Modern Meterology


What happened in the 1940s and 1950s that gave hope to the science of numerical weather prediction?

Hungarian-American mathematician John von Neumann (1903–1957) devised a forerunner of the modern computer that could make the rapid calculations needed to predict the weather using the numerical forecasting method. Next, Princeton University meteorologist Jule Charney (1917–1981), having studied Richardson’s earlier failure, wrote revised formulas in 1946 that could be used for weather prediction with the help of von Neumann’s computer. With this background foundation in place, in 1950 the first successful weather forecast using the numerical method was completed in April, 1950, by the ENIAC computer at Maryland’s Aberdeen Proving Ground. An ongoing weather forecast service was then begun in 1955, using an IBM computer funded by the National Weather Service, and the U.S. Navy and Air Force.


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