Forecasting the War

At a recent speaking engagement I had the opportunity to have a brief but fascinating conversation with a World War II veteran that was a meteorologist in the Pacific Theatre during the war.  Even with modern technology, forecasting in thePacific Oceanis difficult because of the lack of weather information due to the shear size involved and the few reporting stations.

Satellite data in combination with computer modeling makes for respectable forecasting in the modern era, but of course in the 1940s neither was available.  But the combination of some pilot reports, station reports from ships and islands and good old fashioned experience made for a useful 24 hour forecast.

I often tell students that by simply paying attention to the weather, especially the sky, you can make a respectable forecast for the next day.  The clouds tell a story, their structure, type and movement give hints to the future; you just need to look up.  Sometimes we forgot that old techniques can be more valuable than looking at a computer screen.

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