Narrative - draft (climate_science_history_button short, incomplete audio)

Historical characters mentioned below are famous in the history of climate science, like rock stars. Many other climate researchers played roles in bringing us a growing, robust climate science. Many risked their lives and continue to do so today. They deserve our gratitude, rather than scorn.

While reading about these researchers, we need to keep in mind that China did not enter the realm of the west's industrial revolution until around 1980.

More, today Earth has over 8 billion human beings; they burn energy daily while driving over 1 billion cars and trucks. So researchers went about their work without realizing the growth of population and fossil fuel burning technologies. Likewise, they failed to see the rate of deforestation worldwide, a source of CO2 additions to the atmosphere and destruction of forest CO2 photosynthesis into oxygen.

In Climate Change, A Very Short Introduction, Mark Maslin claims that "It is now over 100 years since 'global warming' was officially discovered."

He's referring to the Swedish pioneer researcher Svante Arrhenus (below). Other chroniclers of climate science remain less willing to pin a time and place for the discovery of global warming. Students of the history of climate science will understand Maslin's finding even if they do not agree with it. Other historical figures stand out as well; yet, there's good reason to point out Sevante Arrhenius as the first scientist to "discover" global warming.

Climate science emerges from history as individuals and organizations observed and researched Earth's atmosphere and oceans. Climate science inched its way into existence in a manner similar to medical science inching its way into existence.

By the 18th century northern European mountain climbers, geologists, and scholars questioned the nature of glaciers. Glacier origins and movement remained a mystery, a puzzle until researchers questioned the contents of Earth's atmosphere.

Earth's majestic glaciers covered thousands of square miles of landscape. They appeared to have carved into mountains while gouging out valleys. It seemed only natural, then, to question the "puzzle" of the ice ages. As a result we have scientific answers to this puzzle today.


Joseph Fourier (21 March 1768 – 16 May 1830) -

Fourier figured that anything as large as the Earth should be much colder because of its distance from the Sun. So he came up with the idea that something like an insulating blanket must be covering the Earth. He learned that carbon dioxide (CO2) played a part in creating this blanket.

Although he did not coin the word greenhouse, its use as an analogy for global warming served to communicate one mechanism for Earth's warming. So today we look Joseph Fourier for early, documented, thoughts related to an embryonic climate science.

1859 – – John Tyndall (2 August 1820 – 4 December 1893) -

Like other northern European mountain climbers, Tyndall questioned the puzzle of the ice ages. He could not help observing the majesty and enormity of mountain glaciers. So he used special equipment to show that water vapor and carbon dioxide trap an important percent of the sun's energy in Earth's atmosphere.

Eunice Newton Foote (July 17, 1819 - September 30, 1888) , Goshen, Connecticut – Lenox, Massachusetts), used her time seeking the "true." A scientist of the times, she studied electricity besides the role of greenhouse gases.  She worked for women's rights as well.


Savant Arrhenius, won a Nobel Prize for his chemistry studies and findings. Using his chemistry knowledge and skills, he used a mere pencil and paper to calculate CO2's part in causing global warming.

Arrhenius estimated that doubling the Earth's carbon dioxide would lead to as much as 5 to 6°C temperature increase. His methodology and findings were close enough to bring humanity closer to a climate science. We now know that his figures should have led to a 1 1/2 to 4 1/2°C increase to doubling carbon dioxide as he found it in the 1890s.

Arvid Hogbom

Arvid Hogbom found merit in Arrhenius's findings. He went on to calculate how much CO2 factories were adding to the atmosphere. He calculated an  industrial addition of CO2 to the atmosphere about equal to naturally occurring CO2 (volcanoes and forest fires for example).

A bit surprised at Hogbom's findings, another scientist quipped that humanity was "evaporating" its coal seams into the atmosphere. Keep in mind that besides a rapid increase in factory production, railroads were burning coal as well. Households used coal for heating and cooking, giving whales a small break.

About 70 years later a scientist by the name of Walter Nernst thought about burning coal seams to add CO2 to the atmosphere to warm Earth's climate.  So purposeful geoengineering was in the wind well before today. This idea is not so far fetched in context because the Earth is in an overall cooling phase, but for human caused global warming.

At this point in history the glacier puzzle remained motivat At this point in history the glacier puzzle remained motivator for climatem research..


TC Chamberlin produced a model for global carbon exchange with feedbacks. He followed up on Savant Arrhenius my calculating that human actions play a big part in warming earth with additions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere. 1899 Chamberlin wrote, An Attempt to Frame a Working Hypothesis of the Cause of Glacial Periods on an Atmospheric Basis

In 1899, then, it became clear that chamberlain;s corroboration of Arrhenius's climate research proved a big climate point. Later in 1987, Ice core samples drilled from the Antarctic Vostok would clearly confirm that CO2 played a big part in past climate changes.

Interest in CO2 caused climate change waned with other concerns. Besides, the common wisdom dictated that "nature's balance" wins out and the oceans would absorb excess CO2 in any case.


E.O. Hulburt worked for the US Naval Research Laboratory. He found that doubling or halving atmospheric CO2 creates a 4 degree Centigrade or fall of surface temperature. He concluded that the CO2 theory of the ice ages made sense. He went unnoticed because his findings were published in the Physical Review.


Gilbert Plass found that CO2 additions to the atmosphere trapped more infrared radiation than previously thought. In doing so it prevented the loss of this heat trapping radiation. We can imagine the microscopic interactions of molecular bounding and bouncing of carbon dioxide particles as their density increases over hundreds and thousands of years in some cases. Motion creates heat, as we know from Tyndall's research as well as physics.

