The second publication in the series marking the 70th anniversary of WMO – The Establishment of the Joint WMO/IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology: A Personal History – is now available for download. The publication presents the history, including the background, driving forces, key elements and players, of the establishment of the Joint WMO/IOC Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology – otherwise known as JCOMM. It is based on Peter Dexter’s 30 years or so of personal involvement, perspective and recollections, and provides a reliable account of historical events.
The narrative begins with a broad-brush review of the general historical context for marine meteorology and oceanography, presenting key historical events that paved the way for the development of JCOMM. These include the Brussels Maritime Conference of 1853, the formation of the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), the development of radiotelegraphy, and the establishment by IMO of the Commission for Maritime Meteorology (CMM). All of which are also indicative of the strong links between institutional meteorology and the maritime community.
However, the real back story to JCOMM begins with the establishment in 1960 of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) as a component body of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) with functional autonomy. WMO took immediate notice of this new entity and moved quickly to affirm its own claim to ocean affairs beyond traditional marine meteorology. This ushered in a long period of sometimes intense competition, but also close collaboration, between WMO and IOC. A testament to this ongoing partnership, the personal history has also been released to celebrate the 60th anniversary of IOC.
In this vivid account, Mr Dexter evokes the atmosphere of the time, breathing life into a little-known piece of WMO history over its first 70 years. We encourage readers to delve into his account – to quote Theodore Roosevelt: “The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”