People have not always known about global warming. The idea had to start somewhere. The history of the global warming concept is probably older than you might think. It all began in the late 1800's.

There was a scientist named Svante Arrhenius who was studying fossil fuel combustion in Sweden towards the end of the 19th century. An 1859 prediction claimed that the burning of such fuels would eventually lead to the process of global warming. Svante Arrhenius recognized that temperatures on the earth's surface were related to carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

Arrhenius studied global warming to find out the average surface temperature of earth. He figured that doubling the carbon dioxide in a greenhouse effect would raise the surface temperature by five degrees Celsius. He also concluded that human activities could be to blame for future global warming. His focus, though, was on how much carbon dioxide would have to be taken away to cause global cooling.

Infrared spectroscopy was developed in the 1940's that could be used to measure the sun's radiation. It was used to measure the absorption of radiation with and without added carbon dioxide. Gilbert Plass determined that the increased carbon dioxide would cause the earth to absorb more radiation, and so cause global warming.

From late in the 1950's to early in the 1960's, Charles Keeling produced curves of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He showed the scientific community that the earth had gone through 32 distinct weather variations. It had previously been thought that there had only been four. This raised alarms of ice ages rather than global warming.

Much changed in the 1980's. The curve was followed and it was discovered that temperatures were getting higher at a rapid rate. Suddenly people stopped preparing for a cooling planet and began pondering global warming. Since Stephen Schneider first gave global warming a name and predicted its coming, which he did in 1976, the emphasis on the subject by the media grew more and more intense.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was created in 1988, just as the greenhouse effect was being named. In the IPCC, there are 2500 experts in all fields of study that are affecting and are affected by global warming. These include such diverse specialties as meteorology, economics, medicine, and oceanography, for example. The IPCC is still actively seeking information on global warming.

The term "the greenhouse effect" has fallen somewhat out of favor since 1990. Statistics did not follow the predicted course for the theory. However, the Kyoto Protocol, negotiated in Kyoto Japan, was aimed at preventing and correcting global warming.

Global warming is still a term that is in use and making the news daily. Since Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, people have been more aware of the problem than ever. Presently, there are scientists, celebrities, and all manner of people who are working on solutions for global warming.

The history of inquiry into the nature of global warming is over 110 years old. There have been advances and retreats in the science. However, the future of global warming research and activism seems positive.


As global warming affects the environment, it should not be surprising that it affects the health of the people living in that environment. Changes in the climate are changes in the habitats not only for animals, but for people as well. Climate changes are already impacting people's health.

Global warming has caused intense heating up of the environment. In areas where people are not prepared for extreme heat, there have been devastating heat waves recently. There were heat flare-ups in Europe in 2003 which lasted as long as two weeks at a time. Temperatures soared upwards of 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Temperatures like this are common in parts of the American Southwest, for example. People are well-equipped to deal with the heat because that is the climate zone they are living in. However, Europe is usually much cooler. Residents there were not ready for such temperatures. Over 35,000 people died in Europe as a result of the heat waves that year. Global warming had changed their habitat, so to speak.

There have also been heat waves in North America. One in 2006 claimed 226 lives. Another probable result of global warming is increased pollen in the air. This happens because higher levels of carbon dioxide encourage the growth of more pollen-producing weeds. Because more pollen means worse air quality, those with allergies and asthma suffer.

Global warming can also affect the incidence of tropical disease. Mosquitoes have been found in places that were once too cold for them. High elevations, such as mountains were once free of disease-carrying mosquitoes.

However, as the warmth climbs higher up the mountain, so do the mosquitoes. The mosquitoes carry malaria to new regions of Indonesia because of global warming. Dengue fever has reached elevations in the Andean Mountains of Colombia where it was never seen before.

Other health concerns related to global warming revolve around flooding. When sudden storms and flooding occur, it is often impossible to get ill or injured people to medical facilities in time to help them.

Often, people take dangerous risks during floods. They drive into water, thinking that they can make it across. When they do not, they can get swept away and drowned. There is no graver consequence of global warming than death, of course.

People are also left with messes to clean up after floods. This can result in exposure to high levels of mold. Many people will have intense allergic reactions to mold. The person can have hives all over the body. Sometimes, the tongue will swell and cut off breathing. It is a serious condition. Curtailing global warming would lessen the incidence of flooding and prevent this many times.
Since global warming can have an affect on the food supply, it is obvious that people can suffer from malnutrition because of this. This is especially true in agrarian societies in underdeveloped countries.

If all people knew how much global warming can affect their health, they might be more prone to working on a solution. Until then, those who understand the ramifications of global warming will have to work even harder.