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United States Weather Bureau: Encyclopedia Arctica 7: Meteorology and Oceanography
Stefansson, Vilhjalmur, 1879-1962

United States Weather Bureau

EA-Meteorology

UNITED STATES WEATHER BUREAU

Organization and History
The national weather service, now known as the Weather Bureau of the
Department of Commerce, was established by a joint Congressional Resolution
of February 9, 1870, which authorized the secretary of War to organize a
meteorological service based on reports from military posts throughout the
country. On February 28, 1870, the Secretary assigned the responsibility
for carrying out this program to the Chief Signal Officer, Brig. Gen. Albert J.
Myer. The Signal Service initiated and operated the national weather service
for the next twenty years, under the direction of Myer and his successors,
Brig. Gen. William B. Hazen and Brig. Gen. Adolphus W. Greely.
By Act of October 1, 1890, the service was reorganized as a civilian
agency and transferred to the Department of Agriculture, effective July 1,
1891. The first chief of the civilian Weather Bureau was Mark L. Harrington,
who served from 1891-1895. He was followed by Willis L. Moore (1895-1913),
Charles F. Marvin (1913-1934), Willis R. Gregg (1934-1938), and the present
Chief of Bureau, Francis W. Reichelderfer. On June 30, 1940, the Bureau was
transferred to the Department of Commerce by Reorganization Plan No. 4.
The basic purpose of the Weather Bureau is to collect, process, and
disseminate weather information necessary to the public safety and the

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national welfare. Specific laws enacted by the Congress require it to
discharge numerous authorized services in applied meteorology. These include
the taking of weather observations and the issuance of weather reports for
the benefit of agriculture, industry, commerce, and navigation, especially
aviation; the dissemination of weather forecasts, storm, frost, and cold
wave warnings; the gaging and forecasting of river stage and flood condi–
tions; and the maintenance, analysis, and publication of weather records.
To carry out these assignments the Bureau operates approximately 450 public
weather service stations and about 10,000 purely subordinate weather ob–
serving and reporting stations. For administrative purposes, these stations
are grouped into eight regions embracing the continental United States and
Alaska; the eight regional offices in turn report to the central office in
Washington, D. C. In addition, since it has been authorized by the Congress
to cooperate with foreign meteorological services and participate in the
development of an international meteorological network, the Bureau maintains
stations at several overseas points, on Atlantic and Pacific weather ships
(in cooperation with the U. S. Coast Guard), and in the north polar regions.
Arctic Work of The Bureau
By far the most famous representative of the early weather service in
the field of Arctic exploration was Adolphus W. Greely. General Greely, who
rose to command of the Signal Corps after long and brilliant service, became
the object of international attention by his expedition to Ellesmere Island
in 1881-1884. The courage and ability displayed by Greely, then a young
lieutenant, in coping with the misfortunes that beset his party aroused world–
wide interest. The efforts to rescue the lost expedition, the story of its

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struggle with starvation and cold, the discoveries and scientific investiga–
tions it nevertheless succeeded in making — these are the elements of one of
the great epics of arctic adventure, an account of which is given below.
Greely’s achievement, however, was by no means an isolated episode.
On the contrary, the national weather service from its very inception
utilized every opportunity to contribute to the meteorology of the Far North.
Three important factors led the Signal Service to participate in the arctic
work. The first of these arose from the purchase of the Territory of Alaska,
which was formally transferred to the United States in October 1867. Prac–
tically nothing was then known of the geography, natural resources, or
climate of the vast interior region beyond the Russian coastal settlements.
To the Signal Service fell the chief responsibility for ascertaining the
meteorological facts about the nation’s new addition.
Closely related to this special interest in Alaska was a second reason
for attention to the arctic regions in general. During its formative years,
the observational network of the Signal Service was extremely limited. Less
than a score of reporting stations were scattered over the huge expanse of
the continental United States west of the 102d meridian; a handful of ob–
servatories were located in the West Indies; and no weather data were received
from Mexico at all. To the north, the coverage was similarly inadequate.
Reports were exchanged with a few Canadian stations, almost all of them in
the southeastern part of the Dominion, so that the entire expanse of North
America above the Canadian border was to all intents and purposes a meteoro–
logical terra incognita .
The lack of reports from areas important to the weather of the United States

