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Entered as second-class matter March 1, 1920, at the Post Office at Easton, Pennsylvania, under the Act of August 24, 1912.




Vol. 1

Published Monthly by the American Meteorological Society
Publication office: 207 Church Street, Easton, Pa.

MAY, 1920


No. 5

"Two years ago I would have said that a consulting geographer would be of no value to my business, a year ago I would have been doubtful, to-day I can say without hesitation that his worth to this concern would justify a salary measurable in tens of thousands of dollars a year.” Such, in effect, was the reported statement of a prominent New York business man when Dr. W. L. Tower asked him, "What value do you place on the services of a consulting geographer?”1 What interest has this for the meteorologist? Dr. Tower, told of a variety of problems he was required to solve, as a consulting geographer, among them being such a meteorological one as to determine the proper dates for shipping steel from Atlantic and Pacific ports of the United States to various places in India, so as never to arrive during the monsoon rains, and, if possible, to reach the Indian ports when the demand was greatest and transportation to inland places most favorable.

But could a consulting meteorologist make a living, that is, would there be enough problems to keep him busy? One answer is that there are now at least three successful consulting meteorologists in the United States who are thriving in spite of the fact that each of the 200-odd regular Weather Bureau stations is a free information bureau,2 and, notwithstanding that the advice sought from the Central Office of the Weather Bureau requires in the aggregate the full time of about three expert meteorologists. Two of these consulting meteorologists were in the Government service a year ago. What is there for consulting meteorologists to do?

A few of the classes of work for consulting meteorologists may be summarized as follows:

A. In hydraulic engineering.—The most successful all-round consulting hydraulic engineers are research meteorologists as well. For their work, (1) snow surveying, (2) studies of the relations between rainfall, rainfall interception and evaporation, and run-off, (3) close attention to frequencies of rainfalls of different intensities, and (4) knowledge of secular variations of rainfall. An example of (4) was mentioned by Dr. F. L. West at the St. Louis meeting of the Meteorological Society. During the discussion of Mr. A. W. Douglas's paper, "The relations of weather and business," he remarked that the prospective purchaser 1 From an address entitled, "The Place of Geography in Business," Association of American Geographers meeting in New York City, April 16, 1920. 2 See March BULLETIN, pp. 32-33.

See Mo. Weather Rev., Dec., 1919, Vol. 47, p. 867; also this BULLETIN, Jan., 1920, p. 9.

of a water power plant in Utah, inquired concerning the relation of the rainfall of the last 10 years to the 35-year mean and found that it had been 25 per cent. in excess of normal, whereupon he was somewhat skeptical regarding his purchase, since the succeeding years would probably not yield so much power. For further details as to meteorology in hydraulic engineering, see "Additional meteorological data needed by engineers," by R. E. Horton.1

B. In agriculture.-Climatic surveying has been mentioned in some detail in the February BULLETIN, p. 21. Other aspects of applications of meteorology to agriculture are progressing so well under the leadership of Prof. J. Warren Smith, Chief of the Division of Agricultural Meteorology in the U. S. Weather Bureau, and under Mr. A. J. Connor in a similar position in the Canadian Meteorological Service, that opportunities for a consulting meteorologist in this field are not very numerous. Crop insurance against the weather offers an opportunity to a mathematically inclined meteorologist. Furthermore, a consulting meteorologist has proved to be a valuable helper in a large wholesale cotton distributing concern.

C. In business and industry.-The following letter recently received from the research department of a large distributing house in the Middle West speaks for itself:

"You may be interested to know what progress we are making in forecasting weather for our own purposes.

"We have taken some fifteen stations, chosen with particular reference to our own problems, and have charted precipitation month by month, for the length of the available records. We have endeavored to ascertain the most likely direction for each monthly curve to take in 1920, and each month are advising the interested parties, not that 'next month will have more (or less) rainfall than it did last year,' but that we believe that in the next thirty days the sale of wet weather goods will be better (or poorer), and the sale of dry weather goods poorer (or better), than last year. We are also doing somewhat the same thing with temperature, in an even more general way.

"So far, the predictions made as to rainfall (as compared with the previous year) have been eighty per cent. correct; this is based on about sixty forecasts. Over ninety per cent. were correct enough, leaving less than ten per cent. that fell wide of the mark.

"Of course one trouble is that one cannot predict extremes, and extremes are what everybody would like to know about most. It does seem, however, that a study of rainfall records makes it possible to give fairly accurate predictions of what to expect in the future. In the case of our own business, we believe that such predictions, general as they are, are worth while."

