Herbert Dorsey, Jr.

U.S. Weather Service

Chief Meteorologist

East Base



Herbert Grove Dorsey, Jr., was born in East Orange, NJ, on September 15, 1912.   His parents were the renowned physicist and inventor, Herbert Grove Dorsey, and Julia Virginia Rowlett.  Dorsey graduated from Harvard University with a B.A. in mathematics and studied meteorology at MIT.   During the thirties and forties, Harvard’s Blue Hill Observatory was internationally recognized as a center for advanced meteorological research.   Under the guidance of Blue Hill’s director, Dr. Charles Franklin Brooks, Dorsey successfully experimented with sending meteorological observations by radio from remote weather stations in order to make more accurate weather forecasts possible.


Upon applying for a position with USAS in 1939, Dorsey was appointed Chief Meteorologist at East Base.   Three weeks prior to his departure for Antarctica, Dorsey married Wellesley student Elizabeth Ballantine, daughter of foreign service officer Joseph Ballantine and his wife, Emilia.  While in Antarctica, Dorsey’s first child was born.   


Building upon his research at Blue Hill Observatory, Dorsey devised a method of developing exceptionally accurate weather reports for aircraft operations on the Antarctic Peninsula.   After returning to the U.S. in 1941, Dorsey presented his paper, “An Antarctic Mountain Weather Station,” to the General Meeting of the American Philosophical Society on November 22, 1941, in Philadelphia.


Soon after his return from Antarctica, Dorsey joined the Army Air Corps.  In February 1947, while stationed in Greenland as an Arctic Weather Specialist, USAF, Captain Dorsey was a member of the party that successfully rescued the crew of a Strategic Air Command B-47 that had crashed into a frozen lake.  President Harry Truman honored the rescue party at the White House.  In 1952, while attached to the Seventh Weather Group, Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, Major Dorsey was assigned to Fletcher’s Ice Island (T-3) to oversee camp operations and to collect meteorological data for use in weather maps throughout the arctic area.


After completing his duty assignment on T-3, Dorsey retired to civilian life to conduct hydrological research for a water project in California. Later in life Dorsey became a printer.


Herbert Dorsey, Jr. died in Selma, OR, on July 28, 1977.  


U.S. Antarctic Service Medal (gold)


Geographic feature: Dorsey Island


Contributions:  Mountain Weather Station on Palmer Peninsula


Publications: An Antarctic Mountain Weather Station”, Lieutenant H.G. Dorsey, Jr., U.S. Army,  Proceedings of The American Philosophical Society, vol. 89, Part 1, 1945






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