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5. Publications

(a) Laws applicable to the United States Department of Agriculture, 'compiled by Otis H. Gates, Office of the Solicitor. 1920, Government Printing Office. (b) Annual Report of the Secretary. Government Printing Office.

(c) Annual Reports of the Bureaus.

(d) Yearbook.

(e) Bulletins.

(f) Circulars.

(g) Free Price List No. 80 of Government Publications on Agricultural Chemistry, for sale by the Superintendent of Documents.

(h) Free Price List No. 38 of Government Publications on Animal Industry, for sale by the Superintendent of Documents.

(i) Free Price List No. 46 of Government Publications on Soils and Fertilizers, for sale by the Superintendent of Documents.

(j) Free Price List No. 11 of Government Publications on Foods and Cooking, for sale by the Superintendent of Documents.

(k) Free Price List No. 41 of Government Publications on Bees, Honey, and Insects Injurious to Man, Animal, Plants and Crops, for sale by the Superintendent of Documents.

(1) Free Price List No. 44 of Government Publications on Plants, for sale by the Superintendent of Documents.

(m) Free Price List No. 68 of Government Publications on Farm Management, for sale by the Superintendent of Documents.



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The Weather Bureau was created as a part of the Department of Agriculture July 1, 1891.1 Its mission is to collect climatic data, study and deduct laws governing atmospheric phenomena, and to forecast for the benefit of agriculture, commerce, and industry, and, in short, for the benefit of the whole people.2

2. History

Professor Cleveland Abbe, director of Mitchell Astronomical Observatory at Cincinnati, Ohio, conducted a weather service between the years of 1868-1870. The bureau now have some 6,000 meteorological observation stations in the United States at its service. It co-operated more or less with 25,000 other meteorological stations throughout the world,3 more than 200 of which are manned by regular commissioned personnel, and the remainder by co-operating observers, who serve without compensation or receive. a nominal amount, based on the number of observations taken. Then, more than half a century ago, Col. A. J. Myer, the Chief of the United States Army Signal Service, submitted a scheme of weather reports and storm signals to the War Department for a peace-time employment for his branch of the military establishment. About this time Prof. I. A. Lapham, of Milwaukee, was attempting to organize a system of storm warnings for Lake Michigan. These two efforts resulted in legislation providing "for taking meteorological observations at the military stations in the interior of the continent and at other points in the states and territories of the United States, and for giving notice on the Northern lakes and at the seacoast, by magnetic telegraph and marine signals, of the approach and force of storms." The Weather Service was thus a part of the Signal Service (later Signal Corps) of the United States Army. Observations were made by Army personnel, but civilian assistance was had in forecasting.

The original objective of the Weather Service was to aid coastal and Great Lakes navigation, but its benefits soon came to be recognized by transportation and industrial enterprises generally dependent upon weather, and this popular demand found expression several years later in the reorganization above mentioned in 1891.

The area of the weather map was enlarged in 1871 by the adoption of a system of international exchange between the Weather Bureau of Canada and the United States.5

1 Act Oct. 1, 1890 (26 Stat. 653), superseding R. S. §§ 221-223.

2 Heiskell, H. L. The Commercial Weather Map of the United States Weather Bureau. Department of Agriculture, February, 1912, pp. 537-539.

3 Institute for Government Research, Service Monograph No. 9, 1922, p. 1

4 Act Feb. 9, 1870 (16 Stat. 369)

5 Institute of Government Research, Service Monograph No. 9, p. 13.

The Chief Signal Office, in 1873, succeeded in obtaining the approval by the First International Congress of Meteorologists at Vienna of his plan for one daily uniform simultaneous observation at as many stations as may be practicable through the world. Reports of such observations were received at Washington, and a Bulletin of Simultaneous International Observations was published for several years.

