PAOC Spotlights

Wind, war and weathermen

Tue June 7th, 2011
Peter Dizikes, MIT News Office
Carl-Gustaf Rossby, center, with a radiosonde in 1934. Photo courtesy of the MIT archivesWell into the 20th century, American weather forecasting was not a rigorous science, but an “art,” as a National Research Council report stated in 1918. Forecasters knew, among other things, that weather generally moved from the west; that high barometric pressure indicated cold temperatures; and that low pressure meant rain. They would collect data by telegraph, make charts and provide forecasts, which were often faulty. Weathermen were popular objects of ridicule. Read this MIT News article by Peter Dizikes for a potted history of the founding fathers of our program. [read more]