19 July 1885|
now Cēsis, Latvia
|Died||21 May 1971
Langeoog, West Germany
|Institutions||University of Tartu
University of Graz
|Alma mater||University of Tartu
University of Helsinki
|Known for||Tornado damage analysis|
Johannes Peter Letzmann (19 July 1885 – 21 May 1971) was an Estonian meteorologist, and a pioneering tornado researcher. His prolific output related to severe storms concepts included: developing tornado damage studies, atmospheric vortices, theoretical studies and laboratory simulations, tornado case studies, and observation programs. It generated extensive analysis techniques and insights on tornadoes at a time when there was still very little research on the subject in the United States.
From 1906 to 1913 Letzmann attended the University of Tartu in Tartu, Estonia, studying meteorology. His career studying tornadoes began in 1918 when the esteemed visiting scientist Alfred Wegener introduced him to his copious European tornado climatological and other studies. The University of Helsinki awarded Letzmann a PhD in 1924. Most of his studies were done at Dorpat (Tartu), but he did travel with Wegener for a year in 1928 to the University of Graz. He was a professor of meteorology at the University of Graz from 1939 (or 1940) to 1945. There he built a "Forschungsstelle für atmosphärische Wirbel" (Research Center for atmospheric whirls). After the war he lost his chair, but he remained in Graz, Austria. In 1962, he elected to retire to a hostel established for former Baltic Germans at Langeoog, an island off the North Sea coast of Germany. Letzmann's antebellum work remained forgotten for decades until rediscovery beginning in the 1990s.
- Peterson, Richard E. (March 1992). "Johannes Letzmann: A Pioneer in the Study of Tornadoes". Weather and Forecasting (American Meteorological Society) 7 (1): 166–84. Bibcode:1992WtFor...7..166P. doi:10.1175/1520-0434(1992)007<0166:JLAPIT>2.0.CO;2.
- Doswell, Charles A., III (Winter 2007). "Historical overview of severe convective storms research". Electronic Journal of Severe Storms Meteorology (E-Journals of Meteorology) 2 (1).
- Richtlinien zur Erforschung von Tromben, Tornados, Wasserhosen und Kleintromben
- Peterson, Richard E. (May 1992). "Letzmann and Koschmieder's "Guidelines for Research on Funnels, Tornadoes, Waterspouts and Whirlwinds"". Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (American Meteorological Society) 73 (5): 597–611. Bibcode:1992BAMS...73..597P. doi:10.1175/1520-0477(1992)073<0597:LAKFRO>2.0.CO;2.
- Alfred Wegener's tornado research and his influence on Johannes Letzmann: Scientific achievements decades ahead of their time
- Center of Competence for Severe Local Storms in Germany, Austria and Switzerland (TorDACH)
- European Severe Storms Laboratory (ESSL)
For further reading
- H. Eelsalu, H. Tooming, Eds. (1995). Meteorology in Estonia in Johannes Letzmann's times and today. ISBN 9985-50-111-X. Tallinn.
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