Cloud Studies Archive, 2019


1. Cloud Studies, Arthur William Clayden, 1905

2. Jozefa Bela, passport photographs

3. Flood in Przemysl, Poland, 1940, by the first location of the meteorology station

4. Stereo photograph, Sunset Over the Lovely Indiana Ocean

5. To the meteorologist    

6. Stereo viewer, Carl Zeiss

7. Hunting for silver clouds, Nowiny Rzeszowskie, Friday march 22, 1968, nr 70

8. Grant document, ”On the occasion of the international womens day, I express to the citizen, an acknowledgment for positive professional and social labour, contributing to the realization of the 6-year plan, and laying the foundation of socialism in Poland.”

Warsaw, march 8th, 1952

10. Cloud camera for studies, page 64, plate 188

11. Jan Bela, passport photographs

12. Photographs, Arthur William Clayden, 1905

Nowiny Rzeszowskie

Friday, march 22, 1968 , nr 70, price  50 grosze


Hunting for Silver Clouds

“This is where the “silver clouds” should appear, just before or after sunset, Jan Bela tells his wife. As a worker for the Przemysl weather station.


On this April day in 1949, the visibility was very limited. The meteorologist from the weather station in Przemysl suddenly observed something peculiar. He had never seen anything like it. A strange yellow fog was floating in the air. The man quickly sent out an encrypted telegram. In a couple of minutes the receiver of the telegram, familiar with the key to decipher this kind of message, feverishly scribbled notes in his notebook; “turbidity of the air layers, with characteristics of dusty fog”. This was spectacular! A very uncommon atmospheric phenomena.

A month later in the “PIHM observation paper” one could read “on April 11th and 12th, in the south eastern regions of Poland a “yellow fog” was observed. The phenomena was most accurately described by the meteorologist of the Przemysl weather station, citizen J. Bela.

The dust which caused the fog had its origin in North Africa. More precisely from Libya and Egypt, where a powerful desert wind, lifted and carried the dust to Europe.

For 20 years Jan Bela has had the responsibility of the difficult service at the “first line of battle” at the national institute of hydrology and meteorology - PIHM. As the manager of the weather station in Przemysl, he is assisted by a brave trio of women. His wife - Jozefa Bela, and also Eleonora Gil and Zdzislawa Daniszewska.

Instrumental meteorological observations were conducted as early as in June of 1865. “PIHM” cronicles mention the names of the meteorologists, like K. Tretting, I. Kolicki, M. Gorzecki, K. Korczak, Hyrodyski, E. Malec, A. Szponder, F. Juwalski, A. Zaleski and, in the first post war years, M. Karnikowski.

Their contemporary successors have a difficult task.

During 12 hour shifts (during both day and night), they have to conduct over 20 measurements and observations every 60 minutes, take meticulous notes in the meteorological notebook, and then

Mrs. Jozefa Bela is now sending a telegram with the message “SYNOP”. Agreed upon symbols and encryptions are sent. This all is done during a few seconds. For the outsider it is impossible to understand the messages, the encryptions in themselves...

However the meteorologists on shift in Warsaw will know in only two minutes, that the sky in Przemysl is covered with clouds by 7/8, that the wind is blowing in the direction of 290 degrees, with a speed of 3m/s, that it's cloudy and there was passing rainfall, that the clouds - stratocumulus - have their base at 800m, that the temperature... the air pressure... the barometric tendencies... and so on.

These reports are received by PIHM by mediation from their various branches (amongst others in Rzeszow) who receive the from 80  weather stations across the country. Based on the data, weather forecasts are developed, that we then hear on the radio or receive from the television personalities “the wind and the cloud”.

Sometimes warning telegrams flow through the ether at the Przemysl weather station. STORM. This, for instance, happens in the case of fog, thunderstorm, windstorm, blizzard, heavy downpour and low cloud base. That's when the job is at its most challenging.  Every couple of minutes, day or night, the meteorologist has to go out in to the meteorological garden to conduct observations. Check the instruments “in the cage”, and in the open. Often they are covered by snow... The worst and most dangerous time is during heavy atmospheric discharge. “The emergency shift” only ends when the telegram with the cancellation message “AVIO” is sent.

That’s when the job is unpleasant, the women at Orkana street, where the light is on all night long, tell me.

Mr. Jan Bela, encouraged by the success of april 194p, is conducting observations with scientific goals during his shifts. Beside the “yellow fog” he has, on a number of occasions,  observed northern lights.

Now he is engaging in observations of “silver clouds”.


M. Nyczek

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