The Norwegian Cyclone Model and Jacob Bjerknes, born 1897 November 2nd

Jacob Bjerknes, born November 2, 1897, Stockholm, Sweden was a Norwegian American meteorologist whose discovery that cyclones (low-pressure centres) originate as waves associated with sloping weather fronts that separate different air masses proved to be a major contribution to modern weather forecasting.  The name Bjerknes comes from a family farm in south- eastern Norway where some of Jack’s ancestors lived. Jack in represented the third generation in a dynasty of scientists.

The war was still on, and no weather data were received from France, England, or the Atlantic. From the improved data network in Norway, however, Jack could again identify convergence lines of the type he had studied in Leipzig, as they moved along the Norwegian coast.  The war was still on, and no weather data were received from France, England, or the Atlantic. From the improved data network in Norway, however, Jack could again identify convergence lines of the type he had studied in Leipzig, as they moved along the Norwegian coast.  It was a fantastic achievement for a twenty year old after a few months of work with weather maps from a limited part of Europe.  It was a fantastic achievement for a twenty year old after a few months of work with weather maps from a limited part of Europe.

  In July 1939 Jack Bjerknes, with his family, went on what was supposed to be an eight-month lecture tour to the UnitedStates. But on September 1 of that year, World War II be- gan, and later came the German invasion of Norway. For Jack Bjerknes and his family, this had the consequence that they stayed in America and became U.S. citizens.

In 1945 a new Department of Meteorology was established at the University of California at Los Angeles, with Jack Bjerknes as chairman. The new department grew fast and soon became one of the world’s leading centers of teaching and research in the atmospheric sciences.

Toward the end of the 1950s, when Jack Bjerknes was around sixty, he turned his mind to a new field of research that engaged him for the rest of his life—the interaction of atmosphere and sea. Jack’s studies of the Pacific Ocean are even more remark- able.  He began with an investigation of the El Niño phe- nomenon.  As a result of his investigations, we now have a coherent picture of these large-scale processes in the equatorial Pacific.

More than any other atmospheric scientist, Jack Bjerknes managed to create order and system in a seemingly disor- derly atmosphere. It is most remarkable that after seventy- five years his frontal cyclone model is still used as a princi- pal tool in the world’s weather services. Nobody knows how many lives have been saved through the years as a result of the improved methods of weather forecasting that Jack Bjerknes instituted.

3 thoughts on “The Norwegian Cyclone Model and Jacob Bjerknes, born 1897 November 2nd

  1. It’s unbelievable that we never seem to hear about these people whose research may one day save our lives. Thanks, John.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.