What are Greenhouse Gases?
Greenhouse Gases and the Greenhouse Effect.
What Are Greenhouse Gases?
The gases ammonia, carbon monoxide, 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 these gases taken together are primarily responsible for producing the effect referred to by scientists as the greenhouse effect.
To put it in simple terms, the greenhouse effect is like a blanketing effect. In the same way that you cover yourself up with a blanket at night to stay warm, the greenhouse gases act like a blanket for the planet.
How does the Greenhouse Effect work?
When the sun’s energy strikes the surface of our planet, the energy reflects back upwards from the surface. But instead of escaping into outer space, a percentage of the energy gets trapped and retained in our atmosphere by the greenhouse gases.
Because of this important function, the greenhouse effect is a natural part of our evolving world, critical for making life possible. Without the greenhouse effect, the warmth provided by the sun would just bounce off the surface of our planet and radiate away, off into outer space and leaving our world behind, far too cold for life to exist..
We depend on the greenhouse effect for our very lives, as well as for all of the life on the planet!
When human activities, on the other hand, add additional, excessive amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, it causes the greenhouse effect to be increased as well. This increase is what leads to the result that scientists describe as global warming.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change tells us that it is extremely likely that human activity became the dominant cause of global warming in the time period following the industrial revolution, and NASA estimates that human activities have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration by more than a third since the Industrial Revolution began, mostly as a result of the burning of fossil fuels.
Now that we’ve discussed the greenhouse effect and how it relates to global warming, let’s take a quick look at the terms global warming and climate change, to understand the differences between these words…
Global Warming or Climate Change?
The terms global warming and climate change are often used interchangeably. You see it happen on websites, and blogs, and books. It’s very common! And the terms global warming and climate change are used interchangeably here as well. But what is the actual difference between these terms? In moving forward, there is a slight difference that you should at least be aware of. So what do we mean when we use these different words? Global warming and climate change?,= equals cause and effect!
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