[Coral-List] Lest we forget some histsory of CO2 and warming.

John Ware jware at erols.com
Fri Nov 24 10:17:43 EST 2006

Dear List,

I am sure that this is 'preaching to the choir' for the most part. 
 However, some on this list might not realize how old the CO2 and global 
warming discussion is.

In 1827 Jean-Baptiste Fourier (yes the same guy as in "Fourier series") 
wrote "On the Temperatures of the Terrestrial Sphere and Interplanetary 
Space" (translated from the French).   The paper appeared in Memoires d 
l'Academie Royale des Sciences de l'Institute de France VII.  Although 
he apparently did not actually use the word 'greenhouse' or 'glass 
house' (I don't read French), he usually gets the credit for first 
mention of greenhouse effect.

And, to me even more remarkable, in 1892 Svante Arrhenius wrote "On the 
influence of carbonic acid in the air upon the temperature of the 
ground" in Journal of Science 41(251), pg 237-276.  In English.  A truly 
remarkable paper in which he actually makes a computation of the CO2 
effect on Earth temperatures.  

He not only points out that the temperature effect "has a minimum near 
the equator", he also concludes that "if the quantity of carbonic acid 
increases in a geometric progression, the augmentation of the 
temperature will increase in arithmetic progression"!!  How's that for 
being ahead of the times.

 He does feel that the liberation of CO2 by industry is a "temporary 
effect", which I interpret to mean temporary in geological terms.  He 
estimated that each year 500 million tons / yr of coal was being consumed.

I suspect that, with the usual erudition shown by the readers of this 
list, a number of other, and perhaps earlier, references will be found..


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