The greenhouse effect refers to the fact that certain gases in the Earth’s atmosphere absorb and emit radiant energy in the thermal infrared range. These gases include carbon dioxide, water vapor, ozone, and methane.
Natural greenhouse effect
The natural greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that is crucial for life on Earth. Without it, temperatures would drop to -18 degrees Celsius.
During the day, sunlight hits the surface of the Earth, warming it. The energy is then radiated back towards space in the form of infrared radiation. At night, the surface cools and releases heat back into the atmosphere.
The composition of the atmosphere determines the Earth’s temperature. It is made up of 78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen. There are trace amounts of other gases.
Some of the more important gases in the atmosphere are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Human activities such as deforestation and burning fossil fuels have increased the concentration of these gases.
Climate change, especially global warming, is caused by the absorption of infrared radiation by the greenhouse gases. This is what creates the natural greenhouse effect.
There are a number of other gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect. The most significant are water vapour, carbon dioxide, and methane.
Enhanced greenhouse effect
The enhanced greenhouse effect (EGE) is caused by human activities such as burning fossil fuels. These greenhouse gases trap heat and prevent it from escaping. As a result, the global average surface temperature has been rising.
In addition, the amount of infrared radiation that is absorbed by the atmosphere increases. This means that the surface of the Earth will warm and the temperature of the oceans will rise. This process is known as positive feedback.
Greenhouse gases absorb infrared radiation from the Earth. This energy then passes through the air to the Earth’s surface. It is radiated back up in the form of infrared heat.
Water vapour is the largest contributor to the natural greenhouse effect. It absorbs a lot of heat from the sun. However, water vapour has a short lifetime. Therefore, it doesn’t have the same effect as carbon dioxide.
Since the Industrial Revolution, human activity has been steadily adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. During this period, concentrations of CO2, nitrous oxide, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons have increased.
Complications of the greenhouse effect
The greenhouse effect is a well known phenomenon that affects the earth’s weather and climate. In simple terms, the greenhouse effect is the process by which some gases in the atmosphere allow sunlight to pass through. Various factors play a part in this phenomenon. Some of these include the solar cycle, ocean currents and human activities.
Aside from the sun, there are three major contributors to the greenhouse effect: the atmosphere, ocean currents and the human population. These three elements can contribute to a wide range of effects, from warming to cooling. The most common is the greenhouse effect, wherein the warmer the climate, the more carbon dioxide is emitted. This is a result of human activity, which includes deforestation, farming and manufacturing.
For example, the increase in the amount of water vapour in the air leads to an enhanced greenhouse effect. Other factors like the weather and temperature are also contributing to the effect. As a result, the Earth’s temperature has increased by a degree or so in the last few years.
Historical evolution of the greenhouse effect
The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon that occurs when gases in the atmosphere trap heat. They block thermal radiation from the sun from escaping to space.
Since the mid-18th century, human activity has led to an increase in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. Most emissions are derived from deforestation and burning fossil fuels. Those emissions have been on the rise since the Industrial Revolution, but there have been alternating periods of slow growth and faster growth.
During the Industrial Revolution, emissions of CO2 increased by 30 percent. Other gases have also contributed to the greenhouse effect. A few of these include methane, sulfur hexafluoride, and chlorofluorocarbons.
Atmospheric CO2 concentrations have varied over the past 650 millennia. However, the atmospheric CO2 record shows a strong correlation with global temperature over the past 160,000 years.
In the 1950s, American scientists began to sound the alarm on the long-term effects of climate change. Computer models became better at modeling how increased CO2 would affect the Earth. Although they were far from perfect, the data they gathered overwhelmingly supported the idea of an increase in the greenhouse effect.