so, may, however, be found in close proximity to each other.

In the sixth section, the variation of wind in the vertical is discussed. On the average, strongest winds tend to be found about 1 km below tropopause level; this relation is not clear very near the axis of the jet stream which tends to lie in the region of a break between tropopause systems. Statistical studies indicate that on the average vertical shear in middle latitudes tends to vary little with height and average the wind speed drops to about half the maximum value, at levels 5 km above and below the level of maximum wind. Through distinct fronts, the vertical shear is often 15 to 20 m/s per kilometre. In the subtropical jet stream, strong winds may be confined in a shallow layer 100 mb above and below maximum wind level. Problems of wind measurement are discussed and it is concluded that very large and irregular fluctuations of wind speed in the vertical are often fictitious.

The seventh section summarizes knowledge on clear-air turbulence. Such turbulence is observed almost entirely on the cyclonic flank of the jet stream and is commonly observed with pronounced vertical stability. There are indications that turbulence intensity in a given situation varies with direction of flight of an aircraft.

The eighth section discusses some characteristic types of middle- and high-level clouds typical of the jet stream. Results of statistical studies of cloud types, relative to various locations around the jet stream, are discussed.

In the ninth section, a brief summary is given of the practical methods of aerial navigation taking advantage of the jet stream. Effective use of wind forecasts has been made, particularly by aircraft employing in-flight temperature observing techniques, in regions where jet streams are generally associate with polar fronts.

Emerging needs in development of the world’s rivers

A new view of the opportunities and needs for river development has been taking shape among national and international agencies. The streams of the land surface—ranging from great rivers like the Ob and the Mississippi to smaller ones like the Flumendosa and the Cauca—increasingly are seen as suited to integrated development and as requiring international scientific cooperation to achieve their wise use. That outlook is reflected in the recent report of the Untied Nations Panel on Integrated River Basin Development discussed by the Economic and Social Council … It is revealed more concretely in the widespread work of national construction projects and international assistance programmes; in dams in India, in hydroelectric pants in Rhodesia and in land and water surveys in Khuzistan.

This emerging view of the potentialities of water resource development is a product of converging technological, political and economic trends which are at work over large areas of the world. These, in turn, create special needs which seem to call for international organization on a world scale.

Concept of integrated river development

Three lines of thinking and action play a major part in shaping this unfolding view of water resources. First is the concept of integrated river basin development. The idea of orderly marshalling of water resources of entire river basins for multiple purposes to promote human welfare has taken hold in many countries, with the Chinese People’s Republic, India, the USA and the USSR carrying on the larger programmes of construction. Such integrated programmes typically combine several elements. They employ the device of the multiple-purpose dam which stores water to serve two or more purposes. Advancements in techniques of building concrete structures, moving large volumes of earth and transporting electric power economically over long distances have made it practicable to use a single structure like Hoover Dam on the Colorado River or Génissiat Dam on the Rhône River to produce electricity, control floods, promote navigation and supply water for municipal and irrigation purposes. These dams now are planned and operated in systems for entire drainage basins. The Volga Basin in the USSR, the Damodar Basin in India and the Kitakami Valley in Japan are examples of unified basin treatment. Such systems and their accompanying land and auxiliary programmes in many areas are regarded not as ends in themselves but as means of promoting desirable social change.

Although there had been scattered examples of dams or canals which served two purposes such as irrigation and mechanical power, the large-scale application of techniques of integrated river development did not begin until the 1930s. The Compagnie Nationale du Rhône and the Tennessee Valley Authority are among those that pioneered with the idea in areas of different size. Today, there are numerous efforts in the same direction. Some, like the Snowy Mountains scheme in Australia, have major units well advanced toward completion, others like the Tigris-Euphrates projects in Iraq are in mid-stream and still others like the Volta River scheme are in an amorphous planning state. There are indications that such schemes will increase in number over the years immediately ahead in response to social and economic pressures and partly because and partly in spite of international political complications.

