Oral history of British science
Gilchrist, Andrew (Part 5 of 7). An Oral History of British Science
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The British Library, London
Gilchrist, Andrew, 1929- (speaker, male)
Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)
Part 5: Comments on involvement in amateur dramatics as a child. Mentions plays performed by MO ‘Dramatic Society’: Somerset Maugham’s ‘The Constant Wife’/Agatha Christie’s ‘The Murder at the Vicarage’. Comments on role of FB as business manager and FB’s wife as leading lady. [1:38] Mentions ‘integration’ of climate model for MOD to simulate effects of ‘nuclear winter’. Comments on MO interest in/scepticism of/experimentation with climate modification, with related stories. Comments on silver iodide generators. [5:40] Brief description of modelling of ‘nuclear winter’. [6:57] Further comments on visits to UOM with FB/MH and own assistant. Brief comments on character of MH. Comments on interests of FB. [10:33] Further comments on letters from members of the public to GS. [12:12] Comments on/discussion of minority of female scientists employed by the MO during own career; FB’s posting to Aden, Yemen, 1961. [16:20] Comments on MO recruitment of scientists in the 1970s. [18:38] Comments on 1965 MO press conference on NWP. [20:02] Comments on extent of scepticism in MO concerning prospects for computer NWP. [23:13] Comments on own drafting of public information leaflet on CO2 (1979). [25:18] Comments on relations with International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis [IIASA], Austria. Brief description of IIASA. Mentions Royal Society’s view of IIASA. [30:46] Story of own first international conference: World Meteorological Organisation[WMO]/International Council of Scientific Unions [ICSU] Leningrad, USSR, 1972. Mentions delegates JSY, Nikolai Kondratiev, Mikhail Budyko. [39:42] Brief comments on lack of interest in moving from the MO to seek employment elsewhere; character/abilities of Julia Slingo. [43:40] Comments on role as Deputy Director of ‘Dynamics’ [DDD] (1977-1985), including own efforts to facilitate rapid promotion of promising researchers (mentions Tim Palmer, John Mitchell), bypassing forecasting duties. [48:18] Comments on other duties of DDD; membership then chairmanship of Working Group on Numerical Experimentation [WGNE] of the Joint Scientific Committee of World Climate Research Programme [WCRP]. Brief description of concerns/work of WGNE. [55:03] Mentions quality of computer climate models of GFDL, European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts [ECMWF], MO. Comments on reasons for accuracy of MO NWP in 1980s; reasons for lower accuracy of US Weather Bureau NWP. Mentions John Brown/Norman Philips. [58:24] Comments on relations between MO and ECMWF. Description of ‘four dimensional’ system for inputting of meteorological observations into climate models. Comments on difference between MO’s ‘grid point’ and ECMWF’s ‘spherical harmonics’ approach to climate modelling. [1:03:45] Comments on service as UK representative on European Economic Community [EEC] climate programme; climate research in specific European countries. [1:11:00] Comments on service on Natural Environment Research Council [NERC] Council. Brief comments on relations between MO and UK university departments. [1:13:22] Comments on service on ‘flood committee’, established 1953. Comments on relations with Civil Aviation Authority’s research group. [1:16:24] Comments on effect on MO of Directorship of John Houghton [JH]; relations between MO and University of Oxford. Mentions JH’s Chairmanship of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. Comments on IPCC; relations between MO and WMO. Description of own involvement in IPCC.
Interview with climate modeller and research meteorologist Andrew Gilchrist