Storm Troupers: The Fight to Predict the Weather

Keo Films for BBC4

Alok Jha investigates how modern weather forecasting was born amid the horrific catastrophes of the 20th century, as meteorologists helped fight two world wars and tried to predict natural disasters across the globe.

He tells the story of Lewis Fry Richardson, a visionary scientist who laid the foundations of modern computer-based weather forecasting in between shifts as an ambulance driver in the trenches of World War One.

In Norway, Alok sees how meteorologists managed to unravel the mysteries of weather fronts and in India he sees how famines, which cost millions of lives, spurred meteorologists to try to understand climate on a global scale.

Alok investigates how, during World War Two, weather forecasters, working from a secret camp outside London under the most testing wartime conditions, were called on to make the most important weather forecast in history - they were asked to predict if conditions would be good enough for the D-Day invasion to proceed. He sees how a family operating a tiny weather station on the west coast of Ireland became a key part of this extraordinary drama, as they provided weather readings that were vital to the outcome of the war.

© Yulia Martynova