America had been moderated since ancient times by dioxide; feedbacks between the atmosphere, the clearing of forests and agriculture, and this in turn had oceans, and land surfaces; and so forth. This changed made it more fit for European-type civilization. Ameri- forever a descriptive subject to one in which the laws can colonists such as John Adams, Edward Holyoke, of physics, chemistry, and mathematics could be ap- plied. The giants who led this advance were, among and Thomas Jefferson used this argument in defend- others, John Tyndall, Svante Arrhenius, and T. C. ing the desirability of America for settlement. Fleming Chamberland. The latter contributed considerations of points out, however, that there were skeptics who dis- agreed with this rosy picture of the climate and how it the role of the solid earth and oceans to the causes of was changing. ice ages. In the nineteenth century, prompted by such lead- Somewhat surprisingly, Fleming devotes an entire ers as Mathew Maury, Joseph Henry, and the chapter to the formerly popular and prolific writer Smithsonian Institution, systematic observations of the Ellswort h Huntington. This man, according to weather and climate were instituted, and this irrevo- Fleming, seems to have had a great influence on think- cably altered philosophical climate discourse and es- ing in the early twentieth century, and his writings tablished the foundations for the modern science of rekindled earlier ideas drawn from the Age of Enlight- climatology. Now it became accepted practice to con- enment and the theory of environmental determinism. These ideas were certainly evocative—such as the sult the climate record rather than ancient authorities power of climatic changes to cause changes in human or the memories of the elderly. occupations, habits, and even character—but they are The nineteenth century also witnessed the applica- generally not taken seriously anymore. tion of physical experiments and mathematical theory to the question of climate change; the role of carbon Fleming deals rather hastily with the enormous Climate and Food Production The World Meteorological Organization is giving increased attention to the crucial problem of world food production and climate fluctuations. Leading scientists from about 15 countries met in Vijk, near Stockholm, from 29 July-10 August for an International Study Conference on the Physical Basis of Climate and Climate Modeling. The confer- ence was convened by WMO and the International Council of Scientific Unions within the framework of the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) and with support from the United Nations Environment Program. Special attention was given to the development of improved mathematical models of the atmosphere which can be used to assess the long-term response of the atmosphere-ocean-land sys- tem to changes in any of the basic factors which determine climate. Reports presented include those on experiments made with models to compute the effect of a change in solar radiation, an increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and an increase in atmospheric pollution. [.. . ] In view of the growing economic and social impact of year-to-year variations in weather and of any long-term trends in climate, a major international scientific effort is called for to determine the fea- sibility of prediction of climate change. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 55, 1263-1264. Vol. 80,, No. 10,, October 1999 206 0
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Oct 1, 1999
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