Weather Bureau during 1945 initiated a project for study of the
development and structure of individual thunderstorm cells. Other
agencies which will cooperate in this project are the Army Air
Forces; the Navy; the Aircraft Loads Division of the National
Advisory Committee for Aeronautics; Meteorology Department of
the University of Chicago; Physics Department , University of
New Mexico; Electronics Department, Massachusetts Institute of
Technology; and the Soaring Society of America. The study, it
now appears, will begin near Orlando, Florida.
area in Florida - 1946
and measurements in thunderstorms will be obtained over an
area of about sixty square miles in the Orlando locality by
means of airplane and glider flights, three radiosonde and
several radar stations, and approximately fifty surface recording
Army Air Forces will provide properly modified airplanes,
with crews, for the thunderstorm project. The planes, to be
in operation three out of every five days, will fly simultaneously
in the thunderstorm at 5,000, 10,000, 15,000, 20,000, and
25,000 feet and will be carefully tracked and directed by
means of radar and VHF radio. Five planes are to operate together
in each thunderstorm mission. If possible, the planes will
be of a type capable of carrying an observer, in addition
to pilot and co-pilot.
Navy will investigate the possibility of using “drones,”
radio-controlled planes directed either from the ground or
from another plane, to carry recording equipment and to provide
preliminary tests of thunderstorm flyability. The Navy will
carry out a program fro the utilization of drones in the project,
if tests indicate the feasibility of such a program.
will be released in large numbers during thunderstorm conditions.
These will consist of small balloons carrying conventional
rawin targets for determining the horizontal circulation of
various levels in the thunderstorm; radiosondes for obtaining
the thermodynamic details of the thunderstorm; and radio transmitting
balloons equipped for measuring turbulence, rate of climb
and vertical air speed. All balloons will be tracked by radar.
Special mobile radiosonde units will perform the balloon observations.
equipment will be used, not only for tracking airplanes and
balloons, but also fro study of water content and extent of
fifty ground stations, to be located in an area not exceeding
twenty miles in diameter, will be self-recording station units
consisting of microbarographs, wind vane – anemometer,
hygrothermograph and recording rain gage.
for the project will be carried on at the University of Chicago,
the Naval Research Laboratory, operating through the Precipitation
Static Project at Minneapolis, the University of New Mexico,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the Aircraft Loads
Division of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics.
The Soaring Society of American will work on the possibility
of sailplane flight in thunderstorms.
coordination of research and coordination of work between
various governmental and non-governmental participants in
the project will be a responsibility of the Weather Bureau.
The Bureau will also provide such personnel and equipment
for the project as may be needed to supplement that furnished
by the Army and the Navy.
Lawrence M. Dye, Bureau Meteorologist, will spend the week
of January 9 in Orlando to discuss the project with the Weather
Office at the Army Airfield and to arrange with various property
owners in the vicinity for establishment of ground stations
on their lands.
“The BREEZE”, Vol. 2, No. 12, January 10, 1946.