Sunday, June 16, 2013

Now If We Can Get the National Weather Service to Go Along

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Navy is finally abandoning ALL CAPITAL LETTER COMMUNICATIONS. 

In the "olden days" of meteorology, we used a beastly device for written communications called the "28-RO Teletype." The 28 stood for the very low number of words per minute and RO = receive only. Because the words per minute (today called bandwidth) was so very slow, we used contractions. I describe this practice in Warnings

So, instead of saying "there is an overcast layer of clouds 2,800 feet above the ground," to save bandwidth we just wrote the height as 28 and "overcast" as:

Instead of writing the wind was from the southwest, there was a single character arrow pointing southwest. You can see the entire list of symbols here. (I put the hyperlink in yellow because that was the color of the rolls of teletype paper.)

Of course, today, we can easily do upper and lower case messages but the National Weather Service stubbornly sticks to all upper case. Think what it is like reading things like this all day.
After 42 years of reading these messages, it is no wonder my eyesight is so poor!

We've called on the NWS a number of times to make the change but to no avail. 

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