Fundamental science changes society: the emergence of modern meteorology (Arnt Eliassen’s 100th anniversary)

In September 2015 it is 100 years since one of the fathers of the modern meteorology was born - Arnt Eliassen (9.9.1915 – 22.4.2000). This is celebrated by DNVA and UiO with a seminar on how fundamental science can change the society: The emergence of modern meteorology.

The programme consists of five speeches and is open for all interested, dinner for invited guests and others (if capacity). Register before 4.9.

Arnt Eliassen, a geophysicist and meteorologist and pioneer in modern meteorology with his research on numerical weather forecast. Photo: Kirsten Helgeland

Background Arnt Eliassen

Arnt Eliassen (b 9.9.1915 in Kristiania, d 22.4.2000) was a Norwegian meteorologist, a pioneer in dynamical meteorology and one of the founders of numerical weather prediction (1949). He was professor at the University of Oslo 1958-1985.

His main scientific contributions were in fundamental dynamic meteorology where he provided important progress in the understanding of short and planetary-scale mountain waves, frontogenesis and transversal circulations in fronts, and interactions between waves and the mean-flow.

Early on, Eliassen formulated equations for balanced, large-scale atmospheric flows with pressure as vertical co-ordinate, and techniques for numerical weather analysis and prediction such as statistical interpolation, time-staggered grids, and isentropic co-ordinate model equations. As a visiting scientist 1947-49 at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, he worked together with Jule Charney and John von Neumann preparing mathematical equations that allowed numerical solution on the ENIAC computer, which soon after resulted in the very first numerical weather forecast for the next 24 hours.

Eliassen was a leading figure, together with Ragnar Fjørtoft, in the second blooming period of Norwegian meteorology, the first one being the Bergen School with Vilhelm Bjerknes in the 1920s.

The objective of the seminar

To show how fundamental research work can turn out to be of great benefit to society, with examples from the pioneering research work done by professor Arnt Eliassen in modern weather prediction and earth system science.

Programme (4 pm start)

Sir Brian Hoskins, Professor of Meteorology at the University of Reading and Chair of the Grantham Institute at Imperial College London, UK:
- Prediction of summer heat waves and drought in Europe: the key role of atmospheric dynamics and blocking.(30 min)

Senior scientist, Dr Joseph Tribbia, Earth System Laboratory, Atmospheric Modeling and Predictability, National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, US:
- A dynamic perspective on the potentials for reliable multi-year climate predictions (30 min)

Senior Research Fellow, Dr Antje Weisheimer, National Centre for Atmospheric Science (NCAS), University of Oxford, Department of Physics and Scientist in the Research Department, Predictability Division, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), Reading, UK:
- Exploring and extending the limits of weather predictability in the northern hemisphere? (30 min)

Professor Trond Iversen, Deputy Director of Research, Norwegian Meteorological Institute and adjunct professor at the University of Oslo:
- Why do we have westerly winds at mid-latitudes? (20 min)

Director General Anton Eliassen, Norwegian Meteorological Institute:
- What makes a great scientist? (20 min)


  • These five talks including a short break, will be followed by questions for the speakers from the audience.
  • From 7 pm. dinner at DNVA.


To participate in the seminar, please register before Friday 4 September 2015 to

Please indicate if you would like to participate in the dinner at 7pm. Receipt of registration for the dinner will be acknowledged by the Academy, asking for prepayment before 7 September to DNVA’s bank account; 250 NOK for students including PhD-students, and 500 NOK for others.

Note: The registration for dinner will take place on first come, first served basis up to the capacity.


Publisert 27. mai 2015 15:27 - Sist endret 15. sep. 2015 14:30