sensing, which evolved into the cornerstone of today's Walter I. Whittmann sea-ice monitoring programs in the United States, and 1918-1992 he played a significant role in the establishment and planning of AIDJEX (Arctic Ice Dynamics Joint Experi- Walter I. Whittmann, a polar oceanographer and ment) in 1970. He took part in six early nuclear subma- expert on sea ice, died at age 73 on 19 March 1992, rine expeditions under the polar ice, and he partici- while on vacation in Lewes, Delaware. During a pated as the sea-ice advisor in the 1969 cruise of the career that spanned nearly five decades, he was a SS Manhattan through the Northwest Passage. His prominent figure in many of the early efforts to de- honors included the Superior Civilian Service Award of scribe, understand, and predict the behavior of Arctic the secretary of the navy. sea ice. He resided in the Washington, D.C., area, where he had been the director After retiring from NAVO- of the Polar Oceanography Di- CEANO, he was a staff scientist vision at the Naval Oceano- and liaison in Washington forthe graphic Office prior to his re- Arctic Submarine Laboratory, a tirement from the federal gov- senior research scientist with the ernment in 1974. Arctic Institute of North America, A native of Clinton, Massa- and a member of the World Me- chusetts, Whittmann was a teorological Organization's Inter- graduate of Brown University. national Working Group on Sea He served as a meteorologist Ice. In the latter capacity, he with the Army Air Corps in helped to develop the coding Panama and elsewhere during procedures (SICRID) that are still World War II. After operating a used today in mapping the distri- family fabric store in Boston for bution of sea ice. During the several years, he joined the 1980s, he worked for Sea Ice Naval Oceanographic Office in Consultants, Inc., and Integrated 1952. As a project scientist, he Systems Analysts as a sea-ice played a key role in developing consultant. a curriculum on the character- The list of Whittmann's contri- istics, behavior, and environ- butions is a long one, but he mental interactions of sea ice. leaves a legacy that is much He established the first meth- broader than his own record in- odologies used in the United dicates. While at NAVOCEANO's States for the observation and he entrained many of the current prediction of sea ice. He spent time in Halifax assist- generation of Arctic scientists into the study of a region ing the Canadians in organizing their own ice observ- that most never suspected would become their career ing and forecasting capability, which evolved into the focus. Bill Hibler, Peter Wadhams, Fred McLaren, Canadian Ice Center now located in Ottawa. Patrick Welch and others including myself, were intro- duced to the Arctic and guided professionally by As head of NAVOCEANO's Sea Ice Branch, and Whittmann at pivotal stages of our careers. He man- later the Polar Oceanography Division from 1962 aged to combine personal concern with administrative through 1974, he established the first aircraft project effectiveness in a way that made lasting impressions to conduct regularly scheduled surveys of Arctic sea on those who worked under him and with him. ice, Project Birdseye. Much of the existing data on sea Whittmann was an avid reader and traveler, and he ice in the western Arctic prior to the satellite era can was a storehouse of anecdotal information on the be traced to this project. He developed a research Arctic as well as other parts of the world. He is survived program that addressed the sea ice forecasting and by his wife, Jacqueline, and by two daughters and a the effects of sea-ice on under-ice acoustics, subma- sister. • rine operations, and surface vehicles. He was also a —John E. Walsh key figure in the early sea-ice applications of remote Bulletin American Meteorological Society 815
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Jun 1, 1992
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