A Vast Machine: Computer Models, Climate Data, and the by Paul N. Edwards

By Paul N. Edwards

The technological know-how at the back of worldwide warming, and its historical past: how scientists discovered to appreciate the ambience, to degree it, to track its prior, and to version its destiny.

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In the long run, numerous gateways—primarily in the form of software—made it possible to reconcile disparate forms of data from the many different platforms. Today weather forecast models and data assimilation models serve as the ultimate data gateways, relating each kind of data to every other one through modeled physics, rather than simply correlating unconstrained measurements in space and time. ) The networking of national climate observing systems into a global climate information infrastructure took much longer.

AC electric power, or the Windows operating system vs. Macintosh and Linux). During consolidation, the quasi-final stage of LTS development, competition among technological systems and standards may be resolved by the victory of one over the others. 17 AC-DC power converters for consumer electronics and telephone adapters for international travel are examples, as are (in the world of information technology) platform-independent standards such as HTML and PDF. 18 Gateway technologies and standards spark the formation of networks.

The International Meteorological Organization, despite its endemic weakness, represents an early international governance institution, while the Réseau Mondial and its successors reflected the ambition to build a global weather information infrastructure. By 1950 the informational-globalist imperative was already far stronger in meteorology than in many other putatively “global” systems that emerged around the same time. Though rudimentary, a planetary monitoring network had been functioning for decades, and had gained speed and scope in the 1920s with the arrival of shortwave radio, which untethered the data network from telegraph cables.

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