Ivan Ray Tannehill

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Ivan Ray Tannehill (March 17, 1890 – May 2, 1959) was a commissioned US Army Lieutenant at Fort Story, Virginia and soon after World War I,[1] became a forecaster with the United States Weather Bureau[2] and a prolific writer, focusing on meteorology. His text on hurricanes remained the defining work on the topic from the late 1930s into the early 1950s.


First a newspaper reporter and a teacher, Ivan began work for the United States Weather Bureau as a weather observer in Houston in 1914. He served during World War I as a weather officer in the Signal Corps. After the war, he became the Officer in Charge (OIC) at the Galveston, Texas weather office. Moving to Washington, D. C., he became the Assistant Chief of the Forecast Division in 1929. He later served as Chief of the Marine Division, SR&F Division, and Assistant Chief of Bureau for Operations. He retired in October of 1954 and moved to Frederick, Maryland.[3]

Thoughts on the warming of the 1930s and 1940s[edit]

Scientists were aware of the warming of sections of the United States by about 3˚F since the 1860s. The American Meteorological Society held a convention in Washington, D.C. where the topic was discussed. Dr. Tannehill came away from the meeting thinking the cause was due to a slow increase in the radiation of the sun.[4]

Connection to 1947 UFO sightings[edit]

After a flurry of UFO reports were witnessed across the United States, including one at Roswell, the then-chief of the U. S. Weather Bureau's division of synoptic reports and forecasts was asked about the objects being seen in the sky. His quote was "I’d like to see one first before I make a guess."[5] He did, however, rule out weather balloons, stating they were unlikely to have been mistaken "all over the country and all in one week" for mysterious objects speeding through the sky at supersonic speeds.[6]

Works published[edit]

  • All About the Weather (1953)[7]
  • Cloud forms according to the international system of classification. Washington, U.S. Govt. Print. Off., 1938.ii, 8 p. : plates ; 24 cm.[8]
  • Drought and Its Causes and Effects[9]
  • Dusters and Black Blizzards (1936-07-09). Los Angeles Times.[10]
  • The Hurricane Hunters, Illustrated With Photos (1955)[11]
  • Hurricanes, their nature and history, particularly those of the West Indies and the southern coasts of the United States (1938)
  • Note on Pilot-Balloon Flights in a Thunderstorm Formation (1919)[1]
  • Weather Round the World. (1913)[12]

Personal life[edit]

At the time of his death, Ivan had two brothers, a sister, a wife Mary Gertrude, daughter Doris, and three grandchildren Ric, John, and Jane.[3]


  1. ^ a b Monthly Weather Review (October 1919).Note on Pilot-Balloon Flights in a Thunderstorm Formation. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  2. ^ Time (1949-03-14). Funny Winter. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  3. ^ a b Staff (May 1959). "Deaths" (PDF). Weather Bureau Topics. United States Weather Bureau: 95. Retrieved 2012-04-22.
  4. ^ Time (1950-05-15). Getting Warmer? Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  5. ^ Michigan chapter of the Mutual UFO Network. Report on UFO Wave of 1947. Archived 2007-03-10 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  6. ^ Associated Press. Associated Press Main Roswell Story -- July 9. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  7. ^ Christianbook.com. All About Books. Archived 2007-02-11 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  8. ^ Theo de Boer. Medicine & Science. Archived 2006-11-27 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  9. ^ Forest Fire in the American Southwest. Putting the Pieces Together. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  10. ^ Formatting an MLA Document. Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ University of Oklahoma. History of Science. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.
  12. ^ Wiley Interscience. Book Review. Retrieved on 2007-02-17.

External links[edit]