Cleveland Abbe

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Cleveland Abbe was an American meteorologist who wrote (in 1890?) that "meteorology is essentially the application of hydrodynamics and thermodynamics to the atmosphere."[1] He was the principal founder of the U.S. Weather Bureau, later known as the U.S. National Weather Service.

Abbe began his career in mathematics and astronomer, teaching at the Scientific School at the University of Michigan in 1858–1860. He proceeded to work from Cambridge, Mass., on the US Coast Survey, and then worked under Otto Struve at the Observatory of Poulkovo, Russia, in 1865–1866. After returning to the US he was chosen to head the Cincinnati Observatory, which under his leadership began issuing daily "Weather Bulletins" for the Cincinnati area.[2]

He went to work for the new Weather Bureau, under General Albert J. Myer of the Signal Corps, c. 1871. He laboriously systematized the Weather Bureau's various stations, and in 1872 created the Monthly Weather Review,[2] which he edited until 1915, at which time he turned over the job to his son Cleveland Abbe, Jr.. He continued working for the Weather Bureau after 1891 when it was transferred to civilian control. From 1909 to 1913 he edited the Bulletin of the Mt. Weather Observatory.[3]

Beginning in Cincinnati, and continuing later, he was involved in local time synchronization, and the creation of standard hourly railroads times which later became the time zone system.[2]

He was professor of meteorology at Columbian University (= George Washington University) from 1886–1905, and lecturer at Johns Hopkins University, 1896–1914.[3]

He lived from 1877 to 1909 in Washington DC.[4]

Publications by or about Cleveland Abbe

Letters sent by Cleveland Abbe


  1. Teague & Gallicchio, 2017, p. 25.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Sketch of Cleveland Abbe", Popular Science Monthly vol. 32, January 1888, pp. 400–408.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Obituary: Professor Cleveland Abbe", Geographical Record, November 1916, p. 383.


Names Cleveland Abbe
Birth date 1838-12-03
Death date 1916-10-28
Countries US
Locations New York, New York; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Poulkovo, Russia; Cincinnati, Ohio; Washington, DC; Chevy Chase, Maryland
Occupations meteorologist, editor
Tech areas Meteorology, Kite, Balloon, Electricity, Meteorology, Astronomy, Communications, time
Affiliations U.S. Weather Bureau, Monthly Weather Review
Wikidata id