Article ID: CBB001024216

The Development of General Circulation Models of Climate (2010)


Weart, Spencer R. (Author)

Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Volume: 41
Pages: 208--217

Publication Date: 2010
Edition Details: Part of a special issue, “Modelling and Simulation in the Atmospheric and Climate Sciences”
Language: English

With the coming of digital computers in the 1950s, a small American team set out to model the weather, followed by attempts to represent the entire general circulation of the atmosphere. The work spread during the 1960s, and by the 1970s a few modelers had produced somewhat realistic looking models of the planet's regional climate pattern. The work took on wider interest when modelers tried increasing the level of greenhouse gases, and invariably found serious global warming. Skeptics pointed to dubious technical features, but by the late 1990s these problems were largely resolved---thanks to enormous increases in computer power, the number and size of the closely interacting teams that now comprised the international modeling community, and the crucial availability of field experiments and satellite data to set against the models' assumptions and outputs. By 2007 nearly all climate experts accepted that the climate simulations represented reality well enough to impel strong action to restrict gas emissions.

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Article Heymann, Matthias (2010) Understanding and Misunderstanding Computer Simulation: The Case of Atmospheric and Climate Science---An Introduction. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics (p. 193). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Weart, Spencer R.
Oreskes, Naomi
Conway, Erik M.
Heymann, Matthias
Greene, Mott T.
Lorenzoni, I.
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part B: Studies in History and Philosophy of Modern Physics
Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Historical Studies in the Physical and Biological Sciences
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Public Understanding of Science
Harvard University Press
MIT Press
University of Arizona
University of California, Santa Cruz
University of British Columbia (Canada)
Climate and climatology
Global warming
Science and politics
Computer Simulation
Models and modeling in science
Nierenberg, William Aaron
Keeling, Charles David
United States
Great Britain
Arctic regions
20th century, late
21st century
20th century
National Academy of Sciences (U.S.)
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

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