Hydrometeorological Service of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Hydrometeorological Service of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics


(GMS), the state organization whose principal task is to provide the national economy with every type of meteorological, hydrological, and agrometeorological information (the state of the weather, seas, rivers, and lakes, as well as short-and long-range forecasts).

For this purpose the GMS has at its disposal a network of hydrometeorological stations and offices that conduct regular observations of the state of the atmosphere and the waters of land and sea, aerological stations that measure air temperature, humidity, and wind to altitudes of 30-40 km, and rocket-sounding stations that measure the upper strata of the atmosphere. At the end of the 1960’s a special space system was created comprising several meteorological artificial earth satellites. The system makes it possible to obtain data on the cloud and snow cover over the entire globe, the distribution of ice on seas and oceans, the temperature of underlying surfaces and of clouds, and other characteristics. Data from the observations of stations and offices are telegraphed and radioed up to eight times in a 24-hour period to republic and territory GMS administrative offices and are used for current information on hydrometeorological conditions and the state of farm crops and for compilation of all types of hydrometeorological forecasts.

The GMS collects, interprets, and disseminates hydrometeorological information on the territory of the USSR and foreign countries and the areas of the oceans of the world; it analyzes this information to study hydrometeorological processes and phenomena over the entire globe, including the arctic and antarctic. The tasks of the GMS include development and implementation of methods of practically affecting weather, climatic, and hydrological processes, the study of the chemical composition of atmospheric air and the waters of land, sea, and ocean, and the coordination of scientific research in meteorology and hydrology.

The organizational setup of the GMS encompasses a number of major research institutes performing scientific research in hydrometeorology, including the Hydrometeorological Scientific Research Center of the USSR, the Main Geophysical Observatory, and the Central Aerological Observatory. There are also research institutes of applied geophysics, hydrology, hydrochemistry, oceanography, the arctic and antarctic, and experimental meteorology. Such cities as Novosibirsk, Tashkent, and Khabarovsk have regional hydrometeorological research institutes.

The Chief Administration of the Hydrometeorological Service attached to the Council of Ministers of the USSR is in charge of the activities of the GMS. Republic and territorial administrations of the GMS, raion radiometeorological centers in the arctic, scientific research institutes, and educational institutions are run by the Chief Administration. Subordinate to the republic and territorial administrations are weather bureaus, hydrometeorological observatories, hydrometeorological bureaus, aeronautical meteorological stations, and a network of observation stations and offices. The GMS is working to automate basic operations through the installation of semiautomatic and automatic hydrometeorological stations and meteorological radar facilities and through the processing and analysis of observation data and forecast calculations by electronic computer.

The results of GMS research and observations are published in Meteorologiia i gidrologiia (Meteorology and Hydrology), Gidrologicheskii ezhegodnik (Hydrologic Yearbook), Meteorologicheskii ezhegodnik (Meteorological Yearbook), Meteorologicheskii ezhemesiachnik (Meteorological Monthly), and in multivolume reference works on the climate and water resources of the USSR.


Meteorologiia i gidrologiia za 50 let Sovetskoi vlasti: Sbornik. Leningrad, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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