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What is Greenhouse Effect - Does it cause Global warming?

BY: Swati | Category: Education | Post Date: 2008-09-19
 



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If you watch news or surf internet in general, you much have come across the word "Greenhouse Effect", but do you know what it really means.

What is Greenhouse Effect in a Layman terms:
Let's say it's one of those cold-sunny days and you are sitting inside your car with all glass windows shut (rolled up to the top). Even though it is cold outside, the car surely feels much warmer. Similarly the temperature outside the earth's atmosphere is very cold and the greenhouse gases form a transparent shield in our earth's atmosphere which helps to maintain the livable temperature on the earth's surface. If this Greenhouse shield is too thin our earth will become too cold and probably non-livable. If this shield is too thick then our earth will become too warm and that will also cause problems for humans, plants, and animals. Therefore certain level of greenhouse effect is required for humans to live.


Definition of Greenhouse Effect: (Ref EPA)
The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature that the Earth experiences because certain gases in the atmosphere (water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, for example) trap energy from the sun. Without these gases, heat would escape back into space and Earth's average temperature would be about 60F colder. Because of how they warm our world, these gases are referred to as greenhouse gases.


What is a Greenhouse ( to cultivate plants):
Green-house is a way to to grow plants, especially in the winter. It is basically a glass house inside which the temperature can remain warm (like the example of car mentioned above) and plants (fruits, vegetables or flowers) can grow even in winters.

Why is everyone talking about Global warnming and Greenhouse Effect:
The burning of fossil fuels ( petrol, gas, diesel), cutting of trees, aerosols, air pollution, waste from factories are some of the factors which are contributing to a thicker later of Greenhouse shield in our atmosphere, which is turn is believed to be making our earth warmer ( this process happens very slowly). The action of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases which traps infrared radiation (warmth in sunlight) is called the greenhouse effect.

What are some effects of Global warnming:
Loss of snow cover, some plant and animal species will die, sea level rise, change in weather and rainfall patterns and some of the serious problems associated with Global warming.

Reference:
http://epa.gov/climatechange/kids/greenhouse.html

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