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# 1966: Meteorology Archives consist of articles that originally appeared in Collier's Year Book (for events of 1997 and

earlier) or as monthly updates in Encarta Yearbook (for events of 1998 and later). Because they were published shortly after events occurred, they reflect the information available at that time. Cross references refer to Archive articles of the same year. 1966: Meteorology Developments in meteorology emphasized the continuing need for this 'most observational of the sciences' to secure more complete observations of the atmosphere. A central problem of meteorology is to achieve a precise mathematical description of the general atmospheric circulation, which consists of the large-scale wind patterns after short-term variations have been averaged out. In order to predict the weather accurately for as much as a week or two in advance, or to devise programs for modifying the weather on a continental or even a regional scale, a solution to the problem of general circulation must first be found. Atmospheric Models. The attempts to achieve this goal involve three closely related approaches. The first approach involves the development of adequate mathematical theories describing the various interacting scales of atmospheric events to provide the basis for a complete mathematical model of the atmosphere. In such models equations describe the interactions, using numerical values derived from observation of the real atmosphere. The second requires computers large enough and fast enough to yield approximate solutions to the equations within a period of time that is considerably less than the time scale of real atmospheric eventsotherwise the effort would be of no value for prediction. The final approach, and currently the most crucial one, requires a many-fold increase in observations of the atmosphere. A successful mathematical model of the atmosphere depends upon the availability of a great deal of detailed information on weather conditions over the earth at an initial time from a gridwork of stations on the surface and also at several levels above the surface. Machine programs then direct a computer to calculate the changes in weather conditions over a given period of time at each grid point. The ultimate test of the model is whether it can calculate the actual future course of the weather from the initial observations. During the year the basic theory of atmospheric processes was well developed, although some gaps in the theory still remained, such as the lack of an adequate theoretical explanation of convection, the heat-transfer process which accounts, for example, for the

vertical air currents that form cumulus clouds and thunderstorms. However, mathematical models of atmospheric motion remained only partially developed. Even so, existing models were able to simulate certain important events, such as weather front formation and the development of semi-permanent areas of high and low pressure. Present computers are perhaps 100 times too slow to handle the more detailed and complete models that must be devised in the future. The design of much faster computers, capable of performing several million operations per second, is now theoretically possible, and plans for developing such computers were being discussed among manufacturers and atmospheric scientists. Worldwide Observational Networks. Because the cost of extending a conventional weather network over the entire globe would be prohibitive, a new technological approach is needed. In 1966 one element of a novel observing system based on balloons and satellites and known as the GHOST (global horizontal sounding technique) system was successfully tested, opening the way to possible worldwide coverage within a few years. The GHOST system involves large numbers of balloons of a special design which permits them to float for long periods at fixed density levels in the atmosphere, where they serve as drifting automatic weather stations. Each balloon broadcasts its information repeatedly on a transmitter powered by solar cells. Once the GHOST system is in full operation, the balloon stations will be interrogated by orbiting communications satellites, which will be an essential part of the system. Each satellite will quickly relay the data from many balloons to a few central ground stations. The weather data thus gathered will then go directly into computers to help plot daily worldwide weather maps. When summarized over longer periods of time, the information will fill in many of the gaps that now limit the development of a complete mathematical model of the global atmospheric circulation. The first GHOST balloons were test-flown from New Zealand during the year, under a joint program conducted by the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Environmental Science Services Administration (ESSA), and the New Zealand national weather service. New Zealand was chosen for the launch site because the southern hemisphere is notably lacking in adequate weather observation networks. Only the balloon portion of the system was tested in 1966, and so ground radio stations rather than satellites were used to monitor the balloon transmissions. The tests demonstrated that the balloons can be expected to float at their design altitudes for an average of several months. Frequent position reports on the balloons made it possible to

