In 1740, the French Royal Academy of Science lauched a competition regarding the nature of tides, of which Colin MacLaurin was joint winner (I can find no record of who authored the other winning entry) for his essay “De Causa physica fluxus et refluxus maris” (On the cause of tides). In his essay, MacLaurin argues that the sea currents were affected by “the uneven velocity of a body carried by the earth in its daily motion around its axis”.
It is thought that the Berlin Academy of Sciences may have been inspired, in 1746, to announce a prize for anybody who could determine “the nature and the law” which the wind ought to obey in case the earth was covered by an ocean. The solution had to be presented in a form that allowed predictions. The winning contribution by d’Alembert was published in 1746 under the title “Reflexions sur la cause generale
A copy of the essay can be found on the National Library of France site here : Réflexions sur la cause générale des vents.
You can also buy a copy from Amazon.
Clairaut attacked d'Alembert's methods :
In order to avoid delicate experiments or long tedious calculations, in order to substitute analytical methods which cost them less trouble, they often make hypotheses which have no place in nature; they pursue theories that are foreign to their object, whereas a little constancy in the execution of a perfectly simple method would have surely brought them to their goal.
A heated argument between d'Alembert and Clairaut resulted in the two fine mathematicians trading insults in the scientific journals of the day.
The source for my answer and additional details can be found here : St. Andrews MacTutor page on d'Alembert
If inadvertently missed including the main source for my answer : History of Meteorology Site PDF.