Rossby, Carl-Gustaf

Rossby, Carl-Gustaf (Arvid)

(1898–1957) meteorologist; born in Stockholm, Sweden. His early work in meteorology was at the Bergen Institute in Norway under the famous Vilhelm Bjerknes. He came to the United States in 1926 on a one-year fellowship to the U.S. Weather Bureau, married in 1929, and became a U.S. citizen in 1939. (He would return to Sweden in 1950 at the request of the Swedish government to help found the Institute of Meteorology at the University of Stockholm.) His influence in the United States is felt at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1928–39) and the University of Chicago (1941–50), where he organized strong meteorological departments. At the U.S. Weather Bureau (1939–41) he redirected scientific efforts to incorporate important Scandinavian advances in the description of weather fronts and storms. He discovered what are now known as Rossby waves, a description of the flow of air within the jet stream, and the Rossby equation, that calculates how fast the flow develops. A medal bearing his name is given by the American Meteorological Society to honor significant research.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.