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was a forecasting handicap which had to be removed. Ignorance of conditions
in the Arctic was particularly embarrassing in connection with the winter
cold waves originating there. General Myer early took action to make the
coverage of the weather map as extensive as possible. The observational
network was first enlarged in June 1871, by distributing reporting forms
to masters of vessels along the Atlantic coast; in 1872 the first steps
were taken toward securing data from Alaska; and in 1873 Myer began the
organization of simultaneous weather observations throughout the Northern
Hemisphere.
The third reason for the early attention given by the Signal Service
to arctic meteorology was the widespread interest among scientists of the
nineteenth century in the northern regions. Numerous expeditions, primarily
bent on discovery but also intended for scientific observations, visited
the high latitudes during this period. Considerable knowledge was thus
obtained, but it was scattered, uncoordinated, and inconclusive. In 1875,
Karl Weyprecht, a lieutenant in the Austrian navy, urged that future arctic
investigations be carried out under concerted international direction, so
that special studies might be made in places where they were most needed and
all observations be made as nearly simultaneous and standardized as possible.
Weyprecht’s proposals resulted in the convening of the International Polar
Conference in 1879 and the planning of the International Polar Year for 1882.
The United States was represented at the Conference and took a leading part
in the work of the International Polar Year.
In the summer of 1872, the United States government dispatches a s pecial
agent to the Pribilof Islands, in the Bering Sea west of Alaska, for the

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purpose of studying the fur seal which congre g ated there and about which little
was then known. At the same time a Signal Service observer was sent to the
island of St. Paul, one of the Pribilofs, and weather observations were begun
in August 1872. An idea of the difficulties and dangers attending this
assignment may be gathered from the fact that the second observer sent to
St. Paul, Edward J. Gill, perished in the course of a violent storm which
swept the island in October 1876. Observations were thereafter continued
with some interruptions until the end of June 1883, when they were finally
discontinued by the Signal Service.
Weather posts were subsequently established, however, at a number of
other Alaskan locations. Most of them were situated along the coast, although
a few interior stations were maintained for brief periods. In 1886, a number
of causes, including a decrease in appropriations, led to the abandonment of
all the stations in Alaska, with the exception of Sitka. About a year later,
in September 1887, Sitka too was abandoned, thus concluding the work of the
Signal Service in Alaska. (See: A. J. Henry, “Meteorological Work in Alaska,”
Monthly Weather Review, Vol. 26 (1898), 154-157.)
Of the Alaskan stations, the one most closely associated with arctic
work was that established by the International Polar Expedition to Point Barrow.
The expedition was dispatched as one of the two contributions by the United
States to the chain of high-latitude magnetic and meteorological observatories
established for the International Polar Year (1882). The other was the expedi–
tion to Lady Franklin Bay, Ellesmere Island, under Lieut. A. W. Greely, which
is described below.
The Point Barrow expedition, commanded by Lieut. P. H. Ray of the Signal

