Interpretation Of The Data

The scientific roots of climatology, a subdiscipline of meteorology until the late 20th century, were planted in the work of Edmund Halley's 1686 mapping of the trade winds and his assertion of a relationship between solar heating and atmospheric change. Benjamin Franklin (1706-90), sometimes credited as the first American meteorologist, observed that North American weather systems move west to east, discovered lightning was electricity (1752), charted the Gulf Stream, linked volcanic eruptions to weather changes, and associated deforestation with climate change. The German H.W. Brandes drew the first weather map in 1819.

Controversies based on the interpretation of the data began to increase as the number of government and academic-related weather observation and recording programs burgeoned in the United States in the first quarter of the 19th century. The most notable of these was the storm controversy (183459) involving William Redfield, James Espy, and Robert Hare, concerning the nature, cause, and methodology for studying storms.

Though never resolved, the controversy gave impetus to increasing observational networks and the theoretical understanding and application of meteorology by the U.S. military, the Franklin Institute, the Smithsonian Institute, and the American Philosophi cal Society. Samuel F.B. Morse's telegraph and Morse code made the more rapid dissemination and analysis of this increasingly abundant information possible. The Army Signal Corps began using the telegraph in 1849, to disseminate daily weather observations through the U.S. Department of War, and in the same year, the Smithsonian began producing daily weather maps from telegraphic information.

In 1855, France created the first officially-sanctioned national weather service in response to the loss of French vessels at sea during a storm in 1854. The first daily forecast was created by Robert Fitzroy, and first appeared in the London Times in 1860, and in 1861 the first system for port storm warnings was instituted.

The modern weather map was introduced by the Paris Observatory in 1863, and was later enhanced by the use of innovative graphic devices, such as symbols and isobars, lines showing constant pressure. The U.S. Weather Bureau, created by the Army Signal Corps in 1870, was ceded to the Department of Agriculture in 1891, and Britain's Meteorological Office was formed in 1872.

William Ferrel's 1856 postulation that mid-latitude circulation cells created the prevailing westerly winds by serving as a deflecting force interacting with pressure gradients was confirmed in the late 19th century and named the Coriolis Effect (Force) in the early 20th century. Vilhelm Bjerknes's work on mid-altitude cyclones led him to create, by 1920, a model of atmospheric change based on hydrodynamics and thermodynamics. The concepts of air masses and weather fronts were forwarded in the 1920s.

Though Bjerknes work, along with Lewis Fry Richardson's 1920s equation-based weather predictions led to a rudimentary three dimensional atmospheric model. The complexity of the equations and magnitude of the calculations caused this area of meteorology to languish until the availability of high-speed computers in the 1950s. Edward N. Lorenz applied chaos theory to the atmosphere in the 1960s, and his theories were integrated into the increasingly complex atmospheric modeling relegated to computers. The advent of the 21st century brought an increased emphasis on computer modeling through such joint projects as the Global Atmospheric Research Programme (GARP), designed to model atmospheric phenomena on a global level.

Rendering drawn prior to launch of the TIROS I satellite system showing its range of vision on Earth's surface.

Though Teisserence deBort began using kites and balloons to gather temperature data in 1899, it was not until the 1940s that radiosones (balloons) began daily measurements of temperature, humidity, and pressure of the upper-air. World War II fighter pilots discovered the jet stream, and later, surplus military radars began to measure precipitation. Doppler radar began replacing conventional radar in the 1990s. The first weather satellite, TIROS I (Television Infrared Observation Satellite), was launched in 1960.

meteorology and climate change

A hole in the ozone layer of the atmosphere was discovered in 1985, and the earlier detection of the warming of the Earth (1980) gave impetus to the idea that one of the causes was human (androgenic) induced climate change from man-made ozone depleting gases. The United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) responded by creating (in 1988) the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and tasking it with studying the hypothesized phenomenon. The IPCC determined that the Earth had warmed over the last 150-year period, and that that warming was due, in part, to human activity. In executive summary of the report, the panel concluded that most of the observed global warming experienced in the last 50 years was due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. The IPCC and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace on October 12, 2007, for their work on global warming.

The ever-increasing calculation power of computers made possible increasingly complex computer modeling of the atmosphere and many of the complex variables that impact weather and the climate. This made possible a greater understanding the causes and effects of such weather phenomenon as global warming and El NiƱo.

By 1997, a global treaty known as the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) established legally-binding greenhouse gas emission restrictions on signatory countries by 2012, but did not include developing countries such as China and India. President George W. Bush of the United States did not sign the protocol. The enormous growth in the meteorology knowledge base in the 20th century led to its division into subdisciplines such as climatology, geophysical fluid dynamics, and atmospheric chemistry, as well as regional meteorologies.

sEE ALso: Climate; Climate Cycles; Computer Models; Coriolis Force; Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP); Hydrological Cycle.

BIBLIoGRAPHY. Neville Brown, History and Climate Change: A Eurocentric Perspective (Routledge, 2001); Horace Byers, General Meteorology (McGraw-Hill, 1994); G.P. Cressman, "The Origin and Rise of Numerical Weather Prediction," Historical Essays on Meteorology 1919-1995 (American Meteorological Society, 1996); J.R. Fleming, Historical Perspectives on Climate Change (Oxford University Press, 1998); R.M. Friedman, Appropriating the Weather: Vilhelm Bjerknes and the Construction of a Modern Meteorology (Cornell University Press, 1993); H.H. Frisinger, The History of Meteorology to 1800 (Science History Publications, 1977); Frederik

Nebeker, Calculating the Weather: Meteorology in the 20th Century (Academic Press,1995); J.T. Williams, The History of Weather (Nova Science Publishers, 1998).

Richard Milton Edwards University of Wisconsin Colleges Milwaukee School of Engineering

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment