The Greenhouse Effect
The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature on Earth as certain gases in the atmosphere trap energy. Energy from the sun drives the earth’s weather and climate, and heats the earth’s surface. In turn, the earth radiates energy back into space. Some atmospheric gases such as water vapour, carbon dioxide, and other gases trap some of the outgoing energy, retaining heat like the glass panels of a greenhouse. These gases are therefore known as greenhouse gases.
Six main gases considered to be contributing to global climate change are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) (which is 20 times as potent greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide) and nitrous oxide (N2O), plus three industrial gases: hydro fluorocarbons (HFCs), per fluorocarbons (PFCs) and sulphur hexafluoride (SF6).