Warren L. Godson (1920-2001)

Godson IMO Prize 1975Warren Lehman Godson, winner of the IMO Prize in 1975, was born on 4 May 1920, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. He obtained an honours degree in chemistry at the University of British Columbia in 1939 and a Master's degree in physical chemistry in 1941.

He was working toward a PhD in chemistry at University of Toronto when he was persuaded to apply to the Meteorological Service, where scientists were being recruited for wartime duties.  There, he assisted with training courses and began research in several aspects of theoretical and applied meteorology. This research led to a Master's degree in physics at the University of Toronto in 1944. Following which, in the summer of 1944, he worked as the principal upper-air forecaster at the Montreal Transatlantic Forecast Office.

After the war, Warren Godson worked in the training and research section at meteorological headquarters.  He prepared material for use by the forecasters in the field. Within a short time, he published four major papers dealing with synoptic meteorology and incorporated this work into a thesis for his doctorate, which he obtained University of Toronto in 1948.

He became Canada's leading atmospheric research scientist.  He served as Director-General of Atmospheric Research in the Meteorological Service from 1973 to 1984 and then as Senior Science Advisor until 1991 when he was appointed Emeritus Research Scientist.

Warren Godson was without doubt the best-known and most prominent Canadian in international meteorology.  He was proud to have been named a member of the International Meteorological Organization's (IMO) Aerological Commission in 1947 and, for fifty years, he took on an active role at the World Meteorological Organization, successor to the IMO.

Warren also found time to participate in the activities of the professional societies.  A Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, he was president of its Canadian Branch (the predecessor of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society) from 1957 to 1959. He was an elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and served as a Councillor between 1967 and 1970.

Warren Godson won many prizes and awards during his career, including the President's Prize of the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (three times), the Canadian Darton Prize of the Royal Meteorological Society (three times), the prestigious Buchan Prize of the Royal Meteorological Society in 1964, the Patterson Medal (for meteorology in Canada) in 1967 and the IMO Prize in 1975.

Warren Godson, Emeritus Research Scientist with Environment Canada, died on 31 October 2001.