The warming effect of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was first recognized in 1827 by the French scientist Jean-Baptiste Fourier, best known for his contributions to mathematics. He also pointed out the similarity between what happens in the atmosphere and in the glass of a greenhouse, which led to the name "greenhouse effect". The next step was taken by a British scientist, John Tyndall, who around 1860, measured the absorption of infrared radiation by carbon dioxide and water vapor; he also suggested that a cause of the ice ages might be a decrease in the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide. It was a Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, in 1896, who calculated the effect of an increasing concentration of greenhouse gases; he estimated that doubling the concentration of carbon dioxide would increase the global average temperature by 5 to 6 degrees Celsius, an estimate not too far from our present understanding. Nearly fifty years later, around 1940, G.S. Callendar, working in England, was the first to calculate the warming due to the increasing carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.
The first expression of concern about the climate change which might be brought about by increasing greenhouse gases was in 1957, when Roger Revelie and Hans Suess of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in California published a paper which pointed out that in the build- up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, human beings are carrying out a large scale geophysical experiment in the same year, routine measurements of carbon dioxide were started from the observatory on Mauna Kea in Hawaii. The rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels since then, together with the growing interest in the environment, has led to the topic of global warming moving up the political agenda through the 1980's, and eventually to the Climate Convention signed in 1992.
Source:: Global Warming, by John Theodore Houghton