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Service, sailed from San Francisco on July 18, 1881, and anchored off Point
Barrow on September 8th. A wooden building was constructed, observational
equipment installed, and hourly observations taken in meteorology, commencing
October 15, and in magnetism, beginning Dece m ber 1. During the next two
years the twelve members of the expedition discharged their duties success–
fully and with high morale. Not a single man was on sick report, something
unusual with contemporaneous arctic expeditions. Two exploring trips were
made into the interior, and a large collection in natural history and eth–
nology obtained. On August 22, 1883, the expedition left Point Barrow. It
returned to San Francisco on October 7, and was formally disbanded eight days
later. With a touch of pardonable pride, Ray wrote in his official report
that the expedition “had established and maintained itself at the northern
extremity of this continent in latitude 71°l6′ north, had successfully carried
out the instructions received from the Chief Signal Officer; and had brought
back the record of an unbroken series of hourly observations in meteorology,
magnetism, tides, and earth temperatures.” ( Report of the International Polar
Expedition to Point Barrow . . . Part Two, Narrative, by Lieut. P. H. Ray,
Washington, Government Printing Office, 1885, p. 34.)
Following the cassation of the Signal Service’s Alaskan operations in
1887, a hiatus ensued before the Weather Bureau undertook the redevelopment
of a meteorological and climatological network in the Territory. Since this
reconstruction pertains more to the growth of Alaska than to the history of
arctic meteorology, it is not here discussed. Further information may be
found in the Monthly Weather Review , Vol. 44, (1916), 463; Vol. 58 (1930),
85-103.

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From the beginning, the national weather service was called upon to
supply meteorological assistance to a series of arctic expeditions. The
first of these was the Polaris expedition of 1871, Capt. Charles F. Hall
commanding. The Chief Signal Officer assigned Sgt. Frederick Meyer to the
Polaris as weather observer, with instructions to take very elaborate ob–
servations in the physical sciences. Meyer did his utmost to discharge
his duties, but the expedition came to grief and most of his records were
unfortunately lost.
The Polaris passed the winter of 1871-72 in Thank God Harbor on the
West Greenland coast at 81°37′ North latitude. The expedition was unable
to break the vessel out of its icy harbor until August 12, 1872. Then, al–
ternately steaming and drifting with the ice, they moved southward until a
violent gale on October 15 threatened the destruction of the vessel. Pro–
visions, clothing, and valuable papers were thrown out on an ice floe. In
the confusion the expedition’s records and part of the supplies were lost,
and nineteen members of the expedition (of whom Sgt. Meyer was one) became
separated from the ship and left on the floe. After drifting 1,300 miles,
they were picked up by a sealing ship off Labrador on April 30, 1873. That
Meyer managed to take wind direction and air temperature observations while
in this dangerous situation speaks eloquently of his devotion to duty. (See:
A. W. Greely, Handbook of Polar Discoveries , 4th ed., Boston, 1909.)
As part of its contribution to the International Polar Year (1882),
the United States agreed to establish two weather stations in the Arctic.
Ray’s expedition to Point Barrow has already been mentioned; Greely’s work
remains to be discussed.

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On August 3, 1881, the Greely party of twenty-five, including meteorolo–
gists especially enlisted for the purpose of the expedition, landed at Lady
Franklin Bay on the east coast of Ellesmere Island. Quarters (christened
Fort Conger) were speedily erected and scientific activities similar to
those of the Ray expedition were at once commenced. Exploratory sledge
journeys were also made, and a large glacial lake discovered in the interior
of Ellesmere Island was named Lake Hazen after the then Chief Signal Officer.
When the relief ship failed to appear in 1883, the expedition was forced to
abandon Fort Conger and retreat southward by small boat. Ice and bad
weather soon forced them ashore, and only six survivors were left when
rescue case in June 1884. But — the instruments and the scientific records
were safe. As a result of the courage and devotion to duty, displayed by
all concerned, the scientific accomplishments of the Greely expedition were
considerable. In particular, its meteorological observations were for many
years the sole source of information on weather conditions in the Ellesmere
Island area. (See: A. W. Greely: Three Years of Arctic Service , New York,
1886; Proceedings of the United States Expedition to Lady Franklin Bay ,
Washington, 1888.)
Evelyn Briggs Baldwin, a Weather Bureau observer, participated in three
arctic expeditions around the turn of the century. He accompanied Peary on
the North Greenland expediti o n based at Bowdoin Bay in 1893-94, using a set
of meteorological instruments provided by the courtesy of the Chief of the
Weather Bureau. His “Meteorological and Auroral Notes” on this expedition
are published in Peary’s Northward over the Great Ice (New York, 1898, Vol. 2).
In 1898-99, Baldwin was in charge of the meteorological work of the second

