As Spencer Weart, the master historian of the climate saga, tells it

"It begins as a sort of detective story, describing how a few scientists got obsessed with the mysteries of climate change. By the end it has become an epic tale where entire governments, national publics, and communities of scientists press upon one another."

Weart -- recently retired as Director of the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) in Maryland -- tells the tale in his book The Discovery of Global Warming.   The book relates the history in continuous, narrative fashion, with all the twists and turns, and is well worth owning.

To aid researchers, Weart has generously posted all the content online, searchable, hyperlinked and updated, at the American Institute of Physics website.

Start with his Introduction & Summary, then check out the Timeline of Milestones for a chronological overview.    The Table of Contents is useful for finding specific topics.