Oral history of British science

Slingo, Julia (Part 2 of 6)

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  • Recording locations

    The British Library, London and Meteorological Office, Exeter

  • Interviewees

    Slingo, Julia, 1950- (speaker, female)

  • Interviewers

    Merchant, Paul (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Part 2: [16:23] Comments on limited memory of discussion of computer numerical weather forecasting [CNWF] on SOTC; posting of SOs following SOTC, including own posting to Climate Dynamics Division [CDD], MO (‘MetO 20’ [M20]). Description of distinction between work of CDD and statistical climatology. Mentions use of CNWF methods in CDD to simulate/understand climate system. [3:00] Mentions Head of CDD at time of appointment, Andrew Gilchrist [AG]; assignment to Peter Rowntree’s [PR] Group in CDD. Comments on PR’s recent (late 1960s/early 1970s) experience of investigating effects of El Nino using early computer climate model [CCM] Geophysics Fluid Dynamics Laboratory [GFDL], Princeton University [PU], US; pioneering work at GFDL in climate modelling [CM]/climate change [CC]. Comments on focus in PR’s Group on development of CCM for tropical climate, in preparation for GARP’s (Global Atmospheric Research Program) GATE (GARP Atlantic Tropical Experiment), 1974. Comments on excitement/low computer power involved in these early CCMs. [5:37] Mentions other members of PR’s Group; allied personnel including Robert Murgatroyd, JM, Andrew Lorenz. [6:47] Brief description of working environment/location of PR’s Group in MO. Mentions use of computers. Description of work in writing ‘radiation code’ for CCM. [9:38] Description of appearance/layout of coding sheet, for punched cards. [11:24] Comments on use of radiation code by computer in calculating relations between humidity, temperature, absorption and emission of radiation, effect of clouds. [12:48] Comments on communication with computer operator using pigeon holes; lack of direct interaction with computer; period of writing in machine code ‘assembler’, before arrival of new computer IBM 360/915. Mentions teaching self FORTRAN programming language. [15:28] Description of/comments on output from computer, including interpretation/mapping of computed numbers.

  • Description

    Interview with meteorologist, Julia Slingo

  • Related transcripts

    Julia Slingo interviewed by Paul Merchant: full transcript of the interview

  • Related links

    Visit this interviewee's page on the 'Voices of Science' web resource

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