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First Computer Model

1967

Syukuro Manabe and Richard T. Wetherald are the first to use a computer model to explore the impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide on the Earth’s climate

Syukuro Manabe and Richard T. Wetherald publish “Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a Given Distribution of Relative Humidity” in the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences. They conclude that “a doubling of the CO2 content in the atmosphere has the effect of raising the temperature of the atmosphere (whose relative humidity is fixed) by about 2C.”* The analysis is “the first to represent the fundamental elements of the Earth’s climate in a computer model, and to explore what doubling carbon dioxide (CO2) would do to global temperature.”  A 2015 CarbonBrief poll of leading scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will find this paper most often chosen as the “most influential climate change paper of all time.”**

*Syukuro Manabe and Richard Wetherald, “Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a Given Distribution of Relative Humidity,” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, Vol. 24, No. 3, May, 1967, http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/1520-0469%281967%29024%3C0241%3ATEOTAW%3E2.0.CO%3B2
**Roz Pidcock, “The Most Influential Climate Change Papers of All Time,” CarbonBrief, June 7, 2015, http://www.carbonbrief.org/the-most-influential-climate-change-papers-of-all-time; My acknowledgment to the CarbonBrief survey report for identifying a number of other research articles included in this chronology.

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