Alfred H. Woodcock Papers, 1930-1995
- Woodcock, Alfred H.
- Atmospheric researcher and oceanographer from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the University of Hawaii, Woodcock collaborated with Duncan Blanchard and the U.S. Navy on research such as Project Shower, atmospheric sea salt and volcanic mountain breathing.
- 7.25 cubic ft.
- English and English
- Preferred citation:
- Preferred citation for this material is as follows: and Identification of specific item, series, box, folder, Alfred H. Woodcock Papers, 1930-1995. M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University at Albany, State University of New York (hereafter referred to as [shortened name]).
Access and Use
- Conditions Governing Access:
Access to this record group is unrestricted.
The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming with the laws of copyright. Whenever possible, the M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives will provide information about copyright owners and other restrictions, but the legal determination ultimately rests with the researcher. Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the Head of Special Collections and Archives.
- Scope and Content:
The material in this collection documents the correspondence and scientific research of Alfred H. Woodcock. Correspondence files date from 1930-1995 and consist of correspondence from the scientists that Woodcock worked and collaborated with, along with carbons of his original correspondence, as well as journal articles and a small amount of personal correspondence. Most of the correspondence is related to science and the topics that Woodcock was investigating. There is very little correspondence for the years 1930-1950. Woodcock's major collaborators were atmospheric scientist Duncan Blanchard, U.S. Navy scientist James Hughes, chemist James Lodge, and atmospheric researcher Sean Twomey. The scientific research files date from 1937-1986 and consist of original data collected by Woodcock as well as journal articles, record books, and photographs. Information about the scientists Woodcock collaborated with can be found in the correspondence files. Information about the scientific projects that Woodcock researched can be found in the scientific research files. Major projects and research covered by the collection includes the study of the soaring patterns of marine birds, 1931-1942, 1975; Woodcock's study of atmospheric sea salt, 1950-1965; Project Shower, a major study of warm rain in Hawaii, 1954-1957; the study of the alpine environment on the volcano Mauna Kea and Lake Waiau, 1956-1975. Also covered are Woodcock's study of the seaweed Sargassum, 1944-1949; and the Portuguese man 'o war Physalia, 1944-1970. Research pertaining to Woodcock's fog studies dates from 1977-1981. Note that in some files the topic can cover many years with significant gaps, and that occasionally multiple topics are covered within one folder. The dates of research are those in which the primary research was conducted; other material in the files such as journal articles and background material may predate the primary research.
- Biographical / Historical:
Alfred H. Woodcock was born on September 7, 1905 in Atlanta, Georgia. His formal education ended very early as his father had very little regard for school and Woodcock went to work in a wide variety of jobs in the seasonal economy of the southeastern United States after dropping out of high school. After moving to Massachusetts and resuming his education at a local agricultural school, he worked on farms and did odd jobs. Woodcock heard the research vessel Atlantis was looking for hands to sign on for a research cruise under the command of Columbus Iselin. The Atlantis was the first deep-water research ship of the fledgling Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). Under the direction of Dr. Henry Bigelow of Harvard University, WHOI was formed in 1930 and funded by a Rockefeller Foundation grant of 3 million dollars. Woodcock signed on and became a valued member of the crew, rising to the position of chief scientist in 1935. Woodcock had found his calling in atmospheric research and oceanography, and he began his research into the soaring patterns of marine birds, sailing patterns of jellyfish and the ways that dolphins and porpoises ride along the bow of sailing ships. Woodcock continued to conduct experiments aboard the Atlantis until 1942.
During the Second World War, Woodcock worked with the U.S. Navy to develop smoke screens that could be used to camouflage allied vessels at sea. After the end of the war, Woodcock continued to work in conjunction with the Navy to study wind patterns at sea. Beginning in 1942 he was employed at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, first as a research associate and then as an oceanographer. He conducted research into oceanography and atmospheric science, studying sea salt and its affect on precipitation. From 1949 to 1953 Woodcock published a series of groundbreaking scientific papers about the research he had conducted into atmospheric sea salt. In 1951, he met and began to work with one of his primary collaborators, Duncan Blanchard. Woodcock and Blanchard would collaborate on atmospheric research and carry on a long running correspondence.
In the early 1950s Woodcock was involved in Project Shower, which investigated the physics and chemistry of warm rain in Hawaii. This was a cooperative project involving WHOI and the Pineapple Research Institute and funded by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The data and final report of Project Shower was published in 1957 in the journal Tellus. Woodcock also published a paper in 1958 which dealt with the behavior of atmospheric sea salt in hurricanes. In this period Woodcock collaborated with Duncan Blanchard and also with chemist James Lodge and meteorologist E.G. "Taffy" Bowen among others. In 1961 Woodcock was awarded an honorary PhD from Long Island University as a doctor of science. It was not long after (1962) that Dr. Woodcock moved to Hawaii, where he concentrated on the study of atmospheric sea salt in Hawaii from 1962 to 1965.
