4.4 The Contributions of Benito Viñes, S. J. to the Development of Tropical Meteorology

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 4:00 PM
Room 231/232 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Oswaldo Garcia, San Francisco State Univ., San Francisco, CA; and L. Ramos

Father Benito Viñes was a Jesuit priest that arrived in Havana in 1870 to lead the Observatory of Belén College. Shortly upon his arrival, the nearby city of Matanzas was devastated by a hurricane. This event provided the impetus for Viñes to devote the rest of his life to the study of Caribbean hurricanes.

As a result of the careful observations he conducted over the next 23 years, Father Viñes developed a coherent theory that linked meteorological observations recorded at various locations in the Caribbean, transmitted using the emerging technology of telegraphs, to the real-time tracking and forecasting of Atlantic hurricanes.

Father Viñes was an active contributor to the meteorological literature of his time and was well known to other meteorologist in the U.S. and Europe. His forecasts were published routinely in Havana newspapers and by the time of his death he was a well known and respected forecaster. This presentation will give a brief overview of Viñes and his contributions to the emerging science of meteorology in the late 19th century.

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