The Citizen Scientist Who Discovered Modern Climate Change

Citizen scientist who first discovered effects of carbon dioxide on global temperatures in 1938.

Climate Denial Crock of the Week


I’m excerpting a small part of a fascinating, long piece in Wired – describing the research of the early 20th century engineer Guy Callendar – who detected and predicted the greenhouse effect well before it took hold in the mainstream of science. Although Svante Arrhenius had theorized (presciently) about the problem decades before, Callendar made some of the first observations actually demonstrating the effect.


TODAY GUY CALLENDAR is a historical footnote, but tomorrow he will have a chapter of his own. Born in 1898, Callendar was the son of Britain’s leading steam engineer, a successful academic and inventor who raised his children in a 22-room mansion. A greenhouse on the grounds was converted into a laboratory for the children until one of Callendar’s three brothers blew it up trying to make TNT. The same brother put out Callendar’s left eye. Undeterred by the subsequent lack of depth perception, he…

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