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What are Greenhouse Gases?

Updated: Sep 20th, 2022

The greenhouse gases are the damaging gases coming from our factories, and our automobiles. They trap heat in our atmosphere and warm our planet.


Greenhouse gases are contained in the exhaust coming out of our automobiles everyday. Photo Credit: Getty Images


Greenhouse Gases

The gases ammonia, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane gas, and a class of gases collectively known as the chlorofluorocarbons, are all referred to as the greenhouse gases.

These are the damaging gases that are contained in the pollution coming out of our factories, as well as the exhaust coming out of our automobiles. And taken together, they are responsible for producing the effect referred to by scientists as the greenhouse effect.

To put it in the most simplest of terms, the greenhouse effect is like a blanket. In the same way that you cover yourself up with a blanket to stay warm, the greenhouse gases act like a blanket for our planet, trapping and holding heat in..


How does the Greenhouse Effect work?

When the sun’s energy strikes the surface of our planet, the energy reflects back up from the surface. But instead of just escaping into outer space, a small percentage of the energy gets trapped by the greenhouse gases.

Because of this important function, the greenhouse effect is actually a natural part of our evolving world, critical for making life possible.

Without the greenhouse effect provided by our atmosphere, the energy coming from the sun would simply bounce off the surface of our planet, and bounce away right back into outer space! And in doing so, it would leave our world behind, far too cold for life to exist..

In this sense, we depend on the greenhouse effect for our lives, as well as for all of the life on our planet!

But then again, this is what we call the ‘natural’ greenhouse effect.

When human activities, on the other hand, add additional, excessive amounts of what we call ‘man-made’ greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, such as the smoke coming out of our factories, and the fumes coming out of our automobiles, non-stop for years upon years,- this is what causes the greenhouse effect to be increased beyond its normal, natural range.

This man-made increase is what leads to global warming and climate change.


Most scientists agree that human activity became the dominant cause of global warming in the time period after the industrial revolution.. Photo Credit: Getty Images


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Global Warming or Climate Change?


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