For a talk earlier this year, I put together a timeline of the history of climate modelling. I just updated it for my course, and now it’s up on Prezi, as a presentation you can watch and play with. Click the play button to follow the story, or just drag and zoom within the viewing pane to explore your own path.

Consider this a first draft though – if there are key milestones I’ve missed out (or misrepresented!) let me know!


  1. I like this history. Is it possible to have a pdf to print it and to have it on my office’s wall? Thanks a lot.

  2. @Lali Well, I wasn’t quite ready for a printable version, as I still think it needs some more editing, but you’ve twisted my arm 😉
    A pdf of the timeline is here:

  3. Pingback: Another Week of GW News, November 4, 2012 – A Few Things Ill Considered

  4. You could add what I think of as the first climate model, Phillips 1956 paper “The General Circulation of the Atmosphere: A Numerical Experiment” In the spirit of reproducibility and publishing code, the model description in the paper is complete enough to implement it. There’s a photo of von Neumann in front of the IAS machine at

    Also I think Manabe and Wetherald’s 1967 radiative convective model was an important step,;2. It was almost another decade before anyone could run a GCM to equilibrium with doubled CO2 (even with only a swamp ocean).

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