The statement, "one cannot predict extremes, and extremes are what everybody would like to know about most," leads me to offer the suggestion that, although there is no hope of immediate return for a small amount of labor, there is a reasonable probability that for about $100,000 a connection between the water surface temperatures of the ocean and the weather over the oceans and adjacent lands far into, if not across, the continents could be established and seasonal weather forecasts instituted on a basis not of probabilities as outlined in the letter, but of cause.2 This would make it possible to forecast extreme conditions.

Among other uses which industry might have for a consulting meteorologist the following may be mentioned: The location of manufacturing plants is a

1 Engineering News Record, Mar. 27, 1919, pp. 614-616; reprinted in Mo. Weather Rev., May, 1919, Vol. 47, pp. 305-307.

2 See Mo. Weather Rev., 1918, Vol. 46, pp. 510-512.

matter which frequently requires a careful consideration of climatic conditions;1 proper blast furnace mixtures depend closely on the humidity and temperature of the air; transportation of certain commodities requires a close consideration of weather to be experienced. As an example of the last-a company which had been losing oil, apparently by theft, from tank cars in transit, found, on investigation, that the tanks had been filled too full and that the actual temperatures experienced en route had expanded the oil enough to cause just the losses sustained. Even insurance companies need to know such details as the frequency of rains that would disturb the business of a scenic railway,—to cite an actual case brought to the Weather Bureau a month ago. (See also pp. 48–49. D. In aeronautics.-It is none too early for meteorologically inclined youths to begin training for the numerous positions of aeronautical meteorologist which will have to be filled before long. In fact one airship corporation is now searching the field for a consulting meteorologist. Here is what the well-known balloonist, Ralph H. Upson, has to say about this:



"The captain of a large air liner of the future will be a trained meteorologist himself and will have under his command at least one expert in the details of this subject. * We would put a great deal of refinement on the actual design of an aircraft to improve its performance a few per cent., but few realize that the proper 'weather navigation' of any large airplane or airship may often gain 50 per cent. or more."

Perhaps this note should close with "Exit: The Fakir," for with the rising appreciation of sound meteorological knowledge the field for professional rainmakers (see below) and for weather forecasters, "by rule of thumb," will become narrower. However, just as astrologers still hang on in spite of the present advanced stage reached by astronomy, it will be but natural for a peripheral cloud of weather-makers and storm-proclaimers to hover about the meteorological world.-Charles F. Brooks.


One of the many worthy objects of the American Meteorological Society is that of popular education concerning things meteorological. Of particular service is such information when it will prevent the wasteful expenditure of public money, or the foolish investment of funds by otherwise intelligent people in projects which are fraudulent. These remarks are suggested by the recent announcement by the newspapers that Mr. Charles M. Hatfield, of Los Angeles, referred to as "the famous rain-maker," signed a contract with a group of farmers in the San Joaquin Valley of California, where the rainfall was abnormally deficient for many months preceding March 1, 1920. The announcement stated that $1500 per inch would be paid to Mr. Hatfield for all precipitation recorded at Oakdale, California, up to April 10, 1920, it being assumed that by means of his "rain persuader" he would be able to produce the much-desired rainfall. The press agent in his reference to Mr. Hatfield said: "His method, while secret,

1See paper by W. M. Booth, Scientific American Suppl., Apr. 3, 1915, p. 219; Abstr., Science, Aug. 20, 1915, p. 251.

2 From "The Weather factor in long range aerial navigation," U. S. Air Service Mar., 1920 pp. 28-30.

See this BULLETIN, Mar., 1920, pp. 39-40.

consists in mixing chemicals in large tanks, the fumes of which cause precipitation. No rain, no pay. All you have to do is to assist Nature. There is always moisture in the air, if it can only be made to fall. 'I've made it a study of years, and I know the chemical condition necessary to precipitate the moisture.””

Under normal conditions, considerable rainfall may be expected in the San Joaquin Valley during the period covered by the contract. And as more than the normal precipitation was received there during that period in 1920, it is probable that Mr. Hatfield collected a goodly sum, if the press reports are true.

Late in 1915 the newspapers reported that the same gentleman signed an agreement with the city council of the city of San Diego, whereby he would be given $1000 if sufficient rain fell during the rainy season 1915-16 to fill the city water reservoirs, again on a “no rain, no pay" basis. It so happened that during January, 1916, southern California received abnormally heavy rains, the precipitation in the elevated portions of San Diego County being over 20 inches. The Lower Otay Dam was destroyed in the deluge, 17 lives were lost, and millions of dollars of damage was done by the floods. (See Mo. Weather Rev., Aug., 1918, pp. 376-377.)

