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Landmarks in the History of Science » Geoscience » Theorie mathematique des phenomenes thermiques produits par la radiation solaire, 1920

Theorie mathematique des phenomenes thermiques produits par la radiation solaire, 1920

Autor: Milutin Milankovitch
Cod: 5911
In stoc: Da

Detalii produs

First edition, a very rare book: the establishing work of modern climatology. This book was a crucial contribution in the history of the science. Today it is recognized that Milutin Milankovitch is the founder of modern astronomical theory of climate change.


In this print appears for the first time the famous ''Milankovitch cycles'' and a predictive pattern of earth's climate. The work was admired in the epoch by Alfred Wegener, Wladimir Koeppen and Andrija Mohorovicic, forgotten many years, revived in 1955 (Cesare Emiliani), and in the 1970s (John Imbrie, N. J. Shackleton, Andre Berger). In our days days, geoscientists such as George Kukla and Don Easterbrook are categorically influenced by M. Milankovitch.


''In 1914, World War I broke out and Milankovitch was captured by the Austrian-Hungary Army while he was visiting his home town of Dalj. He was taken to the fortress at Esseg as a prisoner of war.


On Christmas Eve, 1914, the prisoner who had paroled himself by traveling through distant worlds received an unexpected but welcome gift - his freedom. His jailers had received a telegram from the Austrian-Hungary Ministry of War, ordering them to remove Milankovitch to Budapest. There he was released from custody on the condition that he report once each week to the police. A Professor Czuber, on learning that the talented Serbian mathematician had been imprisoned, had petitioned successfully for his release in the interest of science.


As soon as he was settled to  Budapest, Milankovitch tucked his old leather briefcase under his arm, walked over to the library of the Hungarian Academy of Science, and knocked on the door. The director of the library, a fellow mathematician named Koloman von Szilly, received him with open arms. Milankovitch spent most of the following four years in the reading room of the library, working 'without hurry, carefully planning each step.’ Two of those years were devoted to developing a mathematical theory for predicting the earth’s climate as it is today. In the third and fourth years in Budapest, Milankovitch completed his description of the present climates of Mars and Venus.


Meanwhile, the war came to an end. Milankovitch gathered the labour of four years into his briefcase, boarded a white Danube steamer, and returned home to Belgrade. Despite the intervention of war, he had attained his second objective - the matematical description of the present climates on earth, Mars and Venus.. When these results were published in 1920, under the title Mathematical Theory of Heat Phenomena Produced by Solar Radiation, meteorologists soon recognized them as a major contribution to the study of modern climate.’'


    John Imbrie, Ices Ages. Solving the Mistery, 1979, pp. 102-103


"His main contribution to science dates from this time with his first monograph, written in French and published in 1920 in the Publications of the Yugoslavian Academy of Sciences and Arts of Zagreb by Gauthier Villars in Paris: Theorie mathemathique des phenomenes thermiques produits par la radiation solaire. It is the need to clarify and critically analyze all the calculations available at that time which led him to write such a bible for the astronomical theory and insolation. It is amazing to see that most of the fundamental concepts of the astronomical theory developed by Milankovitch are already present in great details in this monograph. 


In the first part, he formulates ways to compute the instantaneous and daily insolation (incoming solar radiation) and the irradiation received over a season and for each hemisphere.


But a large part of the monograph is devoted to the impact of the atmosphere on insolation and climate including the problem of the albedo-temperature feed-back for which he introduced the idea of snowline. His development of one of the very first climate models (if not the first) based on physical principles is probably the most original contribution of Milankovitch to science, but unfortunately the least cited.


In the second part, tables with numerical values are given for the interval from 500,000 years BP to the present. These were based on Stockwell for the orbital elements and Pilgrim for the numerical values of the three astronomical elements. From these numerical values, he counted the number of cycles over 500,000 years to identify the average period of climatic precession: 20,700, of obliquity: 40,040 years, and of eccentricity: 91,800 years.''


Andre Berger, ''A Brief History of the Astronomical Theories of Paleoclimates'' in A. Berger et al. (eds.), ''Climate Change'', Springer-Verlag Wien, 2012, pp. 116-117


The next orbital configuration of the Earth will lead to the inception of a new Ice Age.


Gauthier-Villars et Cie, Paris, 1920, 8vo (16x24cm), pp. xvi, 339 : xxix tables and 27 diagrames in text. Printed at the Archbishopric of Zagreb. Paperback, original covers; uncut pages. A very fine unrestored copy.


Price: USD 1,200,000.00