, "Computers as modelers of climate," in the greatest inventions of the past

Computer simulations may allow us to understand the earth’s fickle climate and how it is affected by detours of the great ocean currents. These detours cause abrupt coolings -- the average global temperature can drop dramatically in just a few years, with droughts that set up El-Niño-like forest fires even in the tropics. While volcanic eruptions and Antarctic ice shelf collapses can also abruptly cool things, what we’re talking about here is a flip-flop: a few centuries later, there’s an equally abrupt rewarming. This cycle has repeated every few thousand years (though it has been 12,000 years since the most recent one).
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