The 2001 Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal is awarded to Fedor Mesinger as a leading expert in the field of numerical modelling of the atmosphere and in recognition of his contributions to numerical weather prediction.
Fedor Mesinger is one of the world’s leading experts in the field of numerical modelling of the atmosphere. For the past four decades he has been making notable contributions to dynamical meteorology and to the science and practice of numerical weather prediction. In 1973 he was the architect of a numerical weather prediction model that became known as the HIBU (Hydrometeorological Institute and Belgrade University) Model, which was used in Yugoslavia and in many other countries. The Mesinger and Arakawa (1976, WMO) monograph “Numerical Methods used in Atmospheric Models” has become a classic, being today perhaps the most widely used text in teaching numerical methods in meteorology. Mesinger diagnosed a reason for noise generation in finite difference models and developed an important noise suppressing method for coping with this problem. He developed energy conserving numerical schemes that properly simulate the conversion from potential to kinetic energy in finite difference models. He discovered a convergence problem in the expression of the pressure gradient force in the terrain-following vertical coordinate system and developed a new coordinate system (the “eta coordinate”) to remedy this. The Eta Model, of which he was the main architect, is now used operationally at the US National Centers for Environmental Modeling for weather prediction over the area of the United States. The model is also being used at an increasing number of other forecasting centers around the world.
Mesinger received his Sc.D. degree in Meteorology from the University of Belgrade in 1960. He spent over half his career at the University of Belgrade, where he established a numerical modelling group that compared well with the best in the world. He has spent extended periods as a visiting scientist at many of the world’s leading modelling centres, including NCAR, UCLA, the Technical High School in Darmstadt, the Aeronomical Service of CNRS, Verrires-le-Buisson, and GFDL, Princeton. He has worked at NMC (subsequently NCEP/EMC) since 1984 under the UCAR Visiting Scientist Program. He spends two months per year at the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste. Mesinger is a past president of the WMO Commission for Atmospheric Sciences, a member of the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Academia Europaea and a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society. He is the author of over one hundred scientific papers.