Fritz Möller

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Fritz Möller (16 May 1906 in Rudolstadt – 21 March 1983 in Munich) was a German meteorologist, geophysicist and high school teacher. He was a pioneer in radiation research and satellite meteorology.


Moller's eponymous father was director of the Rudolstädt Hospital. Möller got a degree in Geophysics and Meteorology at the University of Göttingen, 1924. Since 1924 he was a member of the Corps Thuringia Jena.[1] In 1925 he went to the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, receiving his doctorate in 1928.[2] From 1934, he worked as a meteorologist at the Frankfurt airport. From 1935 to 1938 he worked in the new Reich Office Weather Service. After 1938 he taught at the University of Frankfurt and the University of Leipzig.[3]

Mainz and Munich[edit]

The new University of Mainz appointed him a professor in 1948. His institute was instrumental in the international radiation research. Until retirement in 1972, he headed the Meteorological Institute and the Institute of Meteorology and Climatology in Munich. In 1962, he was appointed Chair for Theoretical Meteorology.

Climate modeling[edit]

With the introduction of the computer, meteorologists in the United States began numerical experiments to develop quantitative measurement methods to study circulation and climate of the earth. In 1959 and 1960, Möller came to the United States to work with Syukuro Manabe on the numerical determination of radiative fluxes. Moller's second visit to the United States was the evaluation of measurement data from meteorological satellites. He was the only German belonging to the governing body of the Global Atmospheric Research Program.

In 1963, he published a paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research which purported to disprove Gilbert Plass's influential 1953 article on the warming influence of industrial carbon dioxide. Although his model of carbon dioxide-water vapor feedback had fundamental mathematical flaws, it became widely cited in public reports which questioned the urgency of global warming.[4][5]


  • Honorary doctorate from the University of Mainz
  • Member of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina (1959)
  • President of the International Association for Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics (IAMAP) (1959-1967)
  • Member of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences (1962)


  1. ^ Kösener Corpslisten 1960, 62, 997
  2. ^ Dissertation: Statistische Untersuchungen über die Konstanz der Luftkörper. GoogleBooks
  3. ^ Gustav Hofmann (1994), "Möller, Fritz", Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB) (in German), 17, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, pp. 640–641; (full text online)
  4. ^ National Academies of Science (1966). Weather and Climate Modification Problems and Prospects.
  5. ^ Weart, Spencer (June 2008). "Basic Radiation Calculations". The Discovery of Global Warming.