Though the global warming debate appears to have intensified in the past few decades, an overwhelming majority of scientists feel that humans have contributed to the planet's increasing temperatures, but when this phenomenon first discovered?
Research into what makes Earth unique goes back centuries.
French mathematician and natural philosopher Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier (1768-1830) is known in the scientific community for groundbreaking work in the theory of heat, and is credited with being the first to propose a connection between the Earth's atmosphere and the planet's temperature.
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In 1862, John Tyndall described a key element to climate change, when he discovered in a laboratory experiment that certain gases, such water vapor and CO2 aren't transparent to heat rays. He understood the relationship that gases high in the Earth's atmosphere had in relation to keeping the planet warm by interfering with escaping radiation, echoing some of the earliest speculations regarding how atmospheric composition might affect climate.
Of the thinkers, Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius was the first to claim that fossil fuel combustion may lead to enhanced global warming. He suggested a relationship between CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and temperature, according to "The Discovery of Global Warming," written by Spencer Weart
Arrhenius was fascinated by the ice ages. His 1896 theory to explain it earned him the distinction of being the first to try to measure how changes in CO2 levels in the atmosphere could alter the surface temperature through the greenhouse effect. He was the first to predict that CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and other combustion processes were causing global warming.
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