LANGLEY, S.P. Researches on Solar Heat and its Absorption by the Earth's Atmosphere.

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One of the most important volumes which has ever been issued

LANGLEY, S.P. Researches on Solar Heat and its Absorption by the Earth's Atmosphere. Washington D.C.: Published by Government Printing Office, 1884

Large 4to. Original black cloth, gilt lettering to front, sometime rebacked; pp. 242, lithograph frontispiece, map, 21 plates, 20 text figures; internally very clean, very good.
First edition. Considered "unquestionably one of the most important volumes which has ever been issued by our government" Review in Nature, April 17, 1885), this is a crucial early work on global warming that proves the importance of the Earth's atmospheric gases in the trapping of heat. Without the atmosphere, Earth would be no more than minus 225 degrees Celsius, and so clearly the gases are needed to protect life. But Langley (1834-1906), astronomer and aeronautical pioneer, was also aware of an inherent threat: "The knowledge that the solar heat finds its way in more easily than out, and the inference that our atmosphere acts like the glass of a hot-bed in raising the temperature of the soil — even this knowledge… has been most useful in giving us a key to subsidiary phenomena.” (p.11)

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