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Meteorology is an observational science that focuses on the study of the atmosphere, weather, and climate. The philosopher Aristotle is considered to be the father of meteorology. Around 340 B.C., he wrote Meteorologica, which was the first study of the atmosphere.

The basic meteorological instruments were all invented hundreds of years ago. Galileo invented the thermometer in 1593 and Evangelista Torricelli invented the barometer in 1643.

During the following centuries, scientists from around the world studied atmospheric conditions on land and sea. Devices that measured humidity, wind speed, and other atmospheric conditions were invented. No standardized measurements existed, so sharing and analyzing information between countries was often confusing and difficult. The first International Meteorological Congress was held in Vienna, Austria, in 1873. The Congress is credited with being the impetus for the founding of the International Meteorological Association, the predecessor organization to the World Meteorological Association.

Simultaneous comparison and study of weather was impossible until the telegraph was invented. Observations of the upper atmosphere from balloons and airplanes started after World War I. Not until World War II, however, was great financial support given to the development of meteorology. During the war a very clear-cut relationship was established between the effectiveness of new weapons and the atmosphere. Additionally, weather forecasters played a critical role in helping military leaders schedule air bombing and reconaissance missions.

More accurate instruments for measuring and observing weather conditions, new systems of communication, and the development of satellites, radar, and high-speed computers to process and analyze weather data have helped meteorologists and the general public to get a better understanding of the atmosphere.

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