Sunday, December 6, 2015

What is the Greenhouse Effect?

Greenhouse effect makes life possible on earth


The Earth is warmed by sunlight that reaches earth.

According to NASA, 30 % of the sunlight is reflected back into space by clouds and ice, and the remaining 70% is absorbed by land and water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans. The rest of the sunlight is absorbed by the atmosphere and keeps Earth warm.

As the Earth’s surface is heated by the sun's rays, it releases heat energy.

The heat energy that is released by Earth enters the surrounding atmosphere and is absorbed by greenhouse gases like water vapor, carbon dioxide and methane. 

When the greenhouse gases absorb the heat energy released by the surface of the earth, they trap the heat and radiate the trapped heat back to Earth.

The heat radiated back to earth keeps the surface of the earth and the surrounding atmosphere warm. 

The process of absorption and radiation of heat by the atmosphere is called the greenhouse effect. 

The greenhouse effect makes life possible on earth.Without the greenhouse effect, the surface of the Earth would be very cold with a temperature of 18 degrees centigrade or 0 degrees Fahrenheit.


References

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalWarming/page2.php

http://scied.ucar.edu/longcontent/greenhouse-effe
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Image Credit - Free images by pixabay

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