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Gary England's Blog: How A. H. Glenn Helped Make Me The Meteorologist I Am

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A. H. Glenn Pictured On The Right A. H. Glenn Pictured On The Right

There once was a man who lived in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was tall and brilliant. His intelligence was exceeded only by his occasional rocket like temper. But I must say, when he was angry, there was a solid reason behind it. Well, most times. He built a fabulously successful business that reached around the world. Most countries with a shoreline were his clients. Nearly every offshore oil company and most all supporting companies were his clients. Mr. Glenn passed from this world and for the last several years meteorologist/oceanographer Terry Pallister has guided the business.

This man, A.H. Glenn, over a short period of time, brought together the sciences of meteorology, climatology, oceanography and civil engineering. How do those sciences fit together? Well, let's suppose you need to establish an oil production platform in 300 feet of water, not too far from the mouth of the Mississippi river. But, before you can order the steel for the platform you will need to know such things as the 100 year storm wave forces that will be brought to bear on the structure; height of the 100 year storm wave; normal wind and waves; normal and extreme temperatures; bottom pressure anomalies and worst case tide scenario just to mention a few.

When I arrived in New Orleans as A.H. Glenn's newest hire many years ago, I was more than stunned by the magnitude and importance of the work being done there. It was very difficult but exciting stuff guided by a nice but sometimes demanding person. To Mr. Glenn's great credit and somewhat limited patience, he took me and molded me into a disciplined, confident and productive person. It was quite an education.

I watched Mr. Glenn deal with deadly hurricanes. Offshore and coastal areas evacuated on his instructions, a heavy duty responsibility. I watched him handle a few extremely irate clients. Once, when he was out of town, there was a conference call to the office (and I got it) from a consortium of oil companies involved in the North Sea. They were not only angry; three of them were speaking in their native dialect. It was Japanese, French, Norwegian and English all at the same time. It was a mess.

By the way, the platform mentioned above in 300 feet of water was gone after hurricane Camille ripped the area to shreds. Fortunately it was not our fault; the rocking back and forth of the huge structure caused soil failure and it just simply fell into the ocean.

The rolling hills and plains of Oklahoma never sounded better.

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