But wait, what about the absorption of CO2 by the oceans?

We know from Roger Revelle and others that the oceans absorb roughly 50 percent of atmospheric CO2. It remains within about one meter (3 feet) of the surface before bouncing back into the atmosphere within about 10 years. It is important too to understand that the oceans have multiple layers of water that mix chemicals much like a big stew. A lot of chemistry goes on at any one moment.

The top layer remains on top, generally. Then it takes about 200 years for the oceans to completely mix chemicals.

An important point to note here: today we know that the oceans as well as earth’s atmosphere closely interact; each has its own chemical composition undergoing constant, complex changes.

Some of these changes promote sustainability for life forms, others do not. For example, increasing C O 2 water increases its acidity. Increased acidity in earth’s oceans tens to alter the lime in shells. In turn, shell fish lose their protection.

Life of CO2 molecules

  • 10 years locked into surface ocean water
  • t




Now, some sociologist use the term "reification" to signify when an object, symbol, or idea becomes some part of a society's language. For an emerging science to become reified, and, it must present a language of its own while giving unique observations to nature's patterns to become reified in the public mind, the publics consciousness.

If we look to medical science and the development of the germ theory of disease, we will find Louis Pasteur and Koch's part in finding nature's patterns expressed in microscopic organisms, we find their role in illness and disease in humanity and other animals. In effect, as they found cures they helped to reified what we now call "medical science."

And in doing so they relied on the fields of biology and chemistry. Observation, hypothesis, theory, and experimentation all played a part in bringing about medical science as we understand it today.

Reifying Nature for a Climate Science

We might look to city, county, state, and even international borders for what sociologist refer to as "reification's." We use these reifications, thingifications, to give substance to our symbolic behavior; hence, climate science's inherent reifications use statistical patterns and observations from space, The atmosphere, oceans, coral reefs, tree rings, ice core samples, and more. Ice core samples serve as very important substances for understanding Earth's changing climate.

Draft Audio

Wikipedia - - Audio Climate Science History Audio_Climate_Science_History_Audio

Joseph Fourier - John Tyndall - Enuice Foote - Sevante Arrhenius - Arvide Hogbom - Walter Nernst, TC Chamberlin, Knut Angstrom, Hulburt, Guy Stewart Callendar, Lewis D. Kaplan, Gilbert N. Plass, Roger Revelle, Hans Suess, Bert Bolin and Erik Eriksson, Keeling, Mikhail Budyko, Helmut Landsburg (denier), Hubert H. Lamb (denier), JS Sewyer, James Hansen, Michale Mann, Katharine Hayhoe

Helpful mind exercise: before beginning, think of the Earth with its healthy, happy atmosphere with its nitrogen, oxygen, and carbon dioxide.

Moon - -298 degrees Fahrenheit (-183 degrees Celsius), at night, to 224 degrees Fahrenheit (106 degrees Celsius) during the day.

Then think of the moon with its meager excuse for an atmosphere. Remember that the Earth remains fairly warm night and day while the moon stays so cold on the dark side and hot on the sunny side: .-298 degrees Fahrenheit (-183 degrees Celsius), at night, to 224 degrees Fahrenheit (106 degrees Celsius) during the day.


Right, it has no greenhouse blanket like the Earth.

( 1768-1830), Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier - -

He asked a simple question. Since energy from the sun falls upon the earth and heats it, what stops the earth from becoming hot like the sun?

The answeer becomes both simple and complex, depending on how we want to spend our day. The simple answer tells us that the atmosphere becomes heated by the infrared radion bouncing off the Earth. It is then stuck in the atmosphere. Some part of it bounces back and heats the surface.

The complex answer goes something like this and can be found in Introduction to Modern Climate Change by Andres Dessler.

Blackbody surfaces, (albido, clouds and arisols) reflect the Sun's heat back into space; earth thereby remains in an equalibrium, "homeostasis" some would say. Earth's average termpeature is 288 K (15 ° C),Transparent photons during energy from the sun strike the earth and often bounce back toward space. The bounce back as infrared light which is then absorbed in the atmosphere.

From here the photons bounced leff, right, up, and down and it all possible angles. Some of these photons make it back out into space, some should back down the earth and the the Earth's surface all while warming the atmosphere. The atmosphere radiates this energy equally toward the Earth's surface and toward space.


became the first person to receive credit for suggesting the Earth's atmosphere plays a part in the planet's temperature.  The sun's energy in the form of light rays enter the earth, but did not readily return the space because atmospheric gases trapped some part of the light rays. This generated heat.

Today we know that the moon remains near freezing because of its meager atmosphere.


Even before serious research began, though, Aristotle's students wondered about the influence of forests and agriculture on climate. We might surmise that human beings did the same. Some probably use magic and other forms of superstition to understand climate change. They did not know that the composition of the atmosphere contained invisible gases to the human eye.

Then in the 19th century in Northern Europe and Scandanavia. mountain climbers, nature lovers, and researchers would have wondered at the power and majesty of the great glaciers. The role in the glaciers' part in carving ountains and valleys would have been subjects of conversation. Changes in climate would have entered their discussions around camp fires and dining table.

The origins origins and movement of glaciers captured their attention because no one could mistake the mighty forces at play in the movement of giant boulders, the deep caverns, and other geological wonders interspersed among and between glaciers.

Some would have wondered if a meaningful explanation of glaciers in Earth's atmosphere.

Finding answers remianed out of their reach until