World economic growth

A second line of thinking relates to the strategy of water resources regulation in world economic growth. Rapid and gigantic growth of the global population combined with low levels of living prevailing over large areas foster a lively interest in means by which the process of economic development with its associated social changes may be stimulated. River-basin schemes are among the investment possibilities now being canvassed with enthusiasm in many regions. The United Nations survey of the Mekong is an example. It would be a mistake to regard all proposed water construction projects as necessarily sound or timely in aiding under-developed countries to accelerate their rate of economic growth. Some unduly expensive projects may lack social justification. Some heavy capital outlays for dams and canals may be wise at one stage of a country’s development but unwise at an earlier time.

Notwithstanding these cautions, it seems likely that large-scale planning and construction of water projects will be in order in the decades immediately ahead. The pressure for new land through irrigation and for new energy sources through hydroelectric installations will be great. Even accepting optimistic estimates of the spread of nuclear power facilities and of improved farming techniques, many water programmes will be required. The increasing urbanization of the population, which is proceeding faster in Asia and African than in Europe, is placing heavier demands upon streams for industrial water and also is loading them with polluting wastes.

In a unique way river-basin development commands the imaginative interest of peoples around the world as a symbol of efficient utilization of water and land resources. This seems particularly the case in less well developed areas. The UN panel ventured the suggestion that economically attractive river development might claim several hundred billions of dollars in investment in the next forty to fifty years. Outlays on this scale would not seem out of proportion to probable investment and saving rates.

International basins

A third line of thinking has to do with the political conditions in which river development of that magnitude might take place. It is a striking fact … that a large proportion of the world’s rivers are international. Indeed, most of the great streams such as the Amazon, Amur, Congo, Ganges Brahmaputra and Nile drain more than one country. The total number of international steams exceeds 125. In place after place, the international character of these rivers has been an obstacle to their integrated development. It is easier to obtain agreements as to river navigation rules than as to water allocations and new regulation schemes. Several of the international streams are now the subject of bitter controversy. Others are certain to become involved in disputes unless sound measures are taken to substitute constructive cooperation for tardy recriminations. Regardless of the international character of the drainage areas it seems likely that international action will be necessary in several directions to prevent needless waste, delay and friction in the new developments.

Needed lines of action

The panel recommended that the United Nations play a positive role in helping lay the groundwork for reconciliation of conflicting interests in international basins. It also saw the need for increasing the funds, basic studies and amount of integrated technical assistance services available to governments for hydrological work. The financing of solid basic surveys and designs seems especially important and might be aided in part by proposals now before the ECOSOC. All too often, works are undertaken without adequate prior surveys.

There is persistent need for focusing the interests of both governments and specialized agencies upon methods, procedures and standards for studies affecting the shape and results of river development. Much more attention should be directed, for example, to means of evaluating water resources—both surface and underground—and to estimating prospective requirements. Obviously, many nations and several specialized agencies are working on aspects of these problems. Thus, the Food and Agriculture Organization is sponsoring studies of water use in agriculture and the World Health Organization has taken an active part in helping to establish standards of water quality. A few nations, such as France and the USSR, have elaborate research facilities in hydraulics. Certain others are wholly dependent upon research results from the outside. In general, the pace and interchange of scientific research in the water field will have to be stepped up if maximum effectiveness is to be gained for the huge new programmes.

Improving basic services in hydrology

The field of hydrology is especially lacking in concerted attention. Although the meteorological borders of the field are covered by WMO, hydrology is a kind of no-man’s-land into which many national agencies and a few international agencies venture without any clear definition of responsibility. It now seems evident that several tasks affecting hydrology and hydrological data should be tackled on a world scale as a base for much of the future river development.

Hydrological instruments and survey methods should be standardized so that comparable observations may be available on stream discharge, moisture storage water quality and similar phenomena. This may be urgent in the international basin but is important in all areas. Data publication also should be standardized.

Much more systematic work on recording of basic measurements should be encouraged. In some major basins the observations are pitifully sparse and discontinuous.

Not only are international observation networks lacking but there are only a few instances, such as in the lower Danube, of well articulated river forecasting services. These also should be promoted in the international basins.

It would be unfortunate, however, if emphasis in what must be an expanding programme in hydrology were to centre solely upon networks and data collection. Of equal if not greater importance is the personnel sufficiently trained to make discriminating use of the scanty data available.

It will be impracticable in numerous areas to wait for twenty years of records before beginning the design of additional engineering works. A concentrated amount of imaginative analysis may be far more fruitful than expensive outlays for pedestrian data collection.

