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the weather bureau record of war administration part 10

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By mid-March 1941, Great Britain introduced a full meteorological war organization over most of the Northern Hemisphere calling for suppression of forecasts, current weather information, and past weather data less than seven days old. These restrictions, of course, applied only to information from British and Canadian sources, but there was considerable pressure from some quarters for similar action by this country. The studies of the Defense Meteorological Committee and the Working Committee in preparing a United States plan for security had shown at that time that the ramifications of a meteorological service were so numerous, and the exchange of weather information through public and private channels so common, that little short of complete censorship could effectively cut off the supply of usable data to an unfriendly power. However, no action on the request of the British Government was taken at this time because to institute and maintain complete security might incur greater injury to the national Defense Program than would have been justified by the results.

Joint and Combined Meteorological Committees.-For purposes of coordination and to facilitate meteorological security under the provision of executive Order No. 8991, dated December 26, 1941, (quoted before) the Defense Meteorological Committee was succeeded by the Joint Meteorological Committee. The main function of the committee was to organize existing meteorological facilities and services for use in war planning by the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As the Weather Bureau was the only civilian agency having membership on the Joint Meteorological Committee of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, it was the responsibility of the Weather Bureau to effect coordination of plans approved by the Joint Meteorological Committee with meteorological services of other nations in order to place the programs into effect.

To continue the broad fields of action formerly pursued by the Defense Meteorological Committee, the new committee established seven sub-committees to make investigations and recommendations for organizing meteorological plans and procedures required in global warfare. The titles of the committees were as follows: Equipment, Meteorology and Radio Propagation, Research and Development, Weather Communications, Weather Plans, Oceanography and Climatology. These sub-committees met at irregular intervals as required while meetings of the Joint Meteorological Committee were held generally on Tuesday of each week with special meetings at other times. The recommendations made by the sub-committees as a result of investigations and studies were forwarded to the Joint Meteorological Committee and if approved the plans were then submitted to the Weather Bureau, Army, and Navy for action.

During the latter part of 1942 the Combined Meteorological Committee was established, consisting mainly of U. S. and British representatives. The relationship of this new committee to the Combined Chiefs of Staff was similar to that of the Joint Meteorological Committee to the U. S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. Meteorological plan originating in the Joint Meteorological Committee were referred to the Combined Meteorological Committee for coordination and approval when affecting combined operations.

One of the first actions of the Joint Meteorological Committee was the approval of security measures to prevent valuable weather information from becoming available to the enemy, plans for which were first formulated by the Defense Meteorological Committee early in 1940-41. In addition, plans for furnishing meteorological information at U. S. air terminals of ferry routes were also worked out. Two of the routes were Northeast Ferry Route extending from North America across Canada, Greenland, and Iceland to England, one of the worst weather routes in the world, and the Southeast route extending from Southern United States across the South Atlantic Ocean to Africa via Acension Island. The Weather Bureau coordinated the plan with Canada and Great Britain. Other ferry routes were established later and when Soviet pilots were assigned to ferry operations, arrangements for supplying forecasts and information in Russian language were provided for use on flights to the Soviet Union.

The Joint Meteorological Committee continued the project for the standardization of international index numbers to use in identifying station report in radio exchange of weather information. The Weather Bureau prepared the lists and effected coordination with other meteorological services of the United Nations, including neutral countries. About this same time a program was also developed for the standardization of codes for various types of reports collected and used in providing weather service for military operations.

It became apparent in 1942 that the attack on fortress Europe would have to be made by the establishment of beachheads, first along the African Coast and as the battle progressed into Europe, along European coasts. To furnish adequate meteorologic service for such military operations, the Joint Meteorological Committee devised a Surf Code for use in reporting surf conditions at a landing beach.. The data provided by this special code proved of inestimable value for landing of troops at beachheads when D-days arrived.

To provide more effective coordination of the preparation and distribution of hurricane warnings in the United States to the military services, the Weather Bureau moved its hurricane forecast center from Jacksonville to Miami, Florida. This move permitted the Weather Bureau, Army, and Navy to protect military installations during the approach of tropical storms originating in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Other similar hurricane centers were located at San Juan, P.R., New Orleans, La., Washington, D.C., LaGuardia Field, N. Y., and Boston, Mass. The service was later extended to provide for reconnaissance flights by Army and Navy plans into hurricane areas to report the progress of these storms.

The foregoing are a few examples of meteorological plans devised by the committee in order to effect full utilization of meteorological activities, of the U. S. Weather Bureau for military operations. The speed with which the committee organized plans for rendering service in emergencies was one of its outstanding accomplishments. Now that the war is over formerly done by the Joint Meteorological Committee, which proved so effective during the war, is being taken over by the Sub-committee on Aviation Meteorology, a branch of the Air Coordinating Committee. The purpose of this new committee will be to coordinate U. S. meteorological facilities with expanded civil air operations both in the United States and with airlines engaged in overseas operations.


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