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Norman Phillips Proves the Feasibility of Weather Prediction by Numerical Process


In 1956 theoretical meterologist Norman A. Phillips of the National Weather Service, National Meteorological Center, Silver Spring, Maryland, published "The General Circulation of the Atmosphere: A Numerical Experiment," Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 82, no. 352 (1956) 123-164. By 1955 Phillips completed a 2-layer, hemispheric, quasi-geostrophic computer model. "Despite its primitive nature, Phillips's model is now often regarded as the first AGCM" (P. N. Edwards, Atmospheric General Circulation Modeling: A Participatory History, accessed 06-20-2009)

"Norman Phillips was the first to show, with a simple General Circulation model, that weather prediction with numerical models was even feasible. The advent of numerical weather predictions in the 1950s also signaled the transformation of weather forecasting from a highly individualistic effort to one in which teams of experts developed complex computer programs, eventually for high-speed computers" (Franklin Institute, Franklin Laureate database, accessed 06-20-2009).

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