A Brief History
The Canadian Meteorological and
Society has a divided history in that the meteorological side of the
can trace its roots back to 1939 when a charter was obtained from the
Meteorological Society (RMS) to establish a Canadian Branch of that
The oceanographic component of the Society, on the other hand, had no
Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society
At a meeting of some 33 Canadian
of the RMS in February 1940, a petition was drawn up requesting the
Meteorological Society to recognize a Canadian Branch of the
The formal announcement of the foundation of the Canadian Branch was
at a joint meeting of the Royal Meteorological Society and the American
Meteorological Society (AMS). The Executive of the day kept no
during the war but it continued in existence. By the end of the
membership had doubled from 60 members in 1942 to 110 by 1947; by 1949
the number had grown to 200 Canadian Branch members; by then it was
positioned for an even greater expansion in membership and activities
the post-war years.
In 1953 the Toronto
was organized by the Branch which is now considered as the turning
for the organization. It was well-attended and brought together
personalities from the Royal Meteorological and American Meteorological
Societies and such figures as J. Bjerknes and H.U. Sverdrup from
In the same year a Montreal Centre was organized and took on the
of providing the Branch Executive. The Montreal Centre
the annual meteorological congresses and over the next six years
were held every spring usually in conjunction with the Royal Society of
Canada and the other Learned Societies.
The Montreal Centre also launched
of the journal "Atmosphere". Initially it was called the Bulletin
of Canadian Meteorology with the expectation of carrying popular
papers and other subjects. The first issue of "Atmosphere"
appeared in March 1963.
As interest grew in the
sciences, Branch Centres were established in Winnipeg and Toronto.
centres were set up in Vancouver (British Columbia Centre), Halifax and
Alberta (Edmonton) all in 1965; an Ottawa Centre was established the
The idea of separating from the
Society and establishing an independent Society had been talked about
the 1950s. Both sides complained about the other and finally the
question was discussed at the 1964 and 1965 Congresses. The
decision was taken at the seventh and last Congress of the Canadian
in 1966 at the University of Sherbrooke in the presence and with the
concurrence of the president of the Royal Meteorological Society, who
Canadian members had invited to participate in this historic meeting.
Canadian Meteorological Society came into being on January 1, 1967 and
the first Congress under the name of the new Society was held at
University in June of that year.
of First CMS Congress held at Carleton University, Ottawa, 30 May
3 June, 1967
of Second CMS Congress held at the University of Calgary, May 1968
of Later CMOS Congresses
Oceanographers on the other hand
formal affiliation with a society in Canada. It was not until the
late 1950s that a major expansion took place in ocean sciences, not
by the federal government but also by newly-created teaching and
centres of several universities. Oceanographers were keenly aware
of the need to create a forum for the presentation of Canadian
papers. Initially the gap was filled by the Canadian Committee on
Oceanography which organized scientific sessions with its annual
However, it did not follow through with a long-term symposium structure.
As Canada became involved in
and oceanographic programs and experiments, the scientists involved
themselves working on and concerned about similar atmospheric and
modelling problems. The advantages of bringing the two scientific
communities together were obvious to some. As a consequence, talks were
held in 1974 with members of the CMS Scientific Committee to consider
idea of expanding the role and membership of the Society.
Subsequently, the President of
oceanographers to join the Society and organize an oceanographic
for the 9th Congress. The theme of the Congress was "The Role of
the Pacific Ocean in the Climate of North America."
became part of the Society in 1977 at which time the name of the
Meteorological Society was changed to the Canadian Meteorological and
Society and that of the journal, Atmosphere, to the journal
It was also agreed that oceanographers could be eligible for the
Prize and graduate student prizes. The Rube Hornstein medal and
Dr. Andrew Thomson awards remained exclusively meteorological.
J.P. Tully medal in oceanography was introduced by the Society in 1983.
Amendments were made to the
to reflect the combined interests of meteorologists and oceanographers
which paved the way for the Society to become incorporated as a
organization under the Canada Business Corporation Act on August 28,
From the very beginning, members
Society shared the responsibilities of serving in various executive
including the organization of Congresses, editorship of
and the Newsletter (now the CMOS Bulletin SCMO). The Society is
by a Council, an Executive, a Scientific Committee, an Accreditation
a Broadcaster Endorsement Committee (presently made up of council
a Nominating Committee, a Prizes and Awards Committee and an Education
Committee for Meteorology. Membership is now about 800 spread across
with members being associated either with a Centre or Chapter
were eliminated at the 2004 AGM).
The Business Affairs of the
been handled for some years by the Canadian Association of Physicists
in Ottawa. The Society appointed its first Executive Director in
1983, a position which is still retained by the Society. CMOS
started to administer its own affairs in 2003.
The CMOS logo was originally a
in respect to the name of the Canadian Meteorological Society.
present logo symbolizes its meteorological background with diagonal
depicting rain, and blue waves representing the ocean interests of the
The above history of CMOS is
based on a
series of articles written by Morley K. Thomas, published in the
April, October and December 1994 issues of the CMOS Bulletin
The section covering the role played by the oceanographers in joining
Society was published by Dr. Cedric Mann in the February 1995 issue of
the CMOS Bulletin SCMO.