The Discovery of Global Warming

The Discovery of Global Warming                      July 2009

A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand what people are doing to cause climate change.

This Website created by Spencer Weart supplements his much shorter book, which tells the history of climate change research as a single story. On this Website you will find a more complete history in dozens of essays on separate topics, occasionally updated.

If you want basic facts about climate change, or detailed current technical information, you might do better using the links page. But if you want to use history to really understand it all…

The Discovery of Global Warming book cover image
Second edition, revised
and updated (2008)

Basic navigation: On the right of each essay are links to essays about other topics. Follow forward an arrow to see how the events that you are reading about gave something => TO the other topic. Follow back an arrow to track influence <= FROM the other topic. Double arrow <=> shows MUTUAL interaction.

Click on a numbered note, e.g., (12) for references. Some notes, indicated thus: (12*) have additional text. In the note, click on a reference to reach the bibliography—use your browser's BACK button to return.

About this site: top of page        

Contents/Site Map                 July 2009 version

Introduction and Summary of the history           SEARCH all the essays

Influences on climate
The Carbon Dioxide Greenhouse Effect
     Roger Revelle's Discovery
     Other Greenhouse Gases
Aerosols: Volcanoes, Dust, Clouds
Biosphere: How Life Alters Climate
Changing Sun, Changing Climate?
     Interview with Jack Eddy
Ocean Currents and Climate

Climate data
The Modern Temperature Trend
Rapid Climate Change Abrupt climate change
     Uses of Radiocarbon Dating
     Greenland Ice Drilling (J. Genuth)
Past Climate Cycles and Ice Ages
     Temperatures from Fossil Shells

Simple Models of Climate Change
     Chaos in the Atmosphere
     Venus & Mars
General Circulation Models of Climate
     Basic Radiation Calculations
     Arakawa's Computation Device 

LINKS to basic and current information

SEARCH all the essays

Climate and society
Impacts of Global Warming

The Public and Climate Change (1)  (2)
     Wintry Doom
     Ice Sheets and Rising Seas
Government: The View from Washington
     Climate Modification Schemes
     Money for Keeling: Monitoring CO2 Levels
International Cooperation
     Climatology as a Profession

Reflections on the Scientific Process

Conclusions: A Personal Note
     Talking Points (pdf)

About this site/Reference/Utilities
History in Hypertext  – methods, sources
TIMELINE of milestones
     List of external influences
     Bibliography by year

Please contribute comments, corrections.
Author, Spencer Weart

DOWNLOAD entire site (Zip file)
PDF files
to download and print

      This is mounted on the Website of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics.
Discovery of Global Warming
site created by Spencer Weart with support from the American Institute of Physics, the National Science Foundation and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.
      The statements on this site represent the views of the autho
r and are not positions endorsed by the American Institute of Physics. Two of the Institute's Member Societies have taken positions on climate change; see the American Physical Society's statement and the American Geophysical Union's statement.

Copyright © 2003-2010 Spencer Weart and the American Institute of Physics.
Index terms: anthropogenic climate change, history of global warming, greenhouse effect, temperature change geophysics meteorology climatology, computer models,proof evidence research pollution aerosols Sun,\ solar atmosphere,\ carbon dioxide, CO2, history of science – Book cover photo © AbleStock.

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