Monday, November 28, 2011

Abbe Observatory

Cleveland Abbe (1838-1916) at the request of the Cincinnati Astronomical Society became director of the neglected Cincinnati Observatory in 1868 and it was at this time he developed a system for daily weather forecasting. Abbe and his team of observers scattered throughout the country would report on weather conditions at specified times and record and report forecasts via telegraph. Abbe was known as, “Old Probability” and in 1870 helped establish the US Weather Bureau and became Chief Meteorologist. The bureau later became the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Cleveland Abbe also founded the Monthly Weather Review, which is still published today. He also laid out a plan for standardized time zones in the United States.

The Abbe Observatory was built in 1915 by the US Weather Bureau and was the only weather station with a commemorative name. The Georgian Revival building located on Lafayette Circle once had weather equipment stationed on the roof and was the home to the Chief Meteorologist for the bureau. Ownership of the observatory was transferred to the University of Cincinnati in 1965. Today it serves as a private residence.

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