Happy Birthday to the Father of Modern Dynamical Meteorology

Happy Birthday to the Father of Modern Dynamical Meteorology

Mon February 2nd, 2017
Lauren Hinkel

In honor of his 100th birthday on January 1st, MIT remembers Jule Gregory Charney, a leader in numerical weather prediction, and a former MIT professor and director of the Atmospheric and Ocean Dynamics Project. As an American meteorologist, Charney focused on mathematically describing large-scale atmospheric circulation; this extended to work on ocean currents, atmospheric wave propagation, large-scale hydrodynamic instability, hurricanes, drought, and atmospheric blocking ridges.

Jule Gregory CharneyOne of his most notable contributions was the development of The Quasi-Geostrophic Equations, a set of equations that calculated motions of planetary-scale waves (Rossby waves). Additionally, Charney’s seminal work on baroclinic instability theory provided the first correct explanation for the development of cyclones and anticyclones in Earth’s mid-latitudes. He also led the preparation of a National Research Council report, “Carbon dioxide and climate: A scientific assessment", which provided one of the earliest evaluations of climate change and its carbon dioxide link.

Later this year, MIT’s Lorenz Center and PAOC will throw a joint symposium recognizing the contributions that Jule Charney and Edward Lorenz—also celebrating 100 on May 23rd and the father of chaos theory—made to MIT and Earth sciences.