Cyclic Weather

Despite the Bergen School's influence on meteorological practice, some scholars persisted in their pursuit of elusive weather cycles. Weather cycles—recurring patterns of temperature, rainfall, or pressure—have been sought since ancient times, primarily as a way of predicting the weather months, if not years, in advance. The peak in studies of these periodicities occurred in the 1920s; research rapidly dropped off in the 1930s as new calculation techniques cast doubt on cycles. Most work on weather cycles was carried out by astronomers, economists, sociologists, and geologists—not by meteorologists.

In his four-volume Manual of Meteorology first published in 1925, the distinguished British meteorologist Sir Napier Shaw (1854-1945) summarized the state of meteorological knowledge in the first quarter of the 20th century. He listed more than 200 weather cycles ranging

The Austrian astronomer Rudolf Spitaler publishes his paper on the thermal response of the atmosphere and ocean to seasonal cycles of solar radiation

The British meteorologist Lewis Fry Richardson publishes his now-famous book Weather Prediction by Numerical Process

Jacob Bjerknes and Halvor Solberg pub lish their work on polar front theory

The British meteorologist Sir William Napier Shaw devises the tephi-gram—a thermodynamic diagram used to predict cloud formation


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