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    United States Weather Bureau

    Encyclopedia Arctica 7: Meteorology and Oceanography

    United States Weather Bureau

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    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


            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),


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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

    018      |      Vol_VII-0512                                                                                                                  
    EA-Met. Weather Bureau

    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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