Reading: A History of Climate Models

A reading titled ‘Simple Models of Climate Change’ by Spencer Weart hosted on the website of Center for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics. This reading is a supplement to Spencer Weart’s book titled, ‘The Discovery of Global Warming’. This reading provides a history of climate change models from 1950 and how they evolved over time. 

Students will learn about various topics in physics and earth sciences such as the greenhouse effect, atmospheric radiation, heat transfer, and general atmospheric circulation models. They will also learn how some ideas – correct and incorrect, about climate sciences were theorised and evolved with time.

Use this tool to help your students find answers to:

  1. When was the first climate change model theorised?
  2. What were some of the misconceptions about climate change in the mid-20th century?
  3. What ideas and methods about climate change from the past have carried on into current climate change models?

About the Tool

Tool NameSimple Models of Climate Change
DisciplinePhysics, Earth Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineClimate Physics, Climate Models, Atmospheric Circulation, Heath Transfer, Radiation, Chaos Theory
Climate TopicPlanetary Climate; Planetary Energy Balance
Type of toolReading
Grade LevelHighschool, Undergraduate
Developed bySpencer Weart
Hosted atCenter for History of Physics, American Institute of Physics
AccessOnline/ Offline
Computer SkillsBasic
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