Climatology Time Line

(c) 2012 by Barton Paul Levenson

Climatology, say the global warming deniers, is a new field. Those climate scientists really haven't had time to collect enough data for a respectable science.

Let's just check that out. Here's a chronology of the development of climate science.

~300 BCAristotle divides the world into torrid, temperate and frigid zones.

1021Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) shows that twilight is due to atmospheric refraction and begins when the sun is 19° below the horizon. He estimates the height of Earth's atmosphere as 52,000 passuum (79 km, the right order of magnitude of the height of the stratopause, 48 km).
1060?Shen Guo proposes that climates change over long periods of time, after seeing petrified bamboo found underground near Yanzhou (now Yan'an, Shaanxi Province), an area now too dry to grow bamboo.

1500sGalileo Galilei and others invent the thermoscope, leading to the invention of the thermometer by Francisco Sagredo c. 1612.

1643Evangelista Torricelli invents the barometer.
1648At the suggestion of Blaise Pascal, Florin Perier discovers the decrease of air pressure with altitude.
1671Sir Isaac Newton demonstrates the existence of the solar spectrum.
1686Edmund Halley publishes a map of the trade winds after a sea voyage to the southern hemisphere.

1724Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit proposes the first version of the Ammonia-based Fahrenheit temperature scale.
1735George Hadley works out the basic principles of the atmosphere's general circulation.
1742Anders Celsius proposes the first version of the water-based Celsius temperature scale.
1770Benjamin Franklin publishes a map of the Gulf Stream after interviewing sea captains and admiralty officials.

1802Luke Howard invents the first form of the modern system of classifying cloud formations. In the 1870s and 1880s, the altostratus, altocumulus, and nimbostratus classifications are added.
1819Joseph von Frauenhofer invents the spectroscope.
1824Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier discovers the greenhouse effect.
1837Louis Agassiz shows that there was at least one ice age.
1858John Tyndall shows that the major greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere are water vapor and carbon dioxide.
1890Citing earlier work by Gustav Sporer, Edward Maunder suggests that the period of low sunspot number about 1645-1715 matched a slight cooling in global climate around that time.
1896Svante August Arrhenius proposes the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming.
1897T.C. Chamberlin models the short-term carbon cycle, including feedbacks.

So climatology predates relativity (1905, 1917) and quantum mechanics (1900). Are those respectable sciences?

Page created:06/08/2012
Last modified:  06/09/2012