years ago ...
Bulletin 4 (4), October 1955
main feature of the October 1955 Bulletin on follow-up to
Second Congress was covered in
the October 2005 issue of MeteoWorld.
the 91st Member of WMO on 10 August 1955.
from the Secretariat
On 14 August
1955, Dr Gustav Swoboda retired from the WMO Secretariat. He
had been appointed Secretary-General of WMO at First World
Meteorological Congress in 1951. He had reached the normal
retiring age in September 1952 and had held the post since
in an acting capacity. Dr Swoboda became Chief of the
Secretariat of the International Meteorological Organization
in 1938. One of his first duties had been to plan and
supervise the transfer of the IMO headquarters from De Bilt
in The Netherlands to Lausanne in Switzerland.
On 1 August
1955, Mr D.A. Davies took up his appointment as
Secretary-General. Mr Davies was formerly the Director of
the East African Meteorological Department and in 1951 was
elected president of Regional Association I, in which
capacity he served as a member of the WMO Executive
Committee. His successor as president of RA I is Mr J. Ravet,
Director of the Meteorological Service of Madagascar.
Dr G. Swoboda
Dr D.A. Davies
Broadcasting Corporation is engaged in preparing a 45-minute
film for use in television to illustrate the regular and the
technical assistance work of the Organization. Sequences
have already been filmed in Libya and a film unit was also
despatched to Jordan and Israel. The film … will be used
by the BBC in its television series “The World is ours”.
It will also be made available to other European television
networks and to WMO for its own needs.
producers and film units in the USA have also shown an
interest and are at present studying plans for 20-minute
documentary films about international meteorology.
technical assistance experts and other WMO officers to the
Secretariat have provided an opportunity for recorded
interviews which are used by French and English speaking
broadcasting networks in Europe and in North and South
interest of non-meteorological authorities in the
Organization’s programme and activities is also shown by
the number of invitations to meetings of other international
organizations received by the Secretariat. For the month of
September alone, the Organization received invitations to 15
international meetings, 11 of which were accepted.
regional associations and technical commissions have been
requested to give urgent attention to the question of the
final disposal of the remaining resolutions of the former
IMO and it is hoped that this matter can be settled at the
eighth session of the Executive Committee in 1957.
experts have agreed to serve on the Working Group on
Climatological Atlases: Dr C.W. Thornthwaite, Dr. A.K. Ångström,
Prof. Kenneth Hare, Dr S.P. Jackson and Dr N. Rosenan.
A meeting was
held in Geneva on 5 and 6 September between Prof Van Mieghem
and members of the Secretariat to discuss various questions
in connection with the International Geophysical Year
final text of the meteorological programme for the IGY will
be communicated to Members with the least possible delay.
differences in route winds determined by different
meteorological offices, the Secretariat has taken steps to
collect he necessary documentation, in particular, reports
in preparation or already published on this question, as
well as descriptions of the methods used for analysing
upper-air charts and for preparing forecast charts.
president of the Commission for Synoptic Meteorology (CSM)
... it was in
1947 that the Washington Conference of Directors of the IMO
charged a small group under the leadership of Mr Viaut to
prepare a revised ad up to date version of the International Atlas of Clouds and Types of Skies. The decision to
make a new atlas was inspired by the depletion of the stocks
of the previous edition of 1939 and furthermore by the
development of knowledge concerning clouds and hydrometeors,
by the modifications in the international cloud codes and by
the improvements in the techniques of colour photography and
group held six meetings. Thorough discussions in the field
of cloud classification led to definite improvements and to
certain innovations. Species and varieties were extended and
so-called accidental details found a better place in our system; they are
features and accessory clouds. We became more aware of
transformation processes taking place in the various genera
and the concept of mother cloud was introduced.
When the text
of the previous cloud atlas was written, very few
meteorologists had ever seen clouds from above. Now almost
everyone has an intimate knowledge of clouds encountered in
the upper air. A full chapter could therefore be added,
describing the particular appearance presented by clouds
when observe from aircraft. And there were no difficulties
in finding photographic specimens to demonstrate to aviators
how they should interpret various code figures.
instructions are also given to surface observers, who may
find the new pictorial guides for the coding of low, medium
and high cloud very handy. For those who wish to collect
scientific information about the evolution of the sky or who
want to make cloud observing an interesting hobby, two
models of a Journal of
Clouds and Hydrometeors have been added.
classification of hydrometeors has been replaced by a
classification of meteors, in which the hydrometeors occupy
only one group, the aqueous meteors.