Some aspects of the hydrological cycle are not well understood. The movement of water through unsaturated formations, for example, requires more searching examination and this, like other aspects of the cycle, is the object of work by numerous scientists which is reported from time to time at sessions of the Association of Scientific Hydrology and its member groups. But with the knowledge already at hand it is beginning to be practicable to make reasonable estimates of some critical hydrological features where long-term records are missing. Thus, river-forecasting methods, which are vital to successful operation of systems of storage dams and navigation control works, are improving rapidly. One of the limiting considerations in dam and spillway design is the frequency or maximum probable volume of flood flows resulting from intense rainfall and this apparently may be estimated from upper-air observations. The amount of water available to runoff in a drainage basin after accounting for evaporation and transpiration from soil surfaces is another critical factor for design of storage works. Here, the water-balance analysis may suggest ways of determining volumes of water from temperature and precipitation records without requiring long stream discharge measurements.

There seems little doubt that these and other analytical methods and their associated data must be widely tested, applied and refined if they are to serve as they should in the design and operation of new water-regulation structures. Some methods and findings have wide applicability in basins in dry areas and humid areas alike. In other cases it may be desirable to compare results from widely separated areas, such as humid, tropic mountain regions having similar hydrological conditions. In any event, international collaboration on a worldwide scale seems in order.

Current investments in new river development programmes and the prospect for the spread of such works to other areas makes it likely that the next few decades will see continued activity in this process of changing the time and place of water on the land surfaces. Whether those new dams and control works are wisely designed and operated to avoid disaster and to promote social growth will depend in no small measure upon steps which are taken in the years immediately ahead to improve the basic services in hydrology.

Gilbert F. White

Meteorology in Ghana

Ghana became a Member State of WMO on 6 June 1957. It is one of the world’s newest sovereign States, achieving independence as a Dominion within the British Commonwealth on 6 March 1957 and becoming a Member of the United Nations within a few hours of its creation.

Development of a meteorological service

The earliest systematic meteorological observations commenced in 1886 when the government established three climatological stations on the coast and entrusted their operation to the Medical Department. The coverage of climatological stations increased slowly until World War I, which caused a temporary halt. Summaries of the observations were published in official journals.

Shortly after the first World War, the Agricultural Department took over responsibility for the operation of the climatological stations. Considerable climatological progress was made in the 1920s, not only in the number of stations, but in the supervision and publication of reports. The depression of the 1930s again caused a set-back. Shortly before the Second World War, the four British West African Governments, encouraged and assisted by the British Colonial and Meteorological Offices and spurred by the advent of international aviation, set up, on a very modest scale, the British West African Meteorological Service. Within the Gold Coast, as it then was, the responsible body was the Air Services Department with a single meteorological officer and a handful of assistants responsible not only for the provision of weather reports but also for aerodrome control.

The exigencies of war necessitated a rapid expansion on a temporary basis under the operational control of the United Kingdom Air Ministry. Space does not permit of a description of the many difficulties in securing men, material and sites and the fine work done under difficult conditions during those days. It will suffice to say that, at the end of the war, it was necessary to establish the British West African Meteorological Service on a greatly extended and permanent basis. By this time, a forecast office and synoptic station were in operation at Accra, with 10 other synoptic stations, some 20 climatological and 70 rainfall stations. Equipment was limited and heterogeneous, sites and offices makeshift and temporary and senior staff pitifully few in numbers. The principal preoccupations were aviation meteorology and the struggle for survival.

The last 10 years have seen a striking change. Between them, the United Kingdom and the local governments have contributed nearly £90 000 for expenditure on equipment and buildings … the strenuous efforts of a few expatriates and about a hundred Ghanaians have led to the emergence of a small, well-balanced national service …

Present-day networks and programme

The department now has 14 synoptic stations, five of which make pilot-balloon observations, provided with a full range of normal equipment all manned by full-time personnel and operating 24 hours a day … and nearly all provided with permanent sties, offices and quarters for the staff. In addition, there are over 400 other stations, of which 20 are classed as agrometeorological or experimental stations, 45 as climatological stations and the remainder as rainfall stations. A feature of note is the existence of a network of 30 tank-evaporimeter stations with an experimental evaporation station at Accra for the intercomparison of evaporimeters. Equipment has been improved and standardized and suitable arrangements made for maintenance and regular inspection. Even the majority of the rainfall stations have been visited within the last two years.

