Wednesday, April 24, 2013

75 Years Ago A Steam Engineer Showed Global Warming Was Happening

April 23 News: 75 Years Ago A Steam Engineer Showed Global Warming Was Happening

By Ryan Koronowski on Apr 23, 2013 at 9:35 am

75 years ago this month, a steam engineer in England named Guy Stewart Callendar used his avid interest in meteorology to publish a landmark study in the Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Societylinking fossil fuel burning to global warming. Two modern climatologists have published a paper in the same journal checking — with modern techniques and measurements — just how accurate Callendar was. [Guardian]

Dr. Ed Hawkins and Prof. Phil Jones write:

In hindsight, Callendar’s contribution was fundamental. He is still relatively unknown, but in terms of the history of climate science, his paper is a classic. He was the first scientist to discover that the planet had warmed by collating temperature measurements from around the globe, and suggested that this warming was partly related to man-made carbon dioxide emissions.

People were sceptical about some of Callendar’s results, partly because the build-up of CO2 in the atmosphere was not very well known and because his estimates for the warming caused by CO2 were quite simplistic by modern standards. It was only in the 1950s, when improved instruments showed more precisely how water and CO2 absorbed radiation, that we reached a better understanding of its importance. Scientists at the time also couldn’t really believe that humans could impact such a large system as the climate – a problem that climate science still encounters from some people today, despite the compelling evidence to the contrary.

EPA rated the adequacy of the State Department’s draft environmental impact statement regarding the Keystone pipeline as having “insufficient information” for a host of reasons. [LA Times]

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Comment by Anumakonda Jagadeesh

Excellent post. Yes. Past writings on energy and environment problems need to be reviewed to give them more accurate inference.

Commented on April 23, 2013

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