In the mid-1950s, amid heated debate over the physical mechanisms that controlled the known features of the atmosphere's general circulation, Norman Phillips simulated hemispheric motion on the high-speed computer at the Institute for Advanced Study. A simple energetically consistent model was integrated for a simulated time of approximately 1 month. Analysis of the model results clarified the respective roles of the synoptic-scale eddies (cyclones-anticyclones) and mean meridional circulation in the maintenance of the upper-level westerlies and the surface wind regimes. Furthermore, the modeled cyclones clearly linked surface frontogenesis with the upper-level Charney–Eady wave. In addition to discussing the model results in light of the controversy and ferment that surrounded general circulation theory in the 1940s–1950s, an effort is made to follow Phillips's scientific path to the experiment.

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