Greenhouse Effect Definition

by Laurent Cousineau
(Montreal)

The greenhouse effect is named after the greenhouse, a structure in which plants are grown

The greenhouse effect is named after the greenhouse, a structure in which plants are grown

The Greenhouse Effect refers to both the trapping and accumulation of the sun's heat within the troposphere, the layer of the atmosphere closest to the Earth’s surface.

Essentially, the sun emits infrared (and visible) radiation towards the Earth which is then bounced back into space.

Meanwhile, greenhouse gases will absorb the escaping heat and send it back to the Earth’s surface, thereby causing an increase in surface temperatures around the globe.

Hence, the greenhouse effect is responsible for global warming, the increase in global surface temperatures.

The Greenhouse Effect and Climate Change

In effect, as mankind releases more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere as if it were open sewer, the more climate change we will face in the near future.

In order to help stop climate change, we need to decrease our greenhouse gas emissions and thus reduce our carbon footprint.

Evidence from the Greenhouse Effect

Finally, it should be mentioned that although temperatures in the troposphere will increase due to the greenhouse effect, the temperatures in the stratosphere (a higher layer of the atmosphere) will actually get cooler.

This is because the greenhouse gases will prevent heat from escaping the atmosphere as aforementioned.

Although this might seem trivial, this is actually important evidence that climate change is caused by mankind.

If the global warming we are facing is in fact due to fluctuations in the sun's solar activity, then both the troposphere and stratosphere should be getting warmer. However, this is not the case.

On a side note, more infrared radiation is returning to Earth at wavelengths at which greenhouse gases absorb energy. Consequently, this further proves that anthropogenic global warming is occurring.

For more evidence of climate change, click here.

Greenhouse Gases

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