A vast amount of educational propaganda is necessary to inform the public, particularly when accidents seem to favor a fradulent imposition. While it would be too much to attempt to inform the masses concerning all forms of scientific quackery and charlatanism, it ought at least to be possible to reach city officials and the more intelligent farmers. Barnum is credited with having said that the American people like to be humbugged. Such a remark is a libel on the intelligence of the American people. Only the ignorant masses through some pseudo-scientific trickery allow themselves to be deceived.-A. H. Palmer.

Why does such a rain-maker succeed? We can be sure that a modern community would not hire one until drought conditions became alarming. Such a state is the final product of several months of similar weather. It is about time for the weather to change and the rain-maker gets the money. An empirical investigation of the probabilities based on past, more or less similar occurrences, or, better yet, a deeper inquiry into why and how the "centers of action" of the atmosphere change would show a better place in which to sink "rainmaking" money.-C. F. Brooks.

APRIL 22, 1920.

The attendance at the Washington meeting was about the equal of that at the St. Louis and New York meetings combined. The Weather Bureau supplied ample facilities for accommodating the 50 people present at the morning session and the 40 present in the evening. As the meeting was not held in affiliation with any other society, the audience was not constantly coming and going during the sessions; and, in consequence, the discussion was enlivened by the feeling of intimacy and informality which developed.

The morning session was opened at 9.35 by an informal address of welcome by Prof. C. F. Marvin, Chief of the Weather Bureau. He discussed the opportuneness of the organization of the Society at this time when many outside interests awakened to the value of meteorology by its applications in the war were now seeking to apply weather knowledge more thoroughly to peace-time pursuits. The Society will be instrumental in effecting such extensions of meteorological applications, for it will bring together various groups. The signs already

indicate that commercial and industrial institutions will demand meteorologists for their staffs. Through the society the teachers of meteorology, now well represented in its membership, can be led to appreciate and to prepare for this rising demand for a widespread general knowledge of weather processes and for special training on the part of a few. The biggest problem before us is forecasting the weather. One present difficulty is to get away from empirical methods. This organization can do a great deal by farming out various projects among the fellows and members whether or not they may be in governmental meteorological services.

In the discussion, C. F. Brooks called attention to the rise of the profession of consulting meteorologist during the past year, and mentioned a few of the lines along which more work could be undertaken by such professional men.1 He called attention to the fact that mean winter temperatures of New York City had been more than 3° F. below normal on 8 occasions in the past 50 years, one of these being the winter just closed, and that following each of 6 of the other 7 the temperature of the succeeding winter had been above normal and at least 4° F. warmer than the cold winter preceding." Does this mean that the chances are 6 to 1 that next winter in New York City will be above normal and at least 4° warmer than that just passed? It seems to. Would it not be worth while to look into such matters farther? Unless the Weather Bureau or the Meteorological Society undertakes this, here is work for a consulting meteorologist for some coal company, or concrete construction corporation. W. J. Humphreys mentioned how the questions asked in one letter from a foundry concern about blast furnace requirements took a week of clerical work and 3 days more of computation to answer. They were told that if they wanted to know anything more they would have to hire their own man to work it out.

The scientific program comprised 15 papers, of which one was read in abstract and another by title only. These, with the discussions of the more technical ones, will be published in abstract or in full in the Monthly Weather Review as indicated after the title of each.

Dr. W. J. Humphreys, the Vice-President, presided at both sessions, since illness prevented the President, Prof. R. DeC. Ward, from making the journey from Cambridge.

Temperature scales and thermometer scales. E. W. Woolard. Mo. Weather Rev., May (?), 1920.

[The increments of temperature, or of degree of heat, as shown by the expansion of a thermometer fluid, do not indicate, exactly, proportional increments of amount of heat-each thermometer, in fact, defines its own scale of temperatures corresponding to equal increments of molecular motion. In the ideal gas thermometer equal expansions would correspond to equal heat increments, and since the minute departures of the hydrogen thermometer from this perfect thermodynamic scale are closely known, our thermometers may be indirectly calibrated with the perfect scale, and thus made independent of the vagaries due to the properties of any particular substance. The working instrument is the platinum resistance thermometer, and the thermometer scale (which is arbitrary) employed in scientific work is the Centigrade.]

Shall we adopt a half-degree absolute centigrade scale instead of the fahrenheit? Charles F. Marvin. Mo. Weather Rev., Abstract, May, (?) 1920. [Meteorologists make such extensive use of temperatures that their requirements as to a proper scale require consideration. Observations at the coöperative weather

1 See also pp. 45-47.

2 See Mo. Weather Rev.; Abstr. and disc. of J. Malcom Bird's article.

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