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Fifty years ago ...

From WMO Bulletin 4 (4), October 1955





The October 1955 Bulletin had 52 pages, of which 13 were advertisements. The annual subscription for four issues was CHF 4.





Officers of WMO (and ex officio members of the Executive Committee)

President: A. Viaut
First Vice-President: M.A.F. Barnett
Second Vice-President: H. Amorim Ferreira

Executive Committee (elected members)

J. Ravet
S. Basu
F.X.R. de Souza
A. Thomson
J. Lugeon
L. de Azcárraga
A. Nyberg
R.W. Reichelderfer
A.A. Solotoukhine
Sir Graham Sutton
M.F. Taha

Feature articles in this issue of the Bulletin concerning the Cloud Atlas, water resource development, humid tropics research, and radiation measurements in Africa will be covered in the next issue of MeteoWorld.

Follow-up to Second Congress (1955)

Practical applications of meteorology

A working group of the Commission for Synoptic Meteorology is studying criteria for density, which will serve as guidance for obtaining a more rational world network, both in time and space. The implementation of such a network will entail still further efforts ... in view of the great expanses of desert and ocean areas where the establishment of meteorological stations meets with very serious difficulties. In the absence of direct observations, the inconvenience of certain deficiencies in the network could be considerably reduced by the use of a wisely distributed network of atmospherics recording stations ... careful attention should be given by Meteorological Services to new techniques which may be derived from the use of rockets or man-made satellites.

International Geophysical Year (1957-1958)

Numerous and accurate observations will be made ... centralization of the meteorological observations is the first and most urgent task, but it must be followed ... by analysis of the results obtained. Third Congress (1959) may wish to arrange that a specified organism be enabled to engage in meteorological research of worldwide interest. Meanwhile and in order not to waste the benefit that all Meteorological Services might derive from the speedy analysis of the results, it would be highly desirable if a number of institutes or research centres would consider the possibility of analysing these results.

... great progress has been made and is still being made towards the standardization in observing methods, in codes, in units of measurement and in organizing the exchange of information by means of telecommunications and publications.

The comparisons of radiosondes and of barometers and the circulation of meteorological films should also contribute to the standardization of the Meteorological Services of the world.

International cooperation

... the benefits a country derives from its Meteorological Service widely exceed the cost of its maintenance. These benefits can, however, be greatly increased by better international coordination. The use of a world meteorological network, homogeneous and with speedily collected observations should encourage an improvement in the quality and scope of forecasts which might be obtained through numerical methods using electronic computers.

Further development in the results of modifications of weather conditions, already achieved at the national level, may also issue from international coordination and would benefit the whole of mankind.

Consideration should be given to some method of pooling resources in order to finance certain installations so that the distribution of meteorological stations of worldwide interest should not be delayed or prevented by local difficulties.

The Cloud Atlas

The decision to make a new atlas was inspired 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 reproduction.

Thorough discussions in the field of cloud classification led to definite improvements and to certain innovations. Species and varieties were extended and modified. We became more aware of transformation processes taking place in the various genera.

When 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 observed from aircraft ... [with[ photographic specimens to demonstrate to aviators how they should interpret various code figures ... surface observers may find the new pictorial guides for the coding of low, medium and high cloud very handy.

The former classification of hydrometeors has been replaced by a classification of meteors, in which the hydrometeors occupy only one group, the aqueous meteors.

Water resource development

Whereas in the past, most of the big projects in river-basin development were for flood control, it is now realized that to achieve a really successful result, multi-purpose planning is usually essential ... 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.

… close collaboration between all interested parties to work out plans for river development 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  provide some of the figures needed by the planners—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. 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 money.

... in most countries there is no central body for hydrological activities ... and probably very few countries  have a really comprehensive national plan for water.

The tasks for meteorologists in this field include assistance in the provision of flood forecasts. Flood forecasting has important international aspects, especially where a river flows through several different countries. Under WMO, meteorological data are exchanged regularly between the nations of the world ... 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.

As civilization advances and populations increase, the demands for water supplies for domestic and industrial consumption, for irrigation and for power generation will become greater. Meteorologists can play an important part in tackling these problems and WMO will do what it can to ensure that meteorological knowledge is applied to the greatest possible extent in this vital work.



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