Jan 30, 2014
Julia

Greenhouse Effect?

The greenhouse effect is a procedure that can be either natural or man made. The natural greenhouse effect keeps the Earth habitable. The climate is kept relatively warm when the atmospheric greenhouse gases absorb thermal radiation from the Earth’s surface and re-radiates it in all directions.

Because one of the directions the energy is re-radiated is towards the Earth’s surface (and the lower atmosphere) the temperature on our planet is more than it would have looked like if we were only heated by solar radiation.

I really didn’t know…

Although it is referred to as the greenhouse effect this natural mechanism is actually different then what is going on in a greenhouse. In that sort of physical structure the inside air is isolated so that heat is not lost by convection.

Continuing The Greenhouse Effect Discussion

However, when most people speak about the greenhouse effect they’re referring to what has become of our planet, owing to the man made addition of gases to the atmosphere. These gases were released by the combustion of fossil fuels such as crude, coal, and natural gas. These additional gases have trapped a number of the aforementioned radiation that would normally have escaped from our planet. In so doing they have done our planet warmer than it would’ve been.

There are some man-made greenhouse gases that keep on increasing in the atmosphere along with natural greenhouse gases. Some causes involve human activities like burning of fossil fuels, coal, oil, natural gas, cutting down and burning trees, etc. These generate a lot of carbon dioxide due to which the rest of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere gets disturbed. Use of aerosols, hairspray cans, fridges, plastics, etc. produce a set of highly dangerous greenhouse gases called chlorofluorocarbons. These are so harmful that even small amounts can trap large amounts of heat, making the Earth extremely hot. This phenomenon is referred to as global warming. This has a highly dangerous effect on the Earth.

It’s as if a blanket was thrown over the planet. That blanket is now keeping the upper strata of the atmosphere colder and the lower layers warmer.

Water vapor is responsible for about eighty-to ninety per cent of the natural greenhouse effect. The balance is caused primarily by carbon dioxide and methane, along with a series of minor gases.

Over the past 150 years our planet has been getting warmer. Many scientists think that this has been caused by cement being produced, the increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that has been the outcome of the fossil fuels being burned, and the rainforests being burned.

In 1960 the Mauna Loa observatory measured a 313 ppm concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In 2010 it had soared almost 20% to 389 ppm. Ice core data indicate that the maximum level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere had been fewer than 300 ppm, as a matter of reference. Over the eight hundred thousand years prior to the Industrial Revolution the level of carbon dioxide varied from 180 ppm to 270 ppm.

The fundamental factor effecting climate variations over those 800, 000 years, according to peleoclimatologists, has been the level of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Venus, the second planet from our sun, has undergone a runaway greenhouse effect. That involves water vapor and carbon dioxide. It led to the evaporation of all greenhouse gases on that planet.

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