The Discovery of the Connection between Earth’s Temperature and Greenhouse Gases
Since the mid-1800s, scientists have known that the Earth’s climate is largely regulated by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In 1824, Joseph Fourier was the first to propose the theory that Earth’s atmosphere works to trap solar radiation, which is now known as the greenhouse effect. It wasn’t until 1896, however, that Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius put forth the idea that the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation could increase the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and lead to an increase in global temperature (Hoffman & Schrag, 2020). Since then, a vast amount of research has been conducted to better understand the role of greenhouse gases in regulating Earth’s temperature. In 1988, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created to synthesize the scientific evidence of climate change and its effects on the planet. The IPCC’s first assessment report in 1990 concluded that human-caused emissions of greenhouse gases were significantly contributing to the global warming trend (IPCC, 2019). In the decades since then, the evidence of the connection between Earth’s temperature and greenhouse gases has become overwhelming. Cont…
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