From 1963 to 1972 Woodcock was a research associate in the Department of Oceanography at the University of Hawaii and a research associate at the Hawaiian Institute of Geophysics. In Hawaii, Woodcock conducted atmospheric studies at the dormant volcano Mauna Kea and also did research on Lake Waiau, an alpine lake that is near the summit of Mauna Kea. He developed a theory of "mountain breathing" where gasses entered and exited the mountain. Woodcock conducted research into the movement patterns of the Portuguese Man 'o War, Physalia, and continued research into Sargassum and studies of Hawaiian cloud physics. His primary collaborator during this period continued to be Duncan Blanchard, but he also conducted research with James Hughes of ONR, as well as researchers Jack Warner and Sean Twomey in Australia.
Woodcock was retired from the University of Hawaii in 1972, but continued to work on projects relating to atmospheric science. Woodcock became interested in fog formation and conducted research into fog in Alaska and Woods Hole, MA. He continued the research begun in the 1960s by further investigating the phenomenon of mountain breathing at Mauna Kea and did further research in Lake Waiau. Much of the funding for Woodcock's research came from the Office of Naval Research and his primary contact was James Hughes, in the Atmospheric Research department of the Office of Naval Research. Woodcock's ONR funding began with Project Shower and was terminated in 1984. In 1988, Woodcock was named Scientist Emeritus by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and in 1994 he was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the American Meteorological Society.
Chronology of Events 1905 September 7 Born in Atlanta, GA1931 Joins the research vessel Atlantis, under the command of Columbus Iselin19311942 Technician, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute1935 Sole scientist on the Atlantis' North Atlantic voyage1938 Publishes a paper in The Atlantic Monthly on the flight patterns of birds1940 Publishes a paper on soaring gulls in The Journal of Marine Research 1941 Chief scientist aboard the Atlantis1941 Smoke screen project begins in conjunction with the U.S. Navy19421946 Research Associate, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute1944 Begins research into Physalia/Portuguese Man o' War19461963 Oceanographer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute1947 Wyman/Woodcock report released on the temperature lapse rate in clouds19471949 Woodcock studies the seaweed genus Sargassum1949 Begins research into atmospheric sea salt19491953 Publishes a series of groundbreaking papers on atmospheric sea salt.1951 Begins working with Duncan Blanchard at Woods Hole1954 Project Shower begins (study of the physics and chemistry of warm rain)1957 Publishes results of Project Shower in Tellus1958 Publishes a paper about the behavior of atmospheric sea salt in hurricanes1961 Awarded honorary PhD from Long Island University1962 Moves to Hawaii19621965 Peak of Woodcock's research into atmospheric sea salt19631972 Research affiliate, Dept. of Oceanography, University of Hawaii19631972 Research associate, Hawaiian Institute of Geophysics1974 (ca.) Conducts research into fog formation in Alaska and Woods Hole1975 Revisits gull research1988 Emeritus Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute1994 Receives American Meteorological Society's Lifetime Achievement Award
- Acquisition information:
All items in this manuscript group were donated to the University Libraries, M.E. Grenander Department of Special Collections and Archives, by Alfred H. Woodcock in October, 1999.
- Processing information:
Processed in 2000 by Timothy Niland (Fall 2000).
- Conservation and the Environment
Atmosphere -- Research -- Hawaii.
Atmosphere -- Research -- Massachusetts.
Ecology -- Research -- Hawaii.
Fog -- Research -- Massachusetts.
Geography -- Research -- Hawaii.
Geography -- Research -- Massachusetts.
Geology -- Research -- Hawaii.
Geology -- Research -- Massachusetts.
Oceanographic research ships -- Massachusetts.
Oceanography -- Research -- Hawaii.
Oceanography -- Research -- Massachusetts.
Precipitation (Meteorology) -- Measurement..
Volcanoes -- Hawaii.
UAlbany Faculty & Alumni Papers
- Woodcock, Alfred H.
Bigelow, Henry B. (Henry Bryant), 1879-
Blanchard, Duncan C. (Duncan Cromwell), 1924-
Bowen, E. G.
Duce, Robert A., 1935-
Eriksson, Erik, 1917-
Faller, Alan J.
Friedman, Irving, 1920-2005.
Hughes, James A.
Iselin, Columbus O’Donnell, 1904-
Knight, Charles A. (Charles Alfred), 1936-
Lodge, James P.
Renn, Charles E. (Charles Easterday), 1905-
Schaefer, Vincent J.
Twomey, Sean A. (Sean Andrew), 1928-
American Meteorological Society.
State University of New York. Atmospheric Sciences Research Center.
C.S.I.R.O. Radiophysics Laboratory.
Hawaii Institute of Geophysics.
International Meteorological Institute in Stockholm.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Geology and Geophysics.
United States. Department of Defense.
National Science Foundation (U.S.)
University of Hawaii (System). School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology.
Colorado. Office of State Geologist.
Naval Research Laboratory (U.S.)
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.