Many revolutions would not reach the pinnacles that they have in modern times without revolutions which preceded them. This is very much the case in the revolution of science in climate change. The climate change revolution that is so widely publicized. Climate change science has been around since the 19th century and is now well established. It is often taken for granted that the revolution in climate change science that we are in the midst of today was prefaced by revolutions in the fields of geology, physics, and chemistry. The revolutions in all of these fields were conducted by many different intellectuals.
The beginnings of climate change science were really rooted in the curiosity about the Earth’s surface temperature. A key participant in the investigation of this curiosity was a man named Jean Baptiste Fourier who was specifically interested in why the Earth was the temperature that it was. Fourier was a physicist, and his work mainly revolved around the transfer of heat from one object to another. Continually, in his pursuit of discovering why the Earth was the temperature that it was he realized that the Earth was much warmer than it should be based on its size and distance from the sun. He had multiple theories on why that might be, but his most significant consideration was the possibility of Earth’s atmosphere might act as an insulator. Although he never referred to it as such, this proposal was one of the first recognitions of the greenhouse effect.
Another quite significant physicist of the nineteenth century was John Tyndall. He conducted radiant-heat experiments and furthered knowledge on the heat absorptive powers of gasses. This lead to the revolutionary discovery of atmospheric composition of Earth. He found that of the gasses in Earth’s atmosphere water vapor was the most important in the processes of controlling and maintaining Earth’s surface temperature. These discoveries eventually furthered the revolutionary knowledge of the greenhouse effect which is widely focused on in modern day climate science.
Without the previous revolutions in physics, geology, chemistry and atmospheric science orchestrated by individuals like Fourier and Tyndall, climate science would not have reached the heights it has. Today one of the most revolutionary tools in climate science is satellite measurements. With modern science we can determine the atmospheric temperature at different altitudes, as well as sea levels and land surface temperatures. For example, satellite measurements have revealed the fact that the stratosphere in Earth’s atmosphere is cooling, and the troposphere in Earth’s atmosphere is heating. Another consequential apparatus of modern climate science used to monitor the state of the Earth’s environment is ARGO robotic subversive floats. These are floats that freely drift on the oceans surface and continually measure the ocean’s temperature and salinity. This is a revolution in oceanography and has shown that the heat content of the ocean is quite steadily rising. These sorts of inferences are key in determining the consequences of global warming and their severity. It is evident that climate science has developed into an exceptionally impactful area of science. It is the focus of governmental policy in the United States as well as Internationally. All of these achievements and knowledge in the field, however, would not be possible if it were not for the revolutionary achievements of scientists that came before them in the field of geology, physics, and chemistry.