The purpose of the Compendium of Meteorology is to take stock of the present position of meteorology, to summarize and appraise the knowledge which untiring research has been able to wrest from nature during past years, and to indicate the avenues of further study and research which need to be explored in order to extend the frontiers of our knowledge. Perhaps it is appropriate that this stocktaking should be made as we enter the second half of the twentieth century, for surely no one can read the pages which follow without experiencing the feeling that we are on the threshold ofan exciting era of meteorological history in which significant advancements are possible toward a better understanding of the physical laws which govern the workings of the atmosphere. That this progress will not be made without some difficulty is quite apparent from the number of unsolved problems which still remain as a challenge to the research worker in spite of the centuries of study which have been devoted to the nature and behavior of the atmosphere. If this book will have clarified and defined these problems, it will have fulfilled the purpose of those who planned it.
The desirability of a survey of the current state of meteorology became apparent during the years following World War II, when research effort was being greatly intensified not only in meteorology but also in other fields of pure and applied science in which the importance of meteorological factors was coming into recognition. The idea that meteorologists and atmospheric physicists from all over the world might combine their efforts to prepare a work of this nature took definite shape in 1948 when the Geophysics Research Division of the Air Force Cambridge Research Center invited the American Meteorological Society to draw up plans for a book in which specialists in the several fields of meteorology would appraise the state of knowledge in their respective specialties. The general scope of the work was decided upon by representatives of the Society and the Geophysics Research Division, and support and sponsorship was provided by the latter under Contract No. W 28-099 ac-399 with the Society. It is understood, however, that the recommendations and conclusions presented in the articles which follow do not necessarily represent those of the sponsoring agency.
Capt. H. T. Orville, U.S.N. (Ret.), president of the Society from 1948 to 1950, appointed the Committee on the Compendium of Meteorology, under the chairmanship of . . .