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Jacob Aall Bonnevie Bjerknes (November 2, 1897, Stockholm, Sweden – July 7, 1975, Los Angeles, California) was a Norwegian-American meteorologist.



His father was the Norwegian meteorologist Vilhelm Bjerknes (1862–1951), one of the pioneers of modern weather forecasting, and his maternal grandfather was Jacob Aall Bonnevie, whence his name. Bjerknes was awarded the Ph.D. from the University of Kristiania in 1924.

Bjerknes was part of a group of meteorologists led by Vilhelm Bjerknes developed the model that explains the generation, intensification and ultimate decay (the life cycle) of midlatitude cyclones, introducing the idea of fronts, that is, sharply defined boundaries between air masses. This concept is known as the Norwegian cyclone model.

Bjerknes was a support meteorologist when Roald Amundsen made the first crossing of the Arctic in the airship Norge in 1926. Bjerknes founded the UCLA Department of Meteorology (now the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences). Jacob Bjerknes in 1969 helped toward an understanding of ENSO, by suggesting that an anomalously warm spot in the eastern Pacific can weaken the east-west temperature difference, disrupting trade winds, which push warm water to the west. The result is increasingly warm water toward the east.[1]


  • The American Geophysical Union's William Bowie Medal (1945)
  • American Meteorological Society's Rossby Medal (1960)
  • National Medal of Science (1966)


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