David Arthur Davies (1913-1990), United Kingdom

David Arthur Davies (1913-1990), United Kingdom

Secretary-General from 1 January 1956 to 31 December 1979

D.A. Davies obtained first-class Honours degrees in both Mathematics and Physics from the University of Wales in 1934/35, then joined the Meteorological Office. He served with the Royal Air Force during the war, then rejoined the Meteorological Office as head of the branch responsible for overseas aviation. In 1949, he was became the Director of the East African Meteorological Department (EAMD), which at that time covered the area now within Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and some offshore islands.

As Director of EAMD, Davies became the East African Permanent Representative to WMO. As such he attended the first session of the World Meteorological Congress in 1951, when he was elected as President of WMO Regional Association I (Africa). At the 2nd World Meteorological Congress in 1955, he was elected Secretary-General. At the time, the annual budget of the Organization was some US$400 000 and the Secretariat numbered about 40.

Most notable achievement under his leadership:

  • The International Geophysical Year (IGY), a vast scientific research programme in the meteorological aspects of which practically all the countries of the world would participate.
  • Establishment of the World Weather Watch (www) for the global exchange and processing of meteorological observations.
  • Global Atmospheric Research Programme (GARP) launched with International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU).

Following his retirement, he was appointed Knight Commander of the British Empire in 1980.