Hourly (or even half-hourly, if required by aviation demands) observations are made at all synoptic stations. Communications permit the passage of hourly reports to the forecast office at Accra during daylight hours and at least every three hours at night from the majority of the outstations. Eight territorial broadcasts are made daily from Accra at intervals of three hours. The provision of climatological returns and analyses from the synoptic stations received considerable attention and these stations are provided with a small library for stud purposes. They also receive departmental publications, answer limited climatological inquiries, arrange for the provision of special forecasts for local interests and exercise a certain amount of supervision over climatological and rainfall stations in their neighbourhood.

Headquarters, the forecast office and the Accra experimental stations are all located on the international airport at Accra. The forecast office is mainly concerned with operational forecasting, chiefly for aviation operating locally and internationally over an area extending to Dakar, Tripoli and Léopoldville. A recent welcome innovation has been the installation of the Decca storm warning radar. The forecast office forms the synoptic division of the department, being also responsible for a limited amount of forecasting research and international cooperation in the fields of synoptic and aeronautical meteorology.

Headquarters branches

Headquarters, in addition to the directorate, comprises branches responsible for climatology, agrometeorology and basic organization. Climatological work has expanded greatly during the past five years, which has been a period of intensive development in the country with heavy and continuous demands from planners, agriculturalists, engineers and others. Monthly weather reports and rainfall bulletins have been published regularly since 1952, the latter incorporating both isohyetal and anomaly maps. Annual summaries for 1951, 1952, 1953 have appeared and will shortly be followed by those for later years. Seven departmental notes have been published since 1952, including a short account of the climate (1952), a more detailed account (1957), summaries of past rainfall records and two on the estimation of evaporation. Punched card analysis is being introduced this year and the greater part of past data has been checked and analysed.

The agrometeorological branch was established on a very modest basis three years ago and it clearly has an important future in a predominantly agricultural country. Its principal tasks so far have been the establishment of suitable stations and liaison with agricultural interests. At present it issues a weekly review of past weather specially for agricultural officers.

An instrument workshop on a small scale was established three years ago. It has already proved its value in overhauling autographic instruments, pilot-balloon theodolites, etc., which formerly had to be sent overseas for this purpose, and in adapting equipment brought from overseas to suit local conditions.

Training and manpower

So much for the material side of meteorology, but no account can be complete without reference to the problems of manpower and training inherent in the satisfactory building of a modern meteorological service. The present department follows the British practice in having three main categories of staff: scientific, experimental and technical officers. Until the last few years, the first two were manned by expatriates, mainly British. Both the former colonial government in its later years and the present government have rightly attached considerable emphasis to the manning of departments by nationals of the country. The improvement in schools providing post-matriculation education and the founding of a University College in Ghana as part of the University of London with, amongst others, degree courses in physics and mathematics, provided sufficient recruits of the right calibre and qualifications to fill all but three of the 17 posts in the scientific and experimental officer grades with Ghanaians. In addition, a generous scholarship scheme is providing opportunities for the experimental and technical officers to obtain the academic courses that their advancement demands. This scheme has already produced its first experimental officer from the ranks of the technical officers and its operations in the years to come should provide the material to meet the expansion which will inevitably occur. Training within the department has received much attention within the last few years. Technical officers receive their entire training with the department, including initial training and provision of study and refresher courses. The senior grades receive their earlier training partly in Ghana and partly in Britain. There is a generally recognized shortage of Ghanaians with higher education and wise use of existing manpower is at least as important as the increase in numbers receiving higher education. One of the directorate’s major tasks is to keep under constant review the ever-expanding demands for meteorology and to devise ways and means whereby the standards and responsibilities of the technical officers may be raised to meet the demands. Methods suitable in the more highly developed countries are often unsuitable here and others have to be devised. These require a willingness to learn an active cooperation from the staff. Fortunately, these two qualities are among the characteristics of the Ghanaian and progress is encouraging.

