Weather Climate Water Home | WMO activities| In the news | In the press |Recently issued | Upcoming events | Recent events


Fifty years ago...


From WMO Bulletin 4 (1), January 1955

  • International Geophysical Year 1957-1958

Work on a third international programme of geophysical observations was underway (the First International Polar Year took place in 1882-1883 and the Second in 1932-1933 (in 1957/1958, solar activity would be close to its maximum). The title of International Geophysical Year was selected in preference to Third International Polar Year in order to stress the need to extend synoptic observations of geophysical phenomena over the whole surface of the Earth, especially equatorial areas. In the programme, priority was given to problems which could only be solved by effective worldwide collaboration. 

Note: 125 years on, work is currently underway on the International Polar Year 2007-2008. See

  • Maritime meteorology 

Some progress was reported in the adoption of an International Ice Nomenclature. The possibility was being considered of adopting a complete version for scientific use and an abridged version for navigation. Also under study was the sending of weather reports from whaling ships and the reception by the latter of weather analyses and forecasts from Meteorological Services.

  • Synoptic meteorology

New international meteorological codes were introduced throughout the world on 1 January 1955 (basic code forms and specifications and regional codes). For the first time, a section gave details of national practices, i.e. those which were permitted in the general scheme and those which represented deviations from standard practices.

Abbreviated headings for use in international meteorological telecommunication exchanges were introduced on 1 January 1955 by the European and North and Central American regions. 

  • Instruments and methods of observation

A total of 59 countries responded to an inquiry about methods for reporting horizontal visibility. Of these, 49 reported minimum visibility and 11 reported a visibility index, defined as the greatest visibility ... attained or surpassed throughout half of the horizon circle, not necessarily continuous.



Downloads & Links

Related sites
Web Design: Webmaster Content: JTorres - W M O - O M M © 2005 Geneva, Switzerland