Pat Shingleton: "Cape Spear and Calculations..."
We previously referenced noted the foggiest, cloudiest and snowiest city in Canada - St. John’s. Located on the Avalon Peninsula it is also known as the easternmost patch of land in North America. Not far from St. John’s is Cape Spear, recognized as the official farthest east point of the continent. Cape Spear juts out into the icy, windswept North Atlantic and is also the airstrip where Amelia Earhart launched her solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. Her flight plan included a departure from Harbour Grace, on the northern reaches of Cape Spear, with an intended destination to Paris. Fog, ice and strong north winds forced her to land in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. Not reaching her chosen destination, her venture placed Amelia as the first woman to fly the Atlantic alone and the only woman to complete the longest and fastest non-stop flight. Finally, during idle time as an ambulance driver in World War I, Lewis Richardson would perform numerical weather experiments. He would catalog sky conditions, integrating numerical calculations into his journal. His sparse observations and calculations by hand didn't produce a useful forecast. Little did he know that his efforts were the beginning stages of modern weather predictions. He quickly wrote a manuscript that was lost but eventually discovered in a coal bin and later published. He left instructions, upon his death, that the rare book be given to the National Weather Service where it is on display in their Executive Suite. He envisioned a "large hall, like theater" filled with human computers, each doing calculations for a particular point on the Earth and passing information to his neighbors. As impractical as it might have been then, today, the NWS uses massive parallel computers executing those same calculations.
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