One reason I’m skeptical about global warming is that it hasn’t been studied for very long. I know scientists in the 1970s were worried about an ice age instead of global warming. Did they start studying global warming in the 80′s??
Actually, Rob, while some scientists in the 1970s studied the possibility of another ice age, the vast majority were concerned about global warming, as we’ve discussed before
The infancy of climate science can actually be traced back to the early 1800′s and made some nice progress by the end of that century. That means its study predates manned flight (1903), and the discoveries of penicillin (1928) and of Neptune (1846). There wasn’t much happening at the beginning of the 20th century, but things got back into gear in the 1930s. Below are some paraphrased portions of a climate change timeline
that can be found at Spencer Weart’s informative ‘The Discovery of Global Warming
” site. I’ll give you a look at some of the big developments before
the ’70s ice age era. Hope that helps.
Joseph Fourier calculated the Earth would be colder without an atmosphere.
John Tyndall discovers some gases block infrared radiation, and proposes changes in their concentration could bring climate change.
Svante Arrhenius first calculates global warming from human-produced CO2 emissions.
Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin produces a global carbon exchange model including feedbacks.
Guy Stewart Callendar says CO2 greenhouse global warming is happening.
Gilbert Plass says adding CO2 to the atmosphere has a major effect on the radiation balance.
Roger Revelle finds that CO2 produced by humans will not be readily absorbed by the oceans.
Venus’ greenhouse effect (which raises the atmosphere’s temperature above the boiling point of water) is observed by telescope.
Charles Keeling detects an annual rise in the Earth’s atmospheric CO2.
Studies say Antarctic ice sheets may collapse, which would raise sea levels big time.
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Interview: Katie Kline, Communications Officer at Ecological Society of America interviewed me via Skype for the ESA’s Ecotone blog. Read and hear it here
Video: Bebbo and Kito were featured in one of Jim Parks’ terrific Today’s Green Minute episodes. See the video! Learn more