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Wellman expedition to Franz Josef La n d. Instrumental equipment was again
supplied by the Weather Bureau. Baldwin’s observations of atmospheric
pressure, temperature, wind, clouds, and general weather conditions in
Franz Josef Land are continuous from August 3, 1898, to July 27, 1899.
From early August to the end of October 1898, he led an eighty-six day
sledge trip which determined the eastern coastline of Wilczek Land and
discovered several islands to the northeast, one of which Baldwin named in
honor of Willis L. Moore, Chief of the Weather Bureau. (See: Report of
the Chief of the Weather Bureau, 1899-1900, Part VII, “Meteorological
Observations of the Second Wellman Expedition,” Washington, Government
Printing Office, 1901.) Baldwin returned to Franz Josef Land in 1900 as
the leader of the Baldwin-Ziegler Arctic Expedition, which proposed to
reach the North Pole by dog sled from a base camp in Franz Josef Land.
This hope was thwarted by a series of misfortunes, and the expedition re–
turned in late 1902.
Over twenty years were to elapse before the Weather Bureau was again
actively involved in arctic work. The cause of this resurgence of interest
was the rapid development of aviation following World War I. Airplane and
airship offered to explorers the opportunity of traversing the polar regions
with unprecedented ease. Earlier arctic meteorological data were mainly
derived from the surface weather elements; aviation raised the need for a
knowledge of flying conditions in the free atmosphere. In this connection,
it is interesting to note that an analysis made in 1924 of the information
than available on arctic weather led to the conclusion that “an airship
journey in the arctic summer seems, therefore, as far as the meteorological

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viewpoint, appears to be, not the conditions within the polar basin, but
on its rim. Getting into the Arctic through Alaska or Northern Canada
and out again through Siberia or Northern Europe, and vice versa, is the
first big problem to overcome, so far as weather is concerned.” ( Aeronau–
tical Meteorology
, Hew York, 1925.) These were amazingly prophetic state–
ments at a time when the Arctic was still widely regarded as unflyable.
Because of the need for Arctic aerological data, the Weather Bureau
cooperated closely with the Byrd North Pole expedition of April-June 1926.
Weather observational equipment was supplied by the Bureau, and W. C. Haines
of its Aerological Divisi o n volunteered to serve as meteorological observer
and adviser. Besides taking surface and upper air observations at Spits–
bergen, Haines made forecasts for the expedition’s exploring flights. Almost
simultaneously, the Weather Bureau was furnishing weather reports to the
Amundsen-Ellswroth flight (May 1926) across the North Pole in the dirigible
Norge . The success of these pioneer ventures greatly stimulated interest in
arctic (and antarctic) meteorology.
It may be convenient to summarize briefly at this point the Weather
Bureau’s contacts with antarctic exploration, W. C. Haines again accom–
panied Byrd on his 1928-30 expedition to Little America, and with H. T. Har–
rison took nearly fourteen months’ surface and upper air observations.
Returning to the same location on the 1933-35 journey, Haines assisted
G. Grimminger in setting up the meteorological facilities, and the latter
obtained a series of about thirteen months’ observations. The meteorolog–
ical results of these two expeditions have been published as Supplements
Nos. 41-42 of the Monthly Weather Review . Representatives of the Bureau

