What is it about?

Scientists have been working on climate change research since the 1960s. This is an early paper by 2021 Nobel prize winner Syukuro Manabe, and his then colleague, the late Richard Wetherald. They were exploring how the earth’s atmosphere would respond to changes such as higher levels of carbon dioxide. Manabe and Wetherald worked out a way to estimate how much warmer Earth would get if there was twice as much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

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Why is it important?

This project was the first to use a computer model to show that carbon dioxide causes global warming. It led to more computer models being used in climate research. Other scientists were able to use this approach to provide governments and the public with data to back up the suggestion that human activity was causing climate change. This was important because it persuaded people of the need to reduce our carbon emissions. KEY TAKEAWAY: We have had evidence linking human activity to climate change for more than 50 years.

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This page is a summary of: Thermal Equilibrium of the Atmosphere with a Given Distribution of Relative Humidity, Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, May 1967, American Meteorological Society, DOI: 10.1175/1520-0469(1967)0242.0.co;2.
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