Circumstances affecting the Heat of the Sun's Rays by Eunice Foote (1856)
In this paper, Eunice Foote reports results from an experiment which showed that CO2 warms faster than "common air". Although her experimental setup was such that she was not measuring the greenhouse effect sensu stricto, Foote was still able to conclude that "an atmosphere of CO2 would give to our earth a high temperature".
On the Absorption and Radiation of Heat by Gases and Vapors, and on the Physical Connection of Radiation, Absorption and Conduction by John Tyndall (1861)
In this paper, John Tyndall reports results from an experiment which showed that CO2 trapped heat generated when sunlight warms the Earth's surface. This is the greenhouse effect.
On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground by Svante Arrhenius (1896)
In this paper, Svante Arrhenius not only makes a first estimate of climate sensitivity (a measure of how much Earth’s temperature will rise in response to adding CO2 to the air) but also quantifies the effect of burning fossil fuels on Earth’s climate.
The Concentration and Isotopic Abundances of Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere by Charles Keeling (1960)
In this paper, Charles Keeling reports on his findings from measuring the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on Mauna Loa. He finds that “[the] amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere changes with the seasons; When data extend beyond one year, averages for the second year are higher than for the first year.” This was the first evidence of the rise in CO2 in the air.
Global-scale temperature patterns and climate forcing over the past six centuries by Michael Mann and colleagues (1998)
In this paper, Michael Mann and colleagues compare annual surface temperature patterns over the past six centuries with time-series records representing changes in greenhouse gas concentrations, solar irradiance, and volcanic aerosols. They find greenhouse gas concentrations to be the dominant cause of global warming. A graph in this paper showing mean temperature for the northern hemisphere since 1400 became known of as the "hockey stick" graph.