Svante arrhenius 18591927 swedish chemist

Svante Arrhenius was the first scientist to predict that the climate was changing because of human activities. With the Industrial Revolution gaining momentum, in 1896 he discovered that the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere was increasing. He predicted that CO2 concentrations would increase along with the increase of fossil fuels being used by industry. At that time, coal was the principal fossil fuel used. It was considered a dirty fuel, adding substantial amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. He understood that CO2 heated the atmosphere when fossil fuels were burned.

He predicted that if atmospheric CO2 levels doubled the Earth would become several degrees warmer. This was the first scientific suggestion of global warming. No one paid any attention. Today, his theory is widely accepted.

Arrhenius was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1903, was elected a foreign member of the Royal Society in 1911 and was awarded its Davy medal, and also received the Faraday Medal of the Chemical Society in 1914.

Arrhenius made several noteworthy contributions to science. He was a forward-thinking scientist who had the ability to see complex issues on a global scale. He was also one of the pioneers of environmental science and, although he never lived to see it, set a scientific foundation for the problem of global warming.

no immediate harmful consequences for the public, making the issue relatively unimportant, in spite of Arrhenius's warnings. His studies led him to believe there was a relationship between CO2 levels in the atmosphere and temperature. Through his calculations, he figured out that if the atmosphere's natural level of CO2 were doubled, it would cause the temperature to rise by 8.3°F (5°C). Around the same time, Thomas Chamberlin, an American geologist, also hypothesized that humans could warm the Earth by adding CO2 to the atmosphere. Interestingly, these early conclusions describing global warming were arrived at as a byproduct of other research geared toward explaining the ice ages. The issue at the time was whether lower CO2 levels could explain the causes of ice ages, whether lower CO2 levels could cause colder atmospheric temperatures. Conversely, it stood to reason that as CO2 levels in the atmosphere climbed, the higher the temperature would get.

Even though what Arrhenius and Chamberlin had discovered was important and would one day become a critical issue, it wasn't recognized as such at the time and was soon forgotten.

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