Fourier asked himself, “Why is the heat generated by the sun’s rays not lost after striking and bouncing off the great oceans and landmasses of the world?”*
He hypothesized what we now know to be the physical action of heat being trapped in the earth’s atmosphere. The sun rays strike the earth; rebound back towards space, but not all travels back into space because the upper atmosphere reabsorbs much of the heat still being generated by the rebounding sun rays. The reabsorbed energy bounces back towards the earth bathing plants and animals once again with heat.
With the beginning of the Industrial Revolution black, billowing clouds from burning coal and smelting iron darkened skies. At first the industrialists tried to alleviate the air pollution by building higher smokestacks. But the ‘upper dome’ described by Fourier’s hypothesis in fact is much too high to alleviate the traveling of heat back into earth’s atmosphere.
Unpredicted by anyone at the start of the Industrial Revolution was the continuing pouring of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere until the mass of manmade greenhouse gases would reach a concentration that would alter micro climates and cause climate disruptions randomly on earth’s surface because they are trapped under the outer atmospheric boundary.
The greenhouse gases include chemicals we have all smelled as air pollution: Carbon Dioxide, CO2 (ex. from burning carbon based fuel in motor vehicles, furnaces, factories) and Methane, CH4 (ex. from the gas emitted by animals as flatulence). Others greenhouse chemicals include Fluorocarbons, CFCs (air conditioners/ refrigerator coolants) and Nitrous oxide NO (laughing gas and fertilizers). If you would like more detail go to http://su.pr/5i9ui2 at the University of Michigan website.
HOW DO WE KNOW CO2 INCREASED WITH THE START OF THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION? FROM THE ADVENTURES OF DEDICATED EXPLORERS AND RESEARCHERS WHO HAVE BROUGHT US ICE CORES TO STUDY.