Global Warming, from Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier's Discovery to Today's Questions

1832 Words8 Pages
Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, a mathematician and physicist, discovered the concept of “global warming” in the 19th century while studying how Earth receives energy from the sun. According to his published theory in 1822, “General Remarks on the Temperature of the Terrestrial Globe and Planetary Spaces,” Fourier recognized how the sun’s heated energy, absorbed by Earth’s surface, and radiated back toward space, became trapped in the atmosphere by gases creating a lasting warming effect. He concluded the more gases in the atmosphere, the warmer Earth’s atmosphere became. Thereafter scientists used this theory as groundwork toward further research and coining the phrase “greenhouse effect.” (Fourier) Global warming, its causes and effects, is one of the most controversial and intensely debated subjects in today’s society. Many scientists on both sides of the argument agree; Earth is definitely going through some rapid climate changes. However, in spite of billions of dollars spent in research, we still have many important questions unanswered. Are these climate changes caused by human-influence or are these changes occurring as part of the Earth’s natural evolution? For over 4.5 billion-years Earth has experienced many periods’ of climate change. Paleontologists have learned many things about these radical environmental changes by studying fossils and tree rings of plants, rocks, and animals existing over past periods’. These studies revealed many things such as erratic weather patterns, drastic temperature fluctuations, decrease of polar caps, varied sea levels, airborne diseases, and animal extinctions. (Dalrymple) In fact, during the Jurassic period of the Mesozoic era, over 150 million years ago, Earth’s climate was extr... ... middle of paper ... ...ished in 1988, their combined efforts have created a better understanding of the warming impact on Earth. Unfortunately, even this collaboration is politically driven, and findings remain inconclusive, and argumentative, compared to what our history of natural statistics show. Perhaps the greatest tragedy of the global warming controversy is, despite billions of dollars spent, we still have no definitive answers. Since there was no influence of industry in many examples of Earth’s previous drastic climate evolutions, we can only conclude at this point, we have little control of the global warming. It just may be as simple as, one day, future creatures will also find our fossils buried under remnants of societies motivated by greed, domination, and over consumption, with an overwhelming need to control nature; never realizing extinction was always their fate.

    More about Global Warming, from Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier's Discovery to Today's Questions

      Open Document