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have also been present on subsequent visits to Little America: H. G. Dorsey,
Jr. and A. P. Court in 1939-41, B. C. Haynes in 1946-47, and J. H. Beall in
1947-48. In addition to the observational work, forecasts were prepared as
needed for the survey and exploration flights made on these expeditions.
In June 1926, the University of Michigan dispatched a party under the
leadership of W. H. Hobbs for the purpose of studying the winds over the
Greenland icecap. S. P. Fergusson of the Weather Bureau served as aerologist
on this first Hobbs expedition, and weather observing equipment was supplied
on loan by the Bureau. A series of some ninety upper-winds observations,
made by Fergusson during July-August 1926, contributed valuable information
on the structure of the Greenland glacial anticyclone. C. R. Kallquist was
the Weather Bureau member on the second Hobbs expedition to Greenland in the
summer of 1927. On the third expedition, in the following year, teats were
made of Weather Bureau kite-meteorograph equipment for determining pressure
and temperature conditions in the free air. (See: W. H. Hobbs, Exploring
about the North Pole of Winds , New York, 1930.)
The approach of the International Polar Year in 1932 meant, as it did
fifty years before, the preparation by the Weather Bureau of a comprehensive
program of participation. Its plans for aerological observations included
pilot-balloon observations twice daily at Barrow, Alaska, and continuation
of this schedule at. three other Alaskan and about seventy continental United
States points; airplane observations at Fairbanks, Alaska, and five cities
in continental United states; and kite and sounding-balloon observations at
a few other cities. A program of auroral, polar radiation, and special cloud
observations also was prepared. Plans were formulated, moreover, to reoccupy

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Fort Conger on Ellesmere Island, made famous by the Greely expedition of
1881-1884, for the purpose of conducting high-latitude meteorological,
auroral, and magnetic studies, but these plans proved impossible of execution.
In 1937, C. J. MacGregor, who had been at Barrow in 1932, secured leave
of absence from the Weather Bureau in order to lead an expedition to Fort
Conger and carry out the International Year program. The MacGregor party
set sail in July 1937; its northward progress was stopped in the following
month by ice at the lower end of Robeson Channel. Access to Ellesmere Island
being denied by ice, the expedition sought winter quarters at Etah, Greenland.
Hourly observations were taken from September 3, 1937, to July 7, 1938, and
are summarized in the Monthly Weather Review , Vol. 67 (1939), 366-383.
One of the effects of World War II was the immense stimulation it gave
to arctic meteorology. This impetus came about mainly in two ways. The first
was the importance of a knowledge of weather conditions in the North Canada–
Greenland area to the planning of European military operations. The type of
weather moving from these arctic regions southward and eastward was a key factor
in determining the success or failure of bombing missions, infantry advances,
naval movements, air, land, and sea operations of all kinds. The strenuous
effort made by the Germans to maintain a weather station in northeastern Green–
land offers sufficient testimony on this point. In the second place, successful
forecasts for the huge volume of military air traffic across the North Atlantic
proved practically impossible without high-latitude observational data.
Early in the war, accordingly, the U. S. Air Force set about the construc–
tion of air bases and weather stati o ns in the vital northern regions. Men with
arctic experience were sought out for the task, and the vast resources of the

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United States war machine placed at their disposal. Because the primary
effort was focused on the North Atlantic flight route, which lay south of
the Arctic Circle, the meterogological and other supporting installations
were set up in northern Canada and Greenland in latitudes which were actually
subarctic. Methods were devised in the course of these activities, however,
which could be applied successfully to operations within the arctic zone.
For the first time in history modern machines and engineering techniques were
systematically brought to bear on those problems of transportation, construc–
tion, maintenance, and communication which assume peculiar difficulty in high
latitudes. The result meant a revolution in arctic work. It meant the final
realization of the hopes wh i ch had been cherished during the centuries by such
famous arctic explorers as Parry, Franklin, Hares, Peary, and many others, and
which had prompted the gallant effor st ts of Greely, Ray, and Baldwin to uncover
the secrets of the icy North.
With the conclusion of active hostilities, a development occurred which
was to insure the continuation of the wartime work. It was the great and rapid
expansion of transatlantic commercial aviation. This, together with the de–
mobilization of the military weather units, placed upon the U. S. Weather Bureau
the responsibility of providing an increased transatlantic forecasting service.
In addition, the improvement of methods of long-range weather forecasting for
the Northern Hemisphere in general and the United States in particular was also
seen to be dependent on a better knowledge of arctic weather factors.
The consequent importance of setting up observation posts in even higher
latitudes than had been attempted during the war was clearly recognized by the
Congress. In February 1946, by Public Law 296 (79th Cong., 2d sess.) it was

