The zonal pattern of climate was appreciated by the ancient Greeks. The climatic zones designated torrid, temperate, and frigid (reputedly by Parmenides of Elea but more likely by Eudoxus) are still in use. These zones were marked out chiefly according to the amount of illumination during a revolution of the Earth around the Sun. Clearly, such solar illumination declines from the equator towards the poles. Indeed, the term “climate” comes from the Greek κλιμα (from κλινειν: slope, lean) which refers to a zone occupying a particular elevation on the supposed slope of the Earth or sky from equator to poles. The description of climates was first put on a quantitative footing during the seventeenth century. Ferdinand II, Grand Duke of Tuscany, ordered Mariani, his master glass-blower, to make thermometers which would respond to a wide range of temperature changes (Middleton and Spilhaus 1953). In late 1654, these instruments were sent to several Italian cities including Milan and Bologna, and the first known weather network was established. Evangelista Torricelli, working under the auspices of Ferdinand, took the first steps to the understanding and measurement of air pressure while attempting to produce a vacuum in a tube filled with mercury. The Torricellian tube was dubbed a barometer by Robert Boyle sometime during the 1660s. Later, Gottlieb von Leibnitz invented the aneroid barometer. From these crude instruments and patchy meteorological networks were to evolve more refined instruments and instrument stations (Landsberg 1964; Manley 1974).
KeywordsBiomass Dust Convection Mercury Cyclone
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