First Municipal Weather Forecasting

Professor Cleveland Abbe, circa 1900. Image source: Professor Cleveland Abbe by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration/Department of Commerce is licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

Cleveland Abbe (1838–1916), a Cincinnati meteorologist, in 1869 established the first public weather service in America. Abbe also was the first official daily weather forecaster in the United States.

Abbe was born in New York and studied astronomy both in the United States and in Russia where he was a student and assistant at the Observatory at Pulkova.  Later, Abbe served as director of the Cincinnati Observatory, and was the first to offer daily weather predictions, which he based on telegraphic reports. He organized, with the assistance of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and the Western Union Telegraph Company, telegraphic weather reports, maps and daily forecasts.  Later this daily weather forecasting became a service provided by the National Weather Service.

In the 1870's, Abbe launched the "Monthly Weather Review," and some twenty years later became editor of an expanded version of this publication under the same name. Abbe also published several reports and books, exploring meteorological research.  Among his publications:

  • "Treatise on Meteorological Apparatus and Methods" (1887)
  • "Preparatory Studies for Deductive Methods in Storm and Weather Prediction" (1889)

Tracks of Storm Centres for January 1873 from Monthly Weather Review vol. 1 issue 1. Image source: Monthly Weather Review Author and Subject Index 1873-1935 by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Central Library Data Imaging Project is licensed under Public Domain Mark 1.0

Abbe was also a leader in the adoption of "standard time" in the United States.  He died the year "standard time" was adopted, 1916.

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