2006: Mulling the World From a Bench on Broadway - New York Times
Dr. Schmidt runs a global climate model, called ModelE, out of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, a part of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. ModelE is one of about a dozen global models that have been used to project the climate into the future. The results form the basis for international treaties on climate change, including the Kyoto Protocol, and for governmental stances regarding climate change across the world.
ModelE breaks down climate into the basic laws of physics. The equations are written in Fortran, a computer language that is, as Dr. Schmidt puts it, "very old and not very trendy." The computer code is 126,327 lines, to be exact, and when Dr. Schmidt scrolls through it on his computer screen, it looks like nothing so much as an extensive (and incomprehensible) grocery list.
In his office, not long ago, Dr. Schmidt tried to translate a few lines:
"These lines," he said, "calculate how much water vapor condenses out of air to form a cloud as the temperature decreases."