Monday, March 20, 2017

Main Warming Mechanism: The Greenhouse Effect

How does it work
• Our earth receives most of its energy in the form of radiation from the sun

• The incoming solar energy (Ultra Violet UV) has a very short wavelength and passes through the atmospheric gases unaffected to reach the earth surface

• The earth surface absorbs the solar energy and releases it back to the atmosphere at a different wavelength as infrared (IR) radiation, some of which goes back into space

• Some of the IR radiation emitted by the earth is absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

• These gases absorb the infrared radiation emitted by the earth and re-radiate the energy as heat back towards the earth causing a warming known as the greenhouse effect.

• The greenhouse effect insulates earth, resulting in the mild temperatures at the earth's surface that have allowed life to flourish. The greenhouse effect is absolutely vital to allowing life, as we know it to survive on earth. Without the greenhouse effect, earth would be a cold planet, with a mean surface temperature well below freezing.

• Thanks to the greenhouse effect the average global temperature of the earth is 15◦ C

Our current civilisation is based on a fossil fuel economy. Fossil fuel long stored in the earth crust which we now burn to generate Energy and tools (plastics). We long thought that burning fossil fuels will have no impacts on our surrounding environment. This has now been proven wrong by our understanding of the greenhouse effect. The burning of fossil fuel is indeed having devastating effects on our climate.

Source of Information : Climate Change: A Silent Threat by Sylvain Richer de Forges
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