An Eco-sustainable World
Ecological Glossary

Greenhouse effect

Greenhouse effect

The greenhouse effect is the natural phenomenon which consists of a warming of the planet as a result of the shielding action of some gases present in the atmosphere, the so-called greenhouse gases. These gases, by retaining part of the solar radiation that enters the atmosphere, and which bounces off the Earth’s surface and returns to space, behave like a real greenhouse. In its essence, the greenhouse effect is a useful effect for the Earth because it allows it to retain the amount of heat necessary for the development of life forms. However, human activities, by generating enormous additional quantities of greenhouse gases, have led to an exaggerated intensification of the greenhouse effect, causing a rapid rise in the average temperature of the globe. The exaggerated elevation is mainly due to the use of fossil fuels such as coal, gas and oil, industrial activities and deforestation.
The greenhouse effect is, however, a natural process that occurs in the Earth’s atmosphere and which is fundamental for maintaining the planet at temperatures suitable for life. This process is called the “greenhouse effect” because it works similarly to the effect of a garden greenhouse, which traps heat inside.

Mechanism of action –
Sunlight reaches the Earth and heats its surface. Some of this solar energy is reflected back into space, but most is absorbed by the Earth.
The Earth’s surface, once heated, emits thermal radiation in the form of heat into the surrounding atmosphere. This thermal radiation is mainly in the infrared.
“Greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), water vapor (H2O), and others, capture part of this thermal radiation and send it back to the Earth’s surface.
This thermal radiation “trapped” by greenhouse gases further warms the Earth’s surface, helping to keep the planet’s average temperatures at a level that allows life.
Without the greenhouse effect, Earth would be much colder than it is today, and would not be able to support life as we know it. However, in recent decades, human activity has significantly increased concentrations of some greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, particularly carbon dioxide, through the use of fossil fuels and deforestation. This has led to global warming and climate change, as the greenhouse effect has become more powerful than necessary, leading to an increase in average global temperatures and consequences for the environment and humanity. This phenomenon is known as “global warming” and has raised concerns about the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to mitigate harmful effects on the climate and environment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *