• Dale R. Durran
Part of the Texts in Applied Mathematics book series (TAM, volume 32)


The possibility of deterministic weather prediction was suggested by Vilhelm Bjerknes as early as 1904. Around the time of the First World War, Lewis Richardson actually attempted to produce such a forecast by manually integrating a finitedifference approximation to the equations governing atmospheric motion. Unfortunately, his calculations did not yield a reasonable forecast. Moreover, the human labor required to obtain this disappointing result was so great that subsequent attempts at deterministic weather prediction had to await the introduction of a high-speed computational aid. In 1950 a team of researchers, under the direction of Jule Charney and John von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study, at Princeton, journeyed to the Aberdeen Proving Ground, where they worked for approximately twenty-four hours to coax a one-day weather forecast from the first general-purpose electronic computer, the ENIAC.1 The first computer-generated weather forecast was surprisingly good, and its success led to the rapid growth of a new meteorological subdiscipline, “numerical weather prediction.” These early efforts in numerical weather prediction also began a long and fruitful collaboration between numerical analysts and atmospheric scientists.2 The use of numerical models in atmospheric and oceanic science has subsequently expanded into almost all areas of current research.


Gravity Wave Sound Wave Rossby Wave Hyperbolic System Numerical Weather Prediction 
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  1. 2.
    Further details about these early weather prediction efforts may be found in Bjerknes (1904), Richardson (1922), Charney et al. (1950), Burks and Burks (1981), and Thompson (1983).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dale R. Durran
    • 1
  1. 1.Atmospheric SciencesUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

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