Greenhouse Effect

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The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change
1. What is the Greenhouse Effect?
Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere don't absorb visible sunlight, so most of the Sun's energy
passes through and warms the Earth's surface. But greenhouse gases trap some of the Earth's
outgoing infrared heat energy, keeping the planet warm enough for life as we know it to exist.
This is known as the greenhouse effect. Recently, humans have added more greenhouse gases
to the atmosphere, increasing the strength of the natural greenhouse effect.
2. Why is it important for our planet?
Without the greenhouse effect, the Earth's average temperature would be around -18 or -19
degrees Celsius (0 or 1 degrees Fahrenheit). Because of the greenhouse effect, the Earth's
actual average temperature is 14 degrees Celsius (57 degrees Fahrenheit).
3. What are the different greenhouse gases?
Water Vapour (33%-66%): Water vapour is the gaseous form of water, which is produced due to
evaporation of water and/or sublimation of ice.
Carbon Dioxide (9%-26%): Carbon dioxide, a chemical compound, that constitutes two atoms of
oxygen, covalently bonded to a single atom of carbon, turn into a gas at standard temperature
and pressure.
Methane (4%-9%): Another prominent gas featuring in the greenhouse gases list is methane. The
molecular formula of methane is CH4.
Nitrous Oxide: Nitrous oxide is another important greenhouse gas, which can cause a high
impact on global temperatures.
Ozone (3%-7%): In upper troposphere acts as a greenhouse gas - wherein it absorbs the
infra-red energy that is emitted by the Earth and at ground level it acts as an air pollutant,
harmful for respiratory system of animals and humans alike.
Halo alkanes: Not all halo alkanes are harmful, typically those halo alkanes which contain
bromine and chlorine lead to depletion on ozone layer.
Others: sulfur hexafluoride, hydrofluorocarbons, nitrogen trifluoride and perfluorocarbons

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The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change
4. The sources of greenhouse gases
Power Plants, Greenhouse Gas (GHG): Carbon Dioxide: Generating power by burning fossil fuels
like natural gas, oil, and coal produces more greenhouse gas emissions than any other human
activity, accounting for about one quarter of all global emissions.
In the next 5-10 years, about 40 percent of worldwide power generating capacity will have to be
replaced. Making new power plants cleaner will be critical.…read more

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The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change
The graph shows that since around 1770, the concentration on Carbon Dioxide started at
around 280 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere. It increases steadily to 310ppm until
1910, where the levels begin to increase
dramatically due to new technology and
factories coming into work. In 2000, it is up
to 340ppm of carbon dioxide in the
6. Which countries are the biggest
polluters and why?
The biggest polluter is China, closely
followed by the USA.…read more

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The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change
parts of Africa, Asia, Latin America, and North America as warmer weather allows these and
other diseases to thrive in locations previously too cold to support them
Disruption of the Ecosystem - Climate change could magnify the cumulative impacts of other
ecosystem stresses caused by human development, such as air and water pollution and habitat
destruction. Natural systems, including glaciers, coral reefs, atolls, mangroves, boreal and
tropical forests, polar and alpine ecosystems, prairie wetland.…read more


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