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Climate change: When scientists first raised alarm about its impact


The scientific community began to unite for action on climate change in the 1980s though the scientists first raised concerns about the issue by late 1950s.

Climate change: When scientists first raised alarm about its impact
The concerns over climate change may have become bigger in recent years but the signs of brewing trouble were first given by the scientific community towards the end of 1950s. Back then it was previewed as a distant possibility in the 21st century that the world should be prepared for, Live Science reported quoting Spencer Weart, a historian and retired director of the Center for History of Physics at the American Institute of Physics in Maryland.
The concerns only caught serious thereafter attaining larger scientific attention in the 1980s, the report added.
However, the history of people's concern over climate change may not date back to the last century only.  The report claims that people's interest in understanding how human activities affect climate change actually dates back to thousands of years.
The report cites references from Weart's book, 'The Discovery of Global Warming' to claim that the concerns over climate change existed in ancient Greece. From 1200 BC to AD 323, people in the region debated if draining swamps or cutting down forests would bring more or less rainfall to the region. This was the first documented discussion around climate change and focused only on the local region, the report added.
Weart claims that Swedish scientist Svante Arrhenius became the first person to imagine the impact of climate change globally on the existence of humanity back in 1896. This was when he published his calculation showing that emission of more carbon dioxide would harm the planet in The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science.
Svante Arrhenius's work was then used as a base for 19-century scientist Joseph Fourier who showed that the Earth would be a far cooler place without an atmosphere. Other scientists of the era, John Tyndall and Eunice Newton Foote used Arrhenius's work to separately demonstrate carbon dioxide and water vapour trapped heat and suggested that an atmosphere could do the same, according to the Live Science report.
Though Arrhenius precision proved to be largely accurate it was not widely accepted back then.
The scientific opinion around climate change concerns began to take shape in the 1950s due to two key experiments. The first of which led by Roger Revella in 1957 showed that the ocean will not absorb all of the carbon dioxide released in humanity's industrial fuel emissions and that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were eventually going to rise significantly.
Another study published by Charles Keeling in 1960 detected the rise in CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere.  The first alarm around the impact of human activities was raised and it was followed by more studies tracing climate change and its impact on the existence of humanity.
Towards the end of the 1980s, the scientific community finally acknowledged it as a problem that needed immediate attention.  The Toronto Conference of the Changing Atmosphere was the first time that scientists and politicians came together to address climate change as a global threat to Earth's atmosphere.
The concerns and efforts to minimise the effects of climate change have only escalated after that.
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