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enacted “That in order to improve the weather forecasting service of the
United States and to promote safety and efficiency in civil air navigation
to the highest possible degree, the Chief of the Weather Bureau, under the
direction of the Secretary of Commerce, shall... take such action as may
be necessary in the development of an international basic meteorological
reporting network in the Arctic region of the Western Hemisphere, including
the establishment, operation, and maintenance of such reporting stations
in cooperation with the State Department and other United States governmental
departments and agencies, with the meteorological services of foreign coun–
tries and with persons engaged in air commerce.”
The contents of this Congressional directive mark it as a milestone
in the Weather Bureau’s history. It reaffirmed the historic policy of inter–
national cooperation, so important to a science such as meteorology, which
had been laid down in the organic legislation of the Bureau, at the same time
that it gave specific authorization for translating broad policy in terms of
concrete action.
To carry out the provisions of Public Law 296, an Arctic Operations
Section was created in the Weather Bureau. Charles J. Hubbard, who had
directed many of the Air Forced Canadian and Greenland projects, was placed
in charge. Qualified arctic veterans were brought into the section, including
J. G. Dyer and E. E. Goodale, both with previous Arctic and Antarctic ex–
perience and broad technical backgrounds. Sir Hubert Wilkins was engaged as
a consultant, and every effort made to utilize the best lessons of the past
in planning the new Arctic Operations program.
At the very outset, the participation of the Danish and Canadian govern–
ments was sought for and obtained. Their participation has not been of a

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passive nature; on the contrary, the active interest taken by these govern–
ments, and especially by their meteorological services, has greatly ex–
pedited the progress of the project. They have contributed qualified per–
sonnel to the stations established in the Arctic, besides assisting materi–
ally in numerous ways. Above all, their cooperation has stamped the program
with the character of a genuinely scientific movement, the benefits of which
will ultimately accrue to all mankind.
The program was implemented by pooling the resources and special skills
of the governmental agencies involved, The U. S. Navy undertook to provide
whatever vessels were necessary for each particular mission, The U. S. Air
Force agreed to supply the required aircraft, and undertook the construction
of emergency air strips at the designated weather station sites. It also
provided the long-range ice reconnaissance flights which proved so helpful in
guiding the Navy vessels through icy arctic waterways. Finally, the coopera–
tion of interested scientific organizations was invited, with the aim of
adding other studies in natural science to the meteorological schedule.
The initial effort of Arctic Operations was the foundation in the summer
of 1946 of a meteorological and geophysical observatory at Thule, on the north–
west coast of Greenland, The Danish government was an active partner in this
undertaking: one-half of the staff are Danes, and the station will be transferred
to their entire control at an appropriate later date, Thule, with E. E. Goodale
as first official in charge of American personnel, began regular transmission
of surface and upper air weather observations by radio to the international
distribution circuits in September 1946.

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The second achievement of Arctic Operations, planned by C. J. Hubbard
and J. G. Dyer, was the weather post at Slidre Bay on Eureka Sound. Located
on the west coast of Ellesmere Island within 600 geographical miles of the
North Pole, this section is one of the most remote and little known in the
entire Arctic. In April 1947, the station was established by the use of a
Fairchild Flying Packet and three C-47 cargo airplanes operating from Thule.
Men and supplies were landed without incident on the ice of Eureka Sound.
The first airplane landed on April 7th, and 41 plane loads followed swiftly
to complete the operation. The station was in working order before the end
of the month, beginning regular transmission of surface and upper air ob–
servations in May 1947. Paralleling the arrangement at Thule, half of the
Eureka Sound personnel are Canadians.
Spectacular as were the Thule and Eureka Sound operations, they were
surpassed at least in magnitude by the activities of the summer season of
1947. A joint expedition of the Weather Bureau, Navy, Air Force, and Canadian
Meteorological Service completed the following objectives: (1) establishment
of a new central weather station and air strip at Resolute Bay on Cornwallis
Island, (a) resupply and personnel replacement for Thule and Eureka Sound,
and (3) installation of an automatic weather station at Dundas Harbor on
Devon Island.
For these operations, the U. S. Navy furnished four ships: the ice–
breaker U. S. S. Edisto and three cargo vessels. They rendezvoused at Thule
in late July, and resupplied and restaffed the station. On board one of the
cargo ships was an automatic weather station provided by the Navy. On July
28th, this automatic station was set up in less than eight hours on the point