3. Activities

"The Chief of the Weather Bureau, under the direction of the Secretary of Agriculture, shall have charge of forecasting the weather; the issue of storm warnings; the display of weather and flood signals for the benefit of agriculture, commerce and navigation; the gaging and reporting of rivers; the maintenance and operation of seacoast telegraph lines and the collection and transmission of marine intelligence for the benefit of commerce and navigation; the reporting of temperature and rainfall conditions for the cotton interests; the display of frost, cold wave, and other signals; the distribution of meteorological information in the interest of agriculture and commerce and the taking of such meteorological observations as may be necessary to establish and record the climatic conditions of the United States, or are essential for the proper execution of the foregoing duties."7

These functions are classified as the following activities:

(a) Weather reporting and forecasting.

(b) Climatological work.

(c) Marine meteorology.

(d) Agricultural meteorology.

(e) Aerology.

(f) Reporting effects of weather on highways.

(g) Reporting and forecasting river stages.

(h) Solar radiation studies.

(i) Maintaining and operating telegraph lines.10

(j) Instruments equipping and testing.

(k) Evaporation observations at 55 stations.

(1) Meteorological physics.

(m) High altitude snowfall surveys.

6 Report of Signal Officer of United States Army, 1873.

7 Act Oct. 1, 1890, §§ 1, 3, 9 (26 Stat. 653), and section 4, as amended by Resolution of July 8, 1898, No. 57 (30 Stat. 752).

8 See Bigelow, F. H., Work of the Meteorologist for the Benefit of Agriculture. Department of Agriculture, Yearbook 1899, pp. 71-92. Hermann, C. F. von, How Farmers may Utilize the Special Warnings of the Weather Bureau. Department of Agriculture. Yearbook 1909, pp. 387–398.

9 Act June 30, 1914 (38 Stat. 415, 417); Act May 12, 1917 (40 Stat. 43).

10 These lines are to communicate with isolated stations not reached by commercial lines.


4. Organization



The Chief of the Weather Bureau, Assistant Chief, and Chief Clerk, supervise the following divisions:

(a) Administrative and Scientific Division.-Stations and Accounts Division.11 "This division transacts all business relating to the finances of the bureau; audits, adjusts, and prepares for payment all accounts and claims against the bureau; prepares advertisements; issues transportation requests; and supervises the construction and repair of Weather Bureau buildings outside of Washington." Head, Chief of Divisions of Stations and Accounts, Weather Bureau, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.

(b) Supplies Division.-"This division purchases and issues the supplies of the bureau both in Washington establishment and at the stations, and is charged with the safe-keeping of all property belonging to the bureau." Head, Chief of Supplies Division, Weather Bureau, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.

(c) Printing Division.-"This division prints and mails the daily weather map, the Weekly Weather and Crop Bulletin, the Weekly Snow and Ice Bulletin, and the various charts and miscellaneous printed matter pertaining to the bureau, and has the custody of and distributes station forms." Head, Chief of Printing Division, Weather Bureau, Washington, D. C.

(d) Telegraph Division.-"This division receives, transmits, and records all telegrams to and from the central office, supervises the telegraph work performed at field stations, arranges telegraph circuits, maintains and repairs Weather Bureau telegraph lines and submarine cables, and examines all telegraph and field telephone accounts." Head, Chief of Telegraph Division, Weather Bureau, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.

(e) Library. "The library, containing the world's largest and most complete collection of meteorological publications, includes standard works of reference, complete file of the publications of meteorological and climatological services in all parts of the world. It contains a catalogue, prepared in the library, of the meteorological contents of all the principal scientific periodicals of the world, including proceedings and transactions of societies. Translations from foreign. languages, required in the bureau, are made in the library." Head, Librarian, Weather Bureau, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.

(f) Office of the Editor.-"This office has general editorial supervision over semiscientific papers submitted for publication by the bureau, calling attention to such of these as seem appropriate for the Monthly Weather Review, for the Journal of Agricultural Research, newspapers, etc.; it prepares summaries, indexes, abstracts, and notes concerning the progress of meteorological science; and it edits and supervises the publication of the Monthly Weather Review." Head, Editor, Editorial Division, Weather Bureau, Department of Agriculture, Washington, D. C.

11 See Institute for Government Research, Service Monograph No. 9, 1922, pp. 38-44, for quotations in sections (a)-(p).

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