Commander, Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command - History

History

The Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command traces its ancestry to the Depot of Charts and Instruments, a 19th century repository for nautical charts and navigational equipment. In the 1840s, its superintendent, Lieutenant Matthew Fontaine Maury, created and published a revolutionary series of wind and current charts. This information, still resident in modern computer models of Ocean basins and the atmosphere, laid the foundation for the sciences of oceanography and meteorology.

Atmospheric science was further developed with the birth of naval aviation early in the twentieth century. During World War I and the following decades, naval aerological specialists applied the fledgling concepts of air masses and fronts to warfare and provided forecasts to the first transatlantic flight.

The Navy's weather and ocean programs contributed greatly to Allied victory in World War II. In the Pacific, Navy forecasters cracked the Japanese weather code. Hydrographic survey ships, often under enemy fire, collected data along foreign coastlines for the creation of critical navigation charts.

In the mid-1970s, the Navy's meteorology and oceanography programs were integrated in a single organization reflecting nature's close interaction of sea and air. This structure is today the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command.

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