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at the east entrance to Dundas Harbor on Devon Island, Dundas, Station 910,
thus took its place on the list of international weather observing points.
In preparation for later operations, airplane and ship reconnaissance
was conducted in the Eureka, Lancaster, and Melville Bound areas, A heli–
copter proved extremely useful in scouting out leads for the vessels to follow.
These surveys resulted in the conclusion that only the icebreaker, U. S. S.
Edisto , could safely be taken through the heavy pack of Norwegian Bay to the
Eureka Sound weather station. Eighty [: ]-four tons of cargo were accordingly
transferred to it, and on August 8th the icebreaker departed from Goose Fjord
on Jones Sound. The following day it anchored in open water off the weather
station, marking the first time that a vessel had ever penetrated the waters
of Eureka Sound. New buildings were erected, and much food, fuel, and miscel–
laneous supplies put ashore. One Canadian and one United States representa–
tive were added to the station’s staff, bringing the complement up to eight.
Following the successful completion of this mission, the icebreaker under–
took on August 15th a second reconnaissance of Melville Sound. Four days later,
in ice and fog, south of Martin Byam Island, it suffered damage to its port
propeller. This accident halved the vessel’s power, and seriously reduced its
chances of penetrating through the heavy ice to Melville Island. The original
intention had been to utilize the remaining supplies brought north by the cargo
ships in establishing a station at Winter Harbour, on the south coast of Mel–
ville Island. This station was to be the first westward extension of the arctic
meteorological network. Furthermore, it was planned to build a weather station
and airstrip at some central location, subsequent to the construction of the
western outpost. The accident to the icebreaker suggested the advisability of

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reversing this tentative schedule. After it had become clear that Melville
Island could not be reached during the 1947 season, it was decided to locate
the central base at Resolute Bay on Cornwallis Island, a site which had pre–
viously been examined and found satisfactory for the purpose. The Resolute
Bay operation was commenced on August 3lst; most of the camp construction and
the airstrip were finished between the Navy vessels left on September 13th.
Air Force engineering personnel remained to finish these assignments, and
were evacuated later by airplane.
With a crew of sixteen, equally divided into Americans and Canadians,
the Resolute Bay weather station (74°42′ N. lat., 94°55′ W. long.) is in
successful working order. As is true of the other two arctic stations, it is
taking both surface and upper air observations. Notewrothy, too, is the fact
that they are all equipped with raywindsonde apparatus, the latest device for
obtaining the speed and direction of the upper winds simultaneous with the
values of temperature, pressure, and humidity at various levels aloft. As yet
only a relatively few stations in the United States are thus equipped. In
every sense of t eh he word, the arctic stations are full-fledged members of the
international weather network.
Future plans of the Arctic Operations Section call for the establishment
of two western stations during 1948: - one on Isachsen Island and the other
on Prince Patrick Island. The delayed Winter Harbour location will be filled
in at some future date. It is also hoped to develop a weather station located
at an extremely high latitude, probably the northernmost meteorological outpost
in the world. Ultimately, the Canadian Arctic archipelago will be covered by
suitably-spaced weather observatories, and one of the long-time goals of inter–
national meteorology as well as of the U. S. Weather Bureau at last realized.
(Note: This article, prepared for the Encyclopedia Arctica, by direction of
Dr. Francis W. Riechelderfer, Chief of the U. S. Weather Bureau, was written
in 1948. For more recent developments in the North American Arctic, see
article on “Canadian Meteorology.”)
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