Global Atmospheric Research Program GARP

THE global atmospheric Research Program (GARP) was a 15-year international research program directed by the World Meteorological Organization and the International Council of Scientific Unions.

In 1962, after the successes of the 1957/58 International Geophysical Year, the General Assembly of the United Nations formally invited the International Council of the Scientific Unions to cooperate with the World Meteorological Organization in developing a program of research on atmospheric science. The Global Atmosphere Research Program (GARP) was the result of the work of a joint ICSU and WMO committee. The program was launched in 1967.

Led by Massachusetts Institute of Technology meteorologist Jule Charney, the Global Atmosphere Research Program played a crucial role in its pioneering influence in the use of satellites for continuous, global observation of the Earth and of computers for modeling global atmosphere circulation. The program produced some visionary collaborative experiments and results, notably the Atlantic Tropical Experiment, the first major experiment of GARP, whose goal was to understand the predictability of the atmosphere and extend the time range of daily weather forecasts to over two weeks. This experiment allowed to understand how tropical weather systems are organized and their connections with the overall tropical circulation. The experiment also provided insights into variations in surface temperature and other properties of the ocean. The experiment took place in the summer of 1974 in an experimental area that covered the tropical Atlantic Ocean from Africa to South America. The work had an international scope, and involved 40 research ships, 12 research aircraft, numerous buoys from 20 countries all equipped to obtain the observations specified in the scientific plan. The International Project Office located in Senegal acted as the director of operations. The Project Office was staffed by the nations involved. The Scientific Director was from the United States and the Deputy Scientific Director was from the Soviet Union. The operational plans were drawn every day taking into account the meteorological situation and each ship and aircraft carried out the plan. The data collected were analyzed by the nations participating in accordance with an overall plan and made available without restrictions to all scientists in the world. Research using these data still goes on today, more than three decades later, and it is estimated that over a thousand papers have been published based on the data collected during this short period in 1974. The experiment involved the world's best scientists, all types of engineers, technicians, pilots, ship captains, logistics specialists, computer specialists, as well as senior policy makers from science agencies and foreign ministries in a large number of countries. The experiment led on to the highly successful 1979 Global Weather Experiment which paved the way for the scientific foundation to restructure the WMO's operational World Weather Watch. Under Charney's leadership, GARP was the first truly international research program involving climate. Charney had always argued in favor of international cooperation in meteorology in spite of the divisive political climate of the Cold War years. The important goals reached by GARP did justice to his assertion that the lack of global observations and exchange between nations prevented examination of the global side of meteorology.

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