Greenhouse Effect

The 'greenhouse effect' is caused by certain gases in the atmosphere trapping heat radiated from the Earth. These 'greenhouse' gases absorb outgoing infra-red radiation but do not significantly affect incoming visible radiation (i.e., they act like panes of glass in a greenhouse); the higher their concentration, the more radiation returned and so the higher the temperature of the Earth's surfaces. 'Global warming' is the gradual increase in temperature of the lower atmosphere, as a result of the steady accumulation of greenhouse gases; its effects are expected to include rises in sea levels, decreased amounts of moisture in soils, milder winters, and disruption of delicately balanced ecosystems.

See also: Carbon Dioxide Emissions, Climate Change, Fossil Fuel Emissions, Global Warming, Global Warming Potential, Greenhouse Gases.

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Subjects: Physics

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