The Greenhouse Effect


, in environmental science, is a popular term for
the effect that certain variable constituents of the Earth's lower atmosphere
have on surface temperatures. These gases--water vapor (H2O), carbon dioxide
(CO2), and methane (CH4)--keep ground temperatures at a global average of about
15 degrees C (60 degrees F). Without them the average would be below the
freezing point of H20. The gases have this effect because as incoming solar
radiation strikes the surface, the surface gives off infrared radiation, or heat,
that the gases trap and keep near ground level. The effect is comparable to the
way in which a greenhouse traps heat, hence the term.

Environmental scientists are concerned ...

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planet's cloud-covered surface is hot enough to melt lead.

Water vapor is an important "greenhouse" gas. It is a major reason why
humid regions experience less cooling at night than do dry regions. However,
variations in the atmosphere's CO2 content are what have played a major role in
past climatic changes. In recent decades there has been a global increase in
atmospheric CO2, largely as a result of the burning of fossil fuels. If the
many other determinants of the Earth's present global climate remain more or
less constant, the CO2 increase should raise the average temperature at the
Earth's surface. As the atmosphere warmed, the amount of H2O would probably
also increase, because warm air can contain more H2O than can cooler air. This
process might go on indefinitely. On the other hand, reverse processes could
develop such as increased cloud cover and increased absorption of CO2 by
phytoplankton in the ocean. These would act as natural feedbacks, ...

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"The Greenhouse Effect." Essayworld.com. August 13, 2004. Accessed July 25, 2017. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/The-Greenhouse-Effect/12612.
"The Greenhouse Effect." Essayworld.com. August 13, 2004. Accessed July 25, 2017. http://www.essayworld.com/essays/The-Greenhouse-Effect/12612.
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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 8/13/2004 07:34:47 PM
Category: Science & Nature
Words: 604
Pages: 3

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