Greenhouse gases are gases that trap heat in the atmosphere. The earth receives sunlight and part of this energy is absorbed by the earth’s surface, causing the earth to heat up. When the sun sets, the earth has to cool down by releasing a form of energy known as infrared radiation. Part of this radiation is, however, trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere before it can fully escape into outer space. These greenhouse gases thus makes the atmosphere warmer, and subsequently, the earth becomes warmer as well. This process is known as the greenhouse effect.
The major consequence of greenhouse effect is global warming. Global warming is a result of too much heat being retained on the earth’s surface. This, in turn, is devastating to the environment as it leads to desertification, rising of the sea level, increased melting of snow and ice as well as more destructive storms. When the temperature of the oceans rises, tropical storms are able to pick up more energy, causing the destructive power of hurricanes to increase as well. Another greenhouse effect is the acidification of oceans due to the increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This leads to the death of sea creatures and aquatic plants.Moreover, the growth of plants and their nutrition levels are affected as well.
There are many types of greenhouse gases. The most common ones include nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, water vapor and methane. These gases contain loosely attached atoms in their molecules which make them vibrate after heat absorption and as a result, cause radiation. The carbon dioxide comes from animals and human beings when they breathe out. The burning of coal and engines of vehicles also emit carbon dioxide into the air. Methane comes from garbage dumps, swamps and cow burps.
The effect of these greenhouse gases on the climate is dependent on three main factors. These factors include the concentration of these gases in the atmosphere, how long they stay up there and how strongly they impact global temperatures. The more greenhouse gases emitted, the higher their concentration is in the atmosphere. Also, these gases can stay in the atmosphere level from a few years to thousands of years, meaning that their effects are more hazardous and some gases make the earth warmer than others.
The effects of greenhouse gases are fatal. The only way to reduce them is to use less energy, choose energy efficient appliances, plant more trees and encourage others to save the environment. Saving the environment conserves energy and money which serves for the good of all human beings.