The earth is surrounded by an envelope of gases called atmosphere. These layers of gases include gases called Greenhouse gases. It is these gases that make living on our planet possible.
What are green house gases?
Greenhouse gases include water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Greenhouse gases help regulate the temperature of the earth. The rays of the sun warm the earth and the earth reflects the radiated heat outwards. Greenhouse gases prevent this heat from escaping from the surface of the earth. Without these gases the temperature of the earth would be unbearably colder.
Greenhouse gases include water vapour, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and ozone.
Understanding the greenhouse effect
A greenhouse is a special building where plants grow. It consists of glass or plastic walls and a roof. The idea in this is to create an environment that absorbs the greatest amount of natural light. Greenhouses trap air inside it. This air is warm, even during the night when the temperature outside is cooler. Greenhouses are especially useful in those countries that have colder winters that do not allow plants to grow. During the summer, greenhouses can be cooled by keeping the doors open and allowing the air to circulate.
The earth is a natural greenhouse
The atmosphere that surrounds the earth is like a greenhouse. These gases help to trap the earth’s heat keeping it warm. However think about this. If the earth’s greenhouse gases became too hot, then how can we cool the earth? There is no way we can open a window or door to let the heat out. This is why the release or emission of greenhouse gases is an important topic for global warming.
Making greenhouse gases
Man makes greenhouse gases in several ways. These gases are produced while burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas. Cutting and burning trees also releases carbon dioxide. Another greenhouse gas that is considered to be dangerous is chlorofluorocarbons. These gases prevent a lot of heat from escaping. It is because of this, the release of these gases is being controlled.
As greenhouse gases increase in the atmosphere, the earth starts to become warmer. This is called global warming. If we continue to produce many greenhouse gases, the earth will become a much warmer place to live in. This means, the weather patterns of the earth will change - summers will be hotter and winters will be shorter. The polar ice caps will start melting and the water in the sea will increase.