Bjerknes, Jacob

Bjerknes, Jacob (Aall Bonnevie)

(1897–1975) meteorologist; born in Stockholm, Sweden. Son of the famous Norwegian meteorologist Vilhelm Bjerknes, Jacob was instrumental in the development of weather prediction in the United States. With his father, he established weather observation stations in Norway during World War I and developed the famous Bergen Institute in Norway. He was visiting the University of California: Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1940 when Hitler invaded Norway, preventing his return home. He joined the faculty of UCLA and became a naturalized citizen in 1946. Bjerknes was instrumental in introducing the concept of weather fronts to United States' forecasters. With phenomenal insight, Bjerknes was able to describe cyclones and the development and dissipation of warm and cold fronts, thus laying the foundation necessary for accurate weather prediction. In the 1950s, his research turned to the ocean. He described the "Niño" effect from the Pacific Ocean and persuaded scientists of the importance of studying the ocean and atmosphere as a single, highly interactive system.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bjerknes, Jacob


Born Nov. 2, 1897, in Stockholm. Norwegian meteorologist. Son of V. F. K. Bjerknes.

Bjerknes graduated from the University of Oslo in 1924. From 1918 to 1920 he worked in the weather service in Bergen, and from 1920 to 1931 in Switzerland. From 1931 to 1939 he was a professor at the University of Bergen. In 1940 he became a professor at the University of California. Bjerknes made basic studies of the structure of atmospheric fronts and their connection with precipitation, discovered the structure of cyclones, explained them in terms of waves on atmospheric fronts, and clarified the role of cyclonic activity in the general circulation of the atmosphere. His later works are devoted to the problem of the influence of the ocean on the circulation of the atmosphere and climate.


Meteorological Conditions for the Formation of Rain. Kristiania, 1921. (Together with H. Solberg.)
“Theorie der auss ertropischen Zyklonenbildung.” Meteorologische Zeitschrift, 1937, vol. 54, p. 462.
“On the Theory of Cyclones.” Journal of Meteorology, 1944, vol. 1, p. 1.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.