determine approximate wind speed and direction of the parcel of air in which each balloon was drifting. Some of the balloons went around the world several times in the southern hemisphere, and a few of them drifted in and out of the Antarctic. In addition to proving feasibility of the system, the GHOST tests have already added to our knowledge of atmospheric circulation in the southern hemisphere. New Weather Satellites. Meteorological satellites now look down on the earth with both television cameras and infrared sensors, which give day and night coverage of cloud patterns extending over hundreds of miles. In addition to cameras and infrared sensors, NASA's Nimbus 2 meteorological satellite, launched May 15, 1966, carried a new five-channel radiometer which obtains useful information on the atmospheric distribution of carbon dioxide and water vapor, and on the net radiation from the earth to space, thereby providing a daily measurement of the entire earth's heat balance budget. The Applications Technology Satellite (ATS-I), launched on December 6, is the first in a new series of synchronous meteorological satellites. Each of these satellites will remain stationary over some fixed point on the earth's equator at an altitude of approximately 22,000 statute miles. Improved television cameras give nearly as good ground resolution as earlier cameras gave from satellites in much lower orbits. ATS-I provides continuous daytime television coverage of cloud systems over much of the tropical Pacific, a notoriously data-poor area for meteorological research. Later satellites in this series will also provide nighttime coverage with infrared sensors. Again, the information yielded by these satellites will be a major contribution to the construction of theoretical models of the atmosphere, particularly when supplemented by special ground observational experiments. Atmospheric Chemistry. Microscopic and submicroscopic processes, such as those involved in cloud formation and dissipation, are of fundamental importance in the atmospheric circulation but are also important in weather modification efforts and in solution of the constantly increasing problem of air pollution control. A notable advance in atmospheric chemistry was reported during the year by staff members of the Robert A. Taft Sanitary Engineering Center in Cincinnati. These scientists detected certain inert fluoride gas compounds at far greater distances and in far more dilute concentrations than has heretofore been possible with chemical tracers. Their work opens the way to greatly expanded tracer study of pollution and of air mass movements. Weather Radar.

In 1966 a group of scientists from the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories and from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory reported the detection of highaltitude, clear-air turbulence by ground radars, an achievement also reported just previously from the Soviet Union. Since clear-air turbulence is a leading flight hazard to jet aircraft, this experiment suggests that an operational radar detection system could be developed that would inform aircraft of the location of these turbulent regions. International Cooperation. Progress in meteorology depends on ready exchange of weather information among nations. International cooperation has intensified in recent years, as both the costs and potential rewards of securing additional data have increased. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO), operating under United Nations' auspices, has established a basic plan for development of new world and regional data centers and communications networks for the purpose of increasing the practical value of satellite, GHOST system, and other observational data to the various national forecasting services in their daily operations. In addition, the WMO began to coordinate provisional plans for a Global Atmospheric Research Program, modeled on the International Geophysical Year, to be carried out during an intensive observational period in 1972. The goal of the program is to collect, analyze, and transmit data on a worldwide basis and on a scope far exceeding that encompassed by the already existing national observing networks. For this program to be successful, preliminary experiments must be carried out. One of these, planned during 1966 by U.S. research groups, consists of intensive surface-based observations in the equatorial Pacific, expected to begin in 1967. This tropical experiment is to be coordinated with observations from the ATS synchronous meteorological satellites and will be followed by other, international programs to study different regions in the equatorial belt. The eastern Caribbean will be the locale for the summer of 1968 and possibly the Gilbert and Ellice Islands in 1969. Weather Modification. Programs for weather modification on a significant scale depend on securing reliable long-range forecasts to assess the effects of modification efforts. This goal of long-range forecasting is at least several years in the future, and meanwhile cloud-seeding programs and experiments are carried out on an empirical basis.

The National Science Foundation established a requirement for 30 days notice before any weather modification attempt can be undertaken in the United States. The purpose is to allow for more systematic information gathering on modification efforts. Also in 1966 the National Science Foundation prepared a report on a possible national hail suppression research program. Microsoft Encarta 2009. 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.