The Sun as a Weather Prophet


COME forty years ago Prof. Langley, while engaged, on his earlybolometric work on the sun, grasped the principle that, inasmuch as solar radiation is the governing factor in world meteorology, it should ultimately become possible to forecast weather changes, so soon as sufficient information had been obtained in regard to the mechanism of the radiation effect, by continuous observation of the intensity of radiation. Gradual improvement in instruments and methods has enabled his successors to state positively that the so called solar constant is subject to variations of long and short period, and of late years determined attempts have been made, chiefly by the Smithsonian observers, to trace the meteorological changes that may fairly be attributed to these variations. It is clear that there are, from time to time, disturbing factors of apparently terrestrial origin—for instance, the eruption of Mount Katmai, in Alaska, in 1912, brought a promising summer to an abrupt and chilly clove in mid-July; but it is becoming more and more probable that the Smithsonian investigation is on the right lines, and will give definite aid to forecasting, at any rate in tropical and sub-tropical regions.


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B, W. The Sun as a Weather Prophet. Nature 105, 839–840 (1920).

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