William Ferrel


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Ferrel, William

 

Born Jan. 29, 1817, in Fulton County, Pa.; died Sept. 18, 1891, in Maywood, Kan. American meteorologist.

Ferrel was a member of the Coast and Geodetic Survey of the USA from 1867 to 1882. He directed meteorological research for the Army Signal Corps in Washington from 1882 to 1886. He was the first to apply mathematical methods consistently to meteorological problems by constructing a theoretical model of the general atmospheric circulation on the basis of the equations of hydrodynamics. His use of mathematical methods contributed to the development of modern dynamical meteorology. Ferrel did research in the theory of hurricanes and tornadoes, the theory of the temperature distribution in the atmosphere and on the earth’s surface, and tidal theory.

WORKS

An Essay on the Winds and the Currents of the Ocean. Nashville, 1856.
The Motions of Fluids and Solids, Relative to the Earth’s Surface. New York–London, 1860.
Meteorological Researches, part 1. Washington, 1878.
Meteorological Researches.” American Journal of Science, 1881, series 3, vol. 22.
Recent Advances in Meteorology. Washington, 1886.
References in periodicals archive ?
1886: Appendix 24: Report of Professor William Ferrel, assistant, on psychrometric tables for use in the signal service.
The book spends much of its time with the characters throughout history who made our understanding of wind and forecasting possible, people like Admiral Francis Beaufort, Robert FitzRoy, who sailed with Darwin and became the first head of the Met Office (and who would later commit suicide under a hail of criticism of early forecasts), and William Ferrel, a poor-farmer-made-good and in Streever's words 'possibly the most gifted meteorologist who ever lived'.