First Advisor

Richard Beyler

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in History and University Honors




United States. Army. Signal Corps -- History, Meteorological services -- United States -- History, World War (1914-1918), Meteorology




Meteorological science and its practice on the modernized battlefields of the First World War has largely been neglected by modern scholars. The objective of this work is to show how the First World War facilitated the expansion of a standardized meteorological practice in America and solidified the relevance of meteorology in both military and domestic affairs. This paper focuses on the organization of the Signal Corps Meteorological Service and its operations as well as the military technologies that required meteorological support in order to illustrate this development of practice and expansion of relevance. The work of the Meteorological Service was highly instrumented and required trained personnel and improved data gathering and processing methods to meet the demands of the American military in France. These demands emanated from multiple branches of the armed forces including the artillery, gas warfare companies, and the Army Air Service. After the war, military meteorology continued to be facilitated by the Meteorological Service. Continuous financial constraints affected the quality and scope of the Meteorological Service’s work until the Service was disbanded in 1937 and its duties and personnel were transferred to the Air Force. This work shows that meteorology in the First World War is a relevant topic of study for both military historians seeking to better understand the impact of new military technologies and historians of science looking to shed light on meteorological science during its turn to dynamic theory.


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