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The Origins of Climate Science—The Idea of Energy Balance

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Experimenting on a Small Planet
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Abstract

Through the thirteenth century, no one in Europe seemed to have worried very much about why the Earth was such a comfortable place to live. After all, Augustine of Hippo (aka Saint Augustine, 354–430 CE) had proclaimed that ‘we know all we need to know.’ The centers of science and mathematics were in the Moslem world on the other side of the Mediterranean. During the Medieval Climate Optimum (ca. 950–1250 CE), temperatures in Europe were warmer than most of the twentieth century. My own suspicion is that the heavy Romanesque architecture of the time with its thick walls and small windows provided cool retreats in the summer. They are pleasant places on a hot summer day to day. Monasteries and castles did not have fireplaces for heating, only for cooking food.

Progress is made by trial and failure; the failures are generally a hundred times more numerous than the successes; yet they are usually left unchronicled.

William Ramsay

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Correspondence to William W. Hay .

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Hay, W.W. (2021). The Origins of Climate Science—The Idea of Energy Balance. In: Experimenting on a Small Planet. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-76339-8_11

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