…to observe geophysical phenomena and to secure data from all parts of the world; to conduct this effort on a coordinated basis by fields, and in space and time, so that results could be collated in a meaningful manner. 
In the early 1950s, the American physicist and engineer Lloyd Berkner started to investigate the development of the Earth’s atmosphere but the lack of available data limited his research. He felt that fundamental questions about global-scale environmental processes would remain unsolved unless opportunities are created to collect data on a worldwide basis.
Berkner, a man of great energy, decided to create these opportunities. With several colleagues, he proposed, in 1950, an international geophysical programme modelled on the International Polar Years of 1882-1883 and 1932-1933. He envisaged a large-scale global programme of intergovernmental cooperation in scientific research, that would allow scientists from around the world to take part in a series of coordinated observations of various geophysical phenomena.