In 1979 in America, an Ad Hoc Study Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate provided the first unequivocal warning to the US government that climate change is a serious threat. As Steve Easterbrook’s fascinating climate modeling timeline below explains, the study group – assembled by America’s National Academy of Sciences and headed up by then MIT chairman Jule Charney – used climate models that traced back to 1949.
But science’s understanding of global warming and climate sensitivity dates back to almost a century before that, to the era of theoretical meteorology in the 1850s, when the greenhouse effect was first identified by John Tyndall. From there, it’s a fascinating journey along a timeline that links the first empirical measurements of a link between CO2 emissions and temperature change, to the first computational weather forecast on the first programmable digital computer, to the first climate modeling efforts in the 1960s, and the formation of the IPCC in 1988. Enjoy.