When Did We Discover Global Warming

When it comes to global warming, the general consensus is that it was a relatively recent discovery, with scientists from all around the world coming together to prove its existence and thus tackle the threat that it posed. But when exactly did we discover global warming? To answer this question, we must take a look back at the history of climate science to better understand the events that led us to the undeniable truth that climate change was actively occurring, and to put an exact date on its discovery.

The roots of climate science date back centuries, to when scientists first started observing, measuring and analyzing the climate and its relationship with the natural environment. In many ways, the groundwork for understanding global warming was laid in the 1770s by Joseph Fourier, a French mathematician who posited that Earth’s atmosphere retained heat from the Sun, and proposed the idea of a “greenhouse effect.” In the 1800s, clouds and aerosol particles were identified as playing a significant role in the climate system, leading scientists to recognize that the atmosphere and oceans could interact with each other to naturally regulate the climate. By the close of the 19th century, scientists began to suggest that the burning of coal and other fossil fuels could affect the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which led to an increased understanding of the greenhouse effect.

It wasn’t until the late 1950s that the idea that man-made activities could alter the climate began to gain traction within the scientific community. At a series of workshops and conferences, scientists recognized that the industrialization of the mid 1900s was beginning to affect the climate, noting that both atmospheric and oceanic temperatures were increasing, and the rate of warming was accelerating. By the late 1960s, the idea of global warming was expanding, with a few prominent scientists openly suggesting the potential threat it posed to the health of the planet. Over the 1970s and 1980s, more and more scientific evidence that supported global warming began to emerge, and slowly the general consensus began to shift.

The period from 1990s onwards marked a key turning point; there was a sharp ascent in research devoted to climate change and its effects. Out of this research emerged a new consensus: climate change was real, it was happening now, and it was caused by human activities. The idea of man-made global warming was accepted by an overwhelming majority of the scientific community, and it was at this point that the world finally began to take action – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was formed, and the Kyoto Protocol was ratified in 1997. We can therefore say that the discovery of global warming in its current form took place in the 1990s.

Although we can pinpoint with confidence when global warming was discovered, the truth is that it was an ongoing process of observation, study, and discovery that had been ongoing for centuries. From Joseph Fourier’s original formulation of the greenhouse effect, to scientists’ realization in the modern era that human activity had the potential to drastically alter the climate, its discovery was an evolution of ideas, and an accumulation of knowledge that eventually led us to a shared understanding of the dangers of climate change.

Today, many countries around the world have made great strides in reducing their emissions and implementing renewable energy sources. Governments, businesses and citizens alike have taken action to tackle the threats posed by climate change. It is now our responsibility to maintain this momentum and continue to work together to protect our planet and its future.

Ernestine Warren is a passionate environmentalist, author, and advocate for the protection of the Earth's precious resources. She has written extensively on the causes and effects of global warming, providing accurate information to help educate people on how to combat this major global problem. With a background in science and biology, Ernestine has the tools to help develop solutions that meet everyone's needs while minimizing environmental damage. Her hope is that each person can do their part for the planet and make a real difference to help reduce climate change.

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