H.O. Walker

News and notes

Presentation of the second IMO Prize

The second International Meteorological Organization Prize, which the Executive Committee awarded posthumously to Carl Gustav Rossby, former director of the International Meteorological Institute in Stockholm, was presented to Mrs Harriet Rossby on 15 April 1958, in Stockholm. André Viaut, President of WMO, made the award during a ceremony which took place in the assembly hall of Stockholm University. Among the officials who were present with Mrs Rossby and Prof. Rossby’s family were Rickard Sandler, former Provincial Governor and President of the Administrative Council of the International Meteorological Institute, H. Cramer, Rector of the Free Universtiy of Stockholm, representatives of the Swedish Government and of other governments, A. Nyberg president of RA VI and director of the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute and B. Bolin, acting director of the International Meteorological Institute in Stockholm.

In his tribute to Prof. Rossby, Mr Viaut mentioned his two main active interests: scientific research on the most varied subjects connected with meteorology, and the training of young meteorologists. Mr Viaut outlined Prof. Rossby’s career, both in Sweden and the United States, and recalled that one of the last things which he had done had been to visit the WMO Secretariat in Geneva. After expressing appreciation of the team spirit which had animated Prof. Rossby, Mr Viaut continued: “If, for his collaborators, he was what we in France call—somewhat familiarly perhaps, but with affectionate respect—a patron, for his students he was in every sense of the term a maître. Whether working in his native country or his adopted country, whether teaching or carrying out research, he was always contributing to the progress of meteorology.

New meteorological telecommunication centre

At the second session of Regional Association VI, it was decided that the two separate meteorological teleprinter networks in the western and the central and eastern parts of Europe should be interconnected and the interested countries were invited to study the matter As a result of these studies the two teleprinter networks were interconnected in the first quarter of 1957 by the establishment of two duplex links, one between Frankfurt-am-Main and Prague and the second between Frankfurt-am-Main and Potsdam.

The interconnexion via Potsdam threw on the meteorological telecommunication centre there important additional responsibilities which in turn required the installation of additional equipment. The new Potsdam main weather office was just then under construction and fortunately it was possible to revise the plans for the telecommunication centre so as to incorporate the new requirements. The centre was completed on 1 November 1957.

All radio and teleprinter working is centralized in this new telecommunication centre. There are the duplex teleprinter links with Moscow, Warsaw, Frankfurt-am-Main and two links with Prague. An extensive antenna system has been installed permitting the choice of suitable antennae for long or short wave and directional reception. Provision is also included for facsimile transmissions. A well-equipped and modern repair and maintenance shop capable of servicing both teleprinter and radio equipment forms a very useful part of the centre.

The new telecommunication centre works on a 24-hour schedule and handles a daily average of 300 000 groups on its teleprinter links and about 13 000 groups by radio.

New French ocean weather ships

It was decided at the end of 1956 that, in view of their age, the French ships forming part of the North Atlantic ocean weather ship network since 1948 would be replaced by more suitable vessels.

The first of these new ships, France I, was successfully launched on 3 May 1958 from the shipyard at Graville, near Le Havre. The second, France II, will be launched on 14 September this year, from the same shipyard.

Each of these ships is driven by two electric motors of 1 050 continental horsepower. They are 76.1 m in length and 12.55 m in width and will attain a speed of 14 knots when laden. They were designed to ensure the greatest possible economy in operation, to facilitate the work of meteorologists as much as possible—particularly in carrying out all types of observations—and to improve the comfort of the personnel whose task is often rendered arduous by heavy weather.

They are equipped with modern electronic instruments for both navigation and meteorological work and will come into service, if there are no unforeseen hitches, at the end of January and the end of May 1959, respectively.

WMO exhibit and stamp at Brussels Fair

Visitors to the Brussels International Exhibition, which is to last until October 1958, will find an exhibit about WMO and its work in the Untied Nations Pavilion. …

A new Belgian postage stamp honouring WO was issued as part of a set of 16 stamps for the United Nations and specialized agencies, 10 for surface mail and six for airmail. …

Membership of WMO

The Federation of Malaya became a Member State of WMO on 18 June 1958.

WMO now has 97 Members, 75 States and 22 Territories.

back to top

 

Condensed version/
version condensée
 
cover   cover
English   Français


Regular features
In the news
Anniversaries
Recently issued
Upcoming events
Recent events
High-impact weather events
50 years ago

MeteoWorld archive

 


Contact: MeteoWorld Editor - WMO ©2008 Geneva, Switzerland