meteorology

Sir Francis Beaufort and the Wind Scale

Sir Francis Beaufort and the Wind Scale

On May 27, 1774, Irish hydrographer and officer in the Royal Navy Sir Francis Beaufort was born. Beaufort was the creator of the Beaufort Scale for indicating wind force. In 1806, British Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort devised a simple scale that coastal observers could use to report the state of the sea to the Admiralty. Francis Beaufort – Early Years Francis Beaufort was born at Navan, County Meath, Ireland, the son of…
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Vilhelm Bjerknes – A Pioneer of Modern Weatherforecast

Vilhelm Bjerknes – A Pioneer of Modern Weatherforecast

On March 14, 1862, Norwegian physicist and meteorologist Vilhelm Bjerknes was born, Bjerknes is best known for being one of the founders of the modern science of weather forecasting with his 1921 published work “On the Dynamics of the Circular Vortex with Applications to the Atmosphere and to Atmospheric Vortex and Wave Motion“. Youth and Education Vilhelm Frimann Koren Bjerknes was born in Kristiania (later renamed Oslo), Norway, and enjoyed an early exposure…
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Veerabhadran Ramanathan and the Brown Clouds

Veerabhadran Ramanathan and the Brown Clouds

On November 24, 1944, Indian atmospheric scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan was born. He has contributed to many areas of the atmospheric sciences including developments to general circulation models, atmospheric chemistry, and radiative transfer. But, he is best known for his 1999 discovery of the “Asian Brown Cloud” – wandering layers of air pollution as wide as a continent and deeper than the Grand Canyon. Veerabhadran Ramanathan received his bachelor’s degree in engineering from Annamalai…
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Tetsuya Theodore Fujita’s Research on Severe Storms

Tetsuya Theodore Fujita’s Research on Severe Storms

On October 23, 1920, Japanese-American meteorologist Tetsuya Theodore Fujita was born. Fujita’s research at the University of Chicago on severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, hurricanes, and typhoons revolutionized the knowledge of each. Together with his wife Sumiko, Fujita developed the Fujita scale (F-scale, Feb 1971) for measuring tornadoes on the basis of their damage. On October 23, 1920, Japanese-American meteorologist Tetsuya Theodore Fujita was born. Fujita’s research at the University of Chicago on severe thunderstorms,…
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Christophorus Buys Ballot and the Weather Systems

Christophorus Buys Ballot and the Weather Systems

On October 10, 1837, Dutch chemist and meteorologist Christophorus Buys Ballot was born. Buys Ballot is the namesake for Buys Ballot’s law and the Buys Ballot table. Buys Ballot showed that northern hemisphere winds circulate counter-clockwise around low pressure areas and clockwise around high pressure areas. Christophorus Henricus Didericus Buys Ballot was the son of Anthony Jacobus Buys Ballot, pastor to Kloetinge and Geertruida Françoise Lix-Raaven, born in Kloetinge, Netherlands. He attended the Gymnasium at…
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Wladimir Köppen and the Köppen Climate Classification System

Wladimir Köppen and the Köppen Climate Classification System

On September 25, 1846, Russian-German geographer, meteorologist, climatologist and botanist Wladimir Peter Köppen was born. His most notable contribution to science was the development of the Köppen climate classification system, which, with some modifications, is still commonly used. Köppen made significant contributions to several branches of science. Wladimir Köppen studied botany at the University of Sr. Petersburg. In 1867, Köppen switched to the University of Heidelberg and earned his doctorate degree for his dissertation…
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Taming Hurricane Debbie – Experiments in Weather Modification

Taming Hurricane Debbie – Experiments in Weather Modification

On August 18, 1969, intense and long-lived Hurricane Debbie was seeded with silver iodide as part of a weather modification experiment by Project Stormfury, which resulted in a fall of windspeeds by 31%. The hypothesis was that the silver iodide would cause supercooled water in the storm to freeze, disrupting the inner structure of the hurricane. Hurricane Debbie formed on August 14 in the southern Atlantic Ocean and made its way to…
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Robert FitzRoy – From Darwin’s famous voyage to Meteorology

Robert FitzRoy – From Darwin’s famous voyage to Meteorology

On July 5, 1805, English officer of the Royal Navy Vice Admiral Robert Fitzroy was born. He is best known as the captain of HMS Beagle during Charles Darwin‘s famous voyage, FitzRoy‘s second expedition to Tierra del Fuego and the Southern Cone. Moreover, FitzRoy was a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate daily weather predictions, which he called by a new name of his own invention: “forecasts“. Robert FitzRoy was born at Ampton…
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Vincent Schaefer and the Invention of Cloud Seeding

Vincent Schaefer and the Invention of Cloud Seeding

On July 4, 1906, American chemist and meteorologist Vincent Joseph Schaefer was born. Schaefer is best known for his research in meteorology and weather control introduced cloud seeding. On 13 Nov 1946, he flew over Mount Greylock in Massachusetts, successfully seeding clouds with pellets of dry ice (solid carbon dioxide) to produce the first snowstorm initiated by man. During his 20s, Vincent Schaefer began to built up a personal library on natural…
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Edward Lorenz and the Butterfly Effect

Edward Lorenz and the Butterfly Effect

On May 23, 1917, American mathematician, meteorologist, and a pioneer of chaos theory Edward Norton Lorenz was born. He is best known for pointing out the “butterfly effect” whereby chaos theory predicts that “slightly differing initial states can evolve into considerably different states.” In his 1963 paper in the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, he cited the flapping of a seagull‘s wings as changing the state of the atmosphere in even such a…
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