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date: 06 December 2023

Chinese Meteorology During World War IIlocked

Chinese Meteorology During World War IIlocked

  • Fang-yu LiuFang-yu LiuNational Taiwan Normal University


Meteorology and military activities in China were closely interrelated during World War II. When the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out in 1937, the Nationalist government, under ferocious assault by the Japanese military, withdrew deep into the Chinese interior. Meteorological research organizations and the air force also relocated to Sichuan, the latter setting up weather stations in the southwest and the northwest and reorganizing the armed forces’ meteorological intelligence system while the former made use of the resulting meteorological data to research various weather phenomena in western China, thereby shifting the focus of meteorology in China away from the coastal regions. However, by the start of World War II, aviation had already become an important means of waging war, and high-altitude weather data was highly sought after as military intelligence. Consequently, after instigating the war, Japan extended its meteorological stations in northwest China, engaged in high-altitude surveying and observation, and created an information system between the Japanese home territory and colonies. Japanese analysis of the resulting weather data maintained the safety of flight routes and was used for formulating military strategy. The Chinese government, in contrast, having recently relocated and with a weak air force, lacked the power to expand research on aeronautical meteorology during the initial phase of the war. It was not until after becoming allied with the United States in December 1941 that the government was able, with American technical support, to begin expanding meteorological observation posts and conducting high-altitude surveying and observation. Moreover, the inauguration of flights over the aerial supply route known as the Hump resulted in the discovery of the jet stream over the towering mountain ranges of southwestern China. World War II opened up the Chinese interior for meteorological research and, as a result of military applications, brought about greater understanding of high-altitude meteorology.


  • History of Climate Science

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