Meteorologists on the Battlefield: The Critical Role that Combat Weather Teams Play in Keeping Troops Safe
Teams who serve and protect our country have battles to fight beyond the field---especially in terms of weather and environmental conditions. In 2019, Spec Ops Weatherman (SOWTs) took on a new name. Special Reconnaissance (SR) is a new career in the Air Force Special Operations with an important role to play: operate deep behind enemy lines to convert the direction of air and missile attacks and other special operations duties.
The responsibilities of SOWTs involved interpreting meteorological data and providing commanders with timely and accurate intelligence. They also join forces with humanitarian assistance and combat search and rescue.
The Importance of Military Weather Analysis
From flying unmanned aircraft systems to long-range marksmanship, military weather analysis dates back to World War II. However, SOWTs became a unique career in the Air Force Speciality Code more recently.
In terms of the impact of weather on the military, the US Army has an extensive field manual that showcases how it affects a variety of elements---ranging from air defense to threat systems.
The military requires accurate reporting of the weather so:
- Conditions that are too hot, too cold, too windy, or too wet and overcast do not interfere with normal operations
- Swiftly communicating changes in operates that might be impacted by weather
- Keeping troops safe whether they're stationed on the ground, at sea, or in the air
When the commander becomes aware of current weather conditions, he or she may choose to:
- Request more information
- Modify original plans
- Continue as planned while staying aware of the weather and potential problems
As the manual notes, weather and environmental conditions are the backgrounds of all military operations. The US Army is actively looking for automated ways to identify and collect weather data, such as using one of the Kestrel weather meters.
Protecting the Force
One standout example of protecting the force of issues weather presents to the military dates back to the Korean War. More than 5,300 personnel suffered from frostbite, resulting in lost fingers, hands, toes, feet, and even ears. Preparation and knowledge of cold nighttime weather could have prevented these issues, with some veterans still living with the consequences to this day.
Not only is extreme cold an issue in some areas of the world, but heat is another consideration. As of 2019, 17 service members have fallen ill and died from extreme heat conditions.
In addition to heat and cold, weather warfare is another potential threat to military personnel. HAARP (High-Frequency Active Auroral Research Program) acknowledges to experiments that use electromagnetic frequencies to temporarily stimulate a limited area of the ionosphere. Disturbing this layer can have serious consequences including tsunamis and earthquakes.
While an attack on this level is less likely to occur than a rainstorm, staying aware of the weather and environmental conditions is one of the keys to keeping troops safe.
How Can the Military Accurately Track Weather?
Weather can change on a dime, so the military must use some of the world's most accurate weather tracking devices---otherwise known as Kestrel weather meters.
Kestrel is used for military weather tracking purposes, measuring all types of weather data including:
- Wind speed
- Dew point
Kestrel is used by top units in every branch of the military helping teams perform their job to the best of their ability.
This is the chosen weather meter for the military because it provides immediate readings and extreme accuracy. It's rugged and portable, making it perfect for an array of personnel to have on hand.
Get Military-Grade Weather Devices
Find some of the best military-grade weather devices on the market from Kestrel Weather Meters. Consider the Kestrel DROP D3 Datalogger, Kestrel 5500 Weather Meter, and Kestrel 5700 Elite Meter with Applied Ballistics.