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The Norwegian School of Meteorology

Be proud, Norwegians. The science of meteorology and weather forecasting are based on what is commonly known as the Norwegian School of Meteorology. All of us who studied meteorology in college learned of Jacob Bjerknes, Carl-Gustav Rossby, Sverre Petterssen, Tor Bergeron and others; all followers of the great Vilhelm Bjerkness; all with meteorological formulas and theories now known by their hard-to-pronounce names.

Starting in 1917, Vilhelm Bjerknes and his assistants were the first to mathematically describe the motions of the atmosphere in a way that made prediction possible. They also developed the concepts of low- and high-pressure systems along with cold, warm, stationary and occluded fronts. Using careful observation and creative intuition, these great Norwegian scientists were the first to describe how weather systems work. Computers modelling came along much later, but the concepts in these mathematical models are based on their concepts.

John Wheeler

John was born in Baton Rouge, LA, and grew up near Birmingham, Alabama. As a teenager, his family moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and later to a small town in northeast Iowa. John traces his early interest in weather to the difference in climate between Alabama and Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in meteorology. Like any meteorologist, John is intrigued by extremes of weather, especially arctic air outbreaks and winter storms.  John has been known to say he prefers his summers to be hot but in winter, he prefers the cold.  When away from work, John enjoys long-distance running and reading.  John has been a meteorologist at WDAY since May of 1985.

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