Satellites were a new technology brought forth by the Cold War and the space race. They monitored military activities, but meteorologists and geophysicists also saw opportunities in this development. The satellites could be used for gathering data about the weather conditions high in the atmosphere, creating a basis for better weather forecasts, including the first generation of computer models for weather prediction. For the United States, an international collaboration could also provide insights in the Soviet meteorological program. In 1963 in an address to the United Nations about the peaceful uses of satellites, US President J. F. Kennedy proposed an international cooperative effort for weather prediction and eventually weather control in order to have better understanding of the global climate system.72 With the WMO up and running, the organizational framework was in place for such a proposal and in 1963 the World Weather Watch became one of its core activities.73 A major activity for the World Weather Watch was to set standards for how weather data was to be gathered. Such standards can be seen as a co-production of science and policy. Edwards describes them as socially constructed tools: "They embody the outcome of negotiations that are simultaneously technical, social and political in character."74 To set standards had been a long-time ambition among meteorologists but previously had been met with limited success.75 The World Weather Watch also linked data collections from different sources, including satellites, rockets, buoys, radiosondes, commercial aircrafts, and conventional observing sta-tions.76 The World Weather Watch thus illustrates how an intergovernmental regime could provide a more efficient structure for streamlining data gathering than the former non-governmental cooperative efforts with similar ambitions.
Global systems studies were also of interest to ICSU, and together with the WMO this nongovernmental organization set up the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) in 1967. GARP included both panels of specialists running different research projects and a board of government representatives responsible for funding and other support. It thus had the co-production of science and policy explicitly built into its structure and norms. A central activity of GARP was to gather data sets on a global scale, which further enforced the standardization efforts of the World Weather Watch. A driving force to standardize data was that data had to be usable in the computer models that were developing at the time - early forerunners of today's global climate models.77 As
Agrawala, "Context and Early Origin of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change"; Edwards,
"Representing the Global Atmosphere," 48.
Weart, "The Discovery of Global Warming," International-5.
Paul N. Edwards, "'A Vast Machine': Standards As Social Technology," Science 304, (2004): 827.
Edwards, "'A Vast Machine': Standards As Social Technology." Edwards, "Representing the Global Atmosphere," 47-48.
Weart, "The Discovery of Global Warming," International-6; Edwards, "Representing the Global Atmosphere."
indicated by the name - Global Atmospheric Research Program - climate science was at this time increasingly framing the issues in global terms and focusing on understanding the global climate system.
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