Winter Seed Catalog Moon
Most of the day spent in the Climate Change MOOC. This is the first week and I’m getting used to the rhythm and expectations. Running just a bit behind the pace they’re setting though I’ll catch up tomorrow and work out a good way to stay abreast of things.
(An image of the geographical domain covered by the Regional Deterministic Prediction System. Each box represents 15×15 model grid points. Env. Canada)
One new learning for me, though it’s obvious in hindsight, is the dependence of climate science on meteorology. It would not have been possible to raise climate related questions in any scientific way without particular advances driven by the desire to have better, that is more accurate, weather forecasts.
In fact, the first weather forecasts using modern techniques occurred in the early 20th century thanks to a Quaker scientist, Lewis Fry Richardson. It was Richardson who decided weather could be forecast by creating a grid system over the whole planet and getting values from each grid for such variables as temperature, wind speed and direction, humidity, cloud cover. This grid system and the collection of data from within them are at the heart of modern weather forecasting and a variation on that theme also drives the climate modelling about which we hear so often.
The rapid advancement in computer technology and speed came at just the right time, since as larger and electronic computers developed, so did our awareness that the climate was in fact changing. Without computers the kind of calculations necessary for climate modeling would have overwhelmed researchers.
I refer you again to the Links at the bottom of this website if you would like to pursue greater depth about any of these ideas.