Atlas, consisting of a condensed text and a selection of
photographs will serve the daily practical needs of surface
observes and an Album consisting of a limited number of photographs will be of
special interest to observers in aircraft.
It must be
remarked that the President of the CSM, who collaborated
closely with the Secretariat during the last phases of the
project, had never realized that he would learn so much
about the literary problems still to be solved in order to
make the English and French texts to the Cloud
… only a
small fraction of the available water resources of the world
is fully exploited. In India, for example, it has been
estimated … that less than 6 per cent of the total runoff
is used; it is hoped to increase this fraction to over 20
per cent. In many other parts of the world similar plans are
being developed for making better use of water supplies, the
problem being most vital of course in the semi-arid areas.
Whereas in the
past, most of the big projects in river-basin development
were for single purposes, one of the most important of which
is flood control, it is now realized that to achieve a
really successful result multi-purpose planning is usually
essential. There are close relationships between various
types of water problems; before deciding to go ahead with a
hydro-electric scheme, for example, it is desirable to
consider its repercussions on the actual and potential uses
of the water, such as irrigation, municipal water supplies
and disposal of sewage and industrial waste.
collaboration between all interested parties is necessary
for this type of work [who] must get together to work out
plans for river development which will lead to the maximum
benefit of the community. Here is one way in which the
meteorologist—and especially the hydrometeorologist—can
help. He can apply his knowledge and skill to provide some
of the figures needed by the planners—the average
precipitation and its variability over the river basin,
evaporation losses from lakes and reservoirs, the maximum
precipitation likely to be encountered in a severe storm,
etc. It frequently happens that the available meteorological
and hydrological data are inadequate for really accurate
estimates of the above quantities to be made, in which case
it is all the more important that the meteorologist should
be consulted. By comparison with regions of similar climate
where more data are available, he can often make intelligent
guesses, which may result in savings of considerable sums of
carried out by the WMO Secretariat had shown that in most
countries there is no central body for hydrological
activities; there are probably very few countries which have
a really comprehensive national plan for water.
The tasks for
meteorologists in this field include assistance in the
provision of flood forecasts. There have been instances
where there was no clear division of responsibility in this
work and where the need for action was only fully
appreciated after a major flood disaster had caught people
unawares. Flood forecasting has important international
aspects, especially where a rive flows through several
different countries. Under the WMO, meteorological data are
exchanged regularly between the nations of the world. There
are of course many cases where the observations of
streamflow and river stage are exchanged by bilateral
agreements, but as yet there does not appear to be a
universally adopted scheme to ensure that this hydrological
information is made readily available to all interested.
There is a
great shortage of trained hydrologists and of meteorologists
with hydrological experience in the world. One of the most
vital ways in which WMO can assist counties in their water
programmes may be to provide expert advice and training
facilities under the expanded Programme of Technical
civilization advances and populations increase, the demands
for water supplies for domestic and industrial consumption,
for irrigation and for power generation will become greater.
Mankind will no longer be able to afford to waste a large
part of his reserves of this raw material, especially when
this waste takes the form of disastrous floods which are
reported almost daily from one part of the world or another.
Meteorologists can play an important part in tackling these
problems and the WMO will do what it can to ensure that
meteorological knowledge is applied to the greatest possible
extent in this vital work.
decision of Second Congress, WMO collaborated with UNESCO in
a programme for the humid tropics.
In addition to
basic studies, such as the density of observing networks,
the adequacy of instruments and methods of observation and
the suitability of analysis and forecasting techniques, the
investigation of the hydrologic balance of the climate (to
tell whether a climate is moist or humid, one must know
whether precipitation is greater or less than the water
needed for evaporation and transpiration) deserves
particular consideration. There will also be problems of
applied meteorology in connection with public health, human
labour, human dwellings and clothing, deterioration of
Readers of the Bulletin will be
kept informed of developments in the humid tropics programme,
which holds great promise for the improvement of the living
conditions of mankind.