climate change science

The forgotten mother of climate science

I’m not the only journalist in my household. My wife Louise Parry has been working on The Climate Question for BBC World Service recently, and she produced last week’s episode of the programme, titled How did we discover climate change? I will let her tell you about it and why you should listen to the podcast:

“The episode is about scientists that are overlooked – starting with the woman who was the very first to connect carbon dioxide to global warming. Eunice Foote made a foundational contribution to climate science, and then was more or less forgotten in an age that didn’t value women scientists. She has been re-discovered recently and we talked to climate historian Alice Bell to tell her story.”

“We also re-created her original experiment in a lab, with Professor of Chemistry Andrea Sella. You can see the video of that here. That was a fun exercise in understanding what Eunice Foote achieved, but it opens up a bigger question: what science might we be overlooking today?”

“The breakthrough climate science of the 19th century – yes, it dates back further than many might expect – was all happening in the Northern Hemisphere. In the more temperate climates of North America and Europe, people were more concerned with cooling and ice ages than than they were with heating. We ask whether this geographical bias affected the interpretation of the science, and reduced the sense of urgency about a warming earth.

“There are still vast under-researched areas of the climate, including impacts and effects in the global south, and the role of the oceans in climate change. We talked to Brazilian oceanographer Regina Rodrigues to understand why we need a diversity of viewpoints, and how we can be alert to blind spots in climate science today.”

1 comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: