The Discovery of Global Warming                      April 2024

A hypertext history of how scientists came to (partly) understand the problem of 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, updated annually.

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. Notes with asterisk (12*) give a bit of additional text. In a note, click on a reference to find it in the bibliography; use your browser's BACK button to return.

About this site: top of page        

Contents/Site Map             April 2024 version


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?
Ocean Currents and Climate

The Modern Temperature Trend
Rapid Climate Change
     Uses of Radiocarbon Dating
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 

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

Conclusions: A Personal Note

TIMELINE (milestones)
     Bibliography by year to 2001
List of Illustrations
PDF files to download and print
History in Hypertext  - methods, sources

Author, Spencer Weart


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 initial 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 author 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 Meteorological Society's statement, also the American Geophysical Union's statement.
Copyright © 2003-2024 Spencer Weart and the American Institute of Physics. Book cover photo © AbleStock.