Bulletin American Meteorological Society Maximum operational reliability and efficiency will generation weather radar, were selected to provide be attained by concentrating the forecasting staff at the United States with maximum coverage for severe the Weather Forecast Offices, which will be associ- weather and floods. Advance warnings of major ated with the NEXRAD radars. The existing National tornadoes could be as much as 30 minutes, because Weather Service office sites will be consolidated into Doppler radars allow forecasters to see inside storms this new national network. • for the first time. 25 years ago. . . 50 years ago. . . The June 1964 BULLETIN* contained the dinner address given under the following title by Prof. J. Bjerknes at the annual meeting in Los Angeles in January 1964. We give here only the first four paragraphs Climatology and Political Geography* of that address. SAMUE L VA N VALKANBURG Half a Century of Change in the Prof, of Geography, Clark University, Worcester, Mass. "Meteorological Scene" The strongest nations have been built in the temperate zones, and The "meteorological scene" at the beginning of our century had many of the problems of those nations arise from climate conditions. separate centers of activity, largely out of touch with each other. There The colonial problem, for instance, is not to be dismissed with a was no world-wide communication system for weather data, and daily wave of the hand as being more a matter of present than future history. weather maps were of more local extent than today. The weather Colonies may be economic and political wings of temperate zone na- forecasting in each area was troubled by the lack of early information tions for a long time to come, because climate has made natives of the about travelling disturbances from the west. It did not help the European average colony less energetic than the natives of the colonizing state. weather forecasters, for instance, that transatlantic cablegrams could Some nations have geographical problems within themselves. Our bring a daily summary of the North American weather. That had been Civil War was a fight between peoples influenced economically by tried in the early years of the cable connection, but then again aban- different climates. Spain has a long record of internal troubles. Spain doned. The Atlantic gap had proved too wide to be bridged by inter- has a wide variation in climate. polation on the weather maps, and radio messages from ships could England keeps her great empire of peoples under different climates not yet be contemplated. together by allowing increasing amounts of self-autonomy. The United Upper-air observations were in their first stage of development and States will bind more closely if a certain amount of regional indepen- exerted no influence on the routine of daily forecasting. Manned balloon dence in relation to climatic differences is encouraged. flights were a popular public spectacle; and the measurement of the Nations have cycles of life much as do persons, animals and plants. close-to-moist-adiabataic rate of decrease of temperature with height Nations are born, become adolescent, then mature, and finally die. was an important scientific by-product of such flights. Unmanned bal- Working in this process are climate and geography, the economics loon flights with self-recording instruments had penetrated still higher of the nation's citizens, the race, language, religions and government than the manned ones, and had discovered the stratosphere. of those citizens, and their colonial system. The people on the "scene of theoretical meteorology" were becom- Look about the world today. Old nations being reborn? There's ing aware of the interesting three-dimensional structure of the atmo- China, and Spain. The Italy of Mussolini and the Germany of Hitler sphere, and began to look for tools from the science of hydrodynamics one might regard now as adolescent nations. that could put weather forecasting on a scientific foundation. The old Then we have the mature nations such as England and the United German genius of natural science, von Helmholtz, had already two States, France and the Scandinavian lands. In these lands democracy decades before 1900 made the first important steps with his theorems is successful because patterns have been established and citizens have of circulation of incompressible media; and my father, Vilhelm Bjerknes, been educated in citizenship over a period of years. had followed up at the turn of the century by extending Helmholtz' Last come the nations that die of weakness, lack of energy to defend theorems to compressible media (like air) on a rotating planet. themselves. As these nations flop a dictator usually arises out of the My first childhood memories date from this period. The tapping of very nature of the events—such as Rivera in Spain. The dictator may the typewriter in my father's study was heard year in and year out. fall, to make way for one under whom the nation starts a new cycle But then also, during summer vacations in the country, a different of life, as may be the case under Chiang Kai-Shek in China. activity took place. Impressive kites, far greater than the toy ones, For world order the mature nations should protect the younger and were launched, carrying recording instruments. My role was of course older nations, guide the adolescent nations, but not run the show, as only to watch while grown-up students operated the kites; and the do the parents in a family. purpose of the whole thing was far beyond my comprehension. As I If the young and adolescent nations will not take discipline, the later learned, the kite ascents were made to extend aerological knowl- parent or mature nations should be equipped to spank them into an edge northwards from Central Europe, where many balloon ascents orderly international life.—Quoted from report in the Kansas City Star, had taken place, to the virtually unexplored Scandinavia. In technical June 11, 1938, p. 2. • terms, the ascents were made to count the isobaric-isoteric solenoids in a meridional profile. The new circulation theorems called for such field work. But I must add, as most of you know, that my father's tinkering with kite technology never caused the sensation on the me- * Notes on a lecture to the Kansas City Meeting, June 10, 1938. teorological scene as did the circulation theorem itself. • * Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 20, 253-54. * Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 45, 312.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jun 1, 1989
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