Weather Forecasting

February 2, 1979

Report Outline
Action to Improve Reliability
Evolution of Weather Services
Prediction and Control Outlook
Special Focus

Action to Improve Reliability

This Year's Global Weather Experiment

The global Weather Experiment — the largest international scientific experiment in history — began Jan. 5 with a goal equal to the scope of the venture: improving man's ability to predict the weather. With worldwide drought in the background and the prospect of weather disasters always looming in the future, improved weather forecasting seems to be a goal that transcends ideology, national rivalries and international politics.

Scheduled to run the entire year of 1979, the experiment is a joint project of the International Council of Scientific Unions and the United Nations World Meteorological Organization. It involves 147 nations, six earth-orbiting satellites, 50 ships, 110 aircraft, 300 high-altitude balloons, 300 floating buoys, and a $300 million pricetag.

It is these statistics that lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. agency in the Department of Commerce that houses the National Weather Service, to claim that the Global Weather Experiment “constitutes the largest international scientific experiment ever held.” In the words of Verner E. Suomi of the University of Wisconsin, chairman of America's involvement in the experiment, it will “give the Earth's atmosphere its first complete physical examination.” The U.S. share of the cost is $100 million and several federal agencies and military services are involved in addition to NOAA.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Weather Forecasting
Sep. 09, 2011  Extreme Weather
Jun. 15, 1990  Progress in Weather Forecasting
Sep. 05, 1980  Weather Control
Feb. 02, 1979  Weather Forecasting
Jul. 12, 1974  World Weather Trends
Apr. 13, 1960  Weather Forecasting and Control
Oct. 19, 1953  Weather Modification
Atmospheric Sciences