Screenplay for “Marotzke P.I.”

Below is the screenplay for “Marotzke P.I.”, which received it’s first public airing at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Jerusalem on Friday, January 16, 2009… Special thanks to Hila Afargan and Katherine Thayer-Calder, who may wish to consider a career in acting if the whole science thing doesn’t work out… and of course thanks to Jochem Marotzke for being such a good sport!

“Marotzke P.I.”

SCENE ONE: “A Linear Surprise”

MAROTZKE: The name’s Marotzke. I’m a Principal Investigator. It was a dark and rainy night in Jerusalem city and I was sitting in my hotel room, thinking about my arch enemy — agent Double-CO2.

I needed to know where he was. I was 90% confident that he was somewhere between negative and infinity. But I needed more. I need help.

I needed an assistant.

That’s when she walked in.

She had an albedo like you wouldn’t believe. Her solar output could stop traffic. Her hair fell down her back in long waves, and, to a lesser extent, short waves.

She was clearly a model.

MODEL: I need a job! I’ve been forced out by the evil Double-CO2 and I’ve been running for days on four CPUS!

MAROTZKE: This was very perturbing.

(to MODEL) What makes you think you can work for me?

MODEL: I’l prove it to you! Test my response time!

MAROTZKE: So I turned up the heat. At first she seemed to have a lot of capacity. She could take the heat, alright. She wasn’t the sensitive type… I liked that.

MODEL: If this goes on any longer I’ll relax into an equilibrium… We don’t have time to waste!

MAROTZKE: Clearly she was adjusting. I decided to give her a mission.

(to MODEL) First you’re going to meet agent Mixed Layer.

MODEL: Mixed Layer?

MAROTZKE: Mixed Layer. He’ll respond quickly. Give him this parcel of warm water. He will pass it along to Thermocline.

MODEL: Using Ekman pumping?

MAROTZKE: Yes. (Pause) … Anyway, Thermocline, takes his time, but he’ll pass it to Deep Ocean.

MODEL: But he’s so slow!

MAROTZKE: He gets there eventually.

MODEL: It’s so simple… it’s almost unbelievable!

SCENE TWO: “Operation Snowball Earth”

The mission was a complete success. I decided to stress my model a little more.

(to MODEL) We’ve got to go 700 million years back in time!

MODEL: To the Neoproteozoic?

MAROTZKE: Yes. (Pause) … Anyway, Double-CO2 has sent one of his henchmen — I mean, Ph.D. students — back in time to take control of Earth’s climate!


MAROTZKE: Yes! He’s turned off the Sun!


MAROTZKE: YES! If we don’t turn it back on quickly enough then we’ll be stuck in Snowball Earth!

MODEL: How much time have we got?

MAROTZKE: 15 years.

MODEL: (Checks watch) But we’re too late!


SELLERS: Wait! There is a way!

MAROTZKE: It’s Budyko-Sellers!

SELLERS: You can call me Doctor Sellers. (Pause) … Anyway, all you have to do is turn up the CO2!

TOGETHER: Thanks Doctor Sellers!

MODEL: How much should we turn it up?

MAROTZKE: Let’s try ten times.

MODEL: (Turns imaginary CO2 valve) … It’s not working!

MAROTZKE: Try one hundred times!

MODEL: (Turns imaginary CO2 valve more)

TOGETHER: It worked!!!

SCENE THREE: “Conclusions”

MAROTZKE: So, we saved the world from Snowball Earth. I decided to hire Miss Model. I had just the job for her: a surveillance mission in the North Atlantic. Someone had been transporting Sverdrups northwards, and I had a feeling the M.O.C. was behind it all.

(to MODEL) You know, Model, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.


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