Who was the first explorer to describe human-induced climate change?
Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich Alexander von Humboldt (1769 – 1859) was a Prussian polymath, geographer, naturalist, explorer, and influential proponent of Romantic philosophy and science. Humboldt's quantitative work on botanical geography laid the foundation for the field of biogeography.
Humboldt's advocacy of long-term systematic geophysical measurement laid the foundation for modern geomagnetic and meteorological monitoring.
Between 1799 and 1804, Humboldt travelled extensively in the Americas, exploring and describing them for the first time from a modern scientific point of view. His description of the journey was published in an enormous set of volumes over 21 years.
Humboldt resurrected the use of the word cosmos from the ancient Greek and assigned it to his multi-volume documentation, 'Kosmos', in which he sought to unify diverse branches of scientific knowledge and culture.
This important work also motivated a holistic perception of the universe as one interacting entity. He was the first person to describe the phenomenon and cause of human-induced climate change, in 1800 and again in 1831, based on observations generated during his world travels.
During his lifetime Humboldt became one of the most famous men in Europe. Academies, both native and foreign, were eager to elect him to their membership, the first being The American Philosophical Society in Philadelphia. He was elected to the Prussian Academy of Sciences in 1805.