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Air Apparent

On This Day in 1891, Swedish meteorologist Tor Bergeron was born. Before daily weather balloons, before the phrase air mass, there was the Bergen (Norway) School of Meteorology – a radical place whose principal scientists concerned themselves with predicting, tracking, and mapping large bodies of moving air. These investigators focused on the analysis and prediction of large-scale weather systems rather than on controlled precipitation studies within laboratories. While the first aeronauts struggled with weather conditions trying to accomplish those first flights across the Atlantic, Bergeron was at the Bergen School mastering an understanding of fog and super-saturated water-vapour pressure over water.

Bergeron was the first to recognize that weather fronts formed in regions where the horizontal airflow deformed into a curve or slope against or around another air mass of different temperature. He came to understand the outer edges of these air masses as meetings between cold front and warm front and which front moved the other in what direction and what weather was about to develop. This knowledge explained not only how massive storms and cyclonic events began, but also what diffused their power. Bergeron explained the basic processes affecting storm intensification and decay. Meteorologists visited from around the world to the Bergen School for training.

Through his linguistic expertise in seven languages, he promoted discoveries, innovations, and the international renown of the Bergen School. Bergeron’s popular lecture notes became foundations of major texts written by colleagues in several languages. He influenced the development of international terminology and classification of clouds and precipitation. Bergeron introduced several innovations for weather map markings used today, for example, indicating cold fronts in blue; warm, in red. And helped us prepare for the approaching weather!

B Bondar / Real World Content Advantage