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Green House Effect

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 


Green House Effect

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Greenhouse gases
In order of volume, Earth's most abundant greenhouse gases are: water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, CFCs. By their percentage contribution to the greenhouse effect the four major gases are:
• water vapor, 36–70%
• carbon dioxide, 9–26%
• methane, 4–9%
• ozone, 3–7%
The major non-gas contributor to the Earth's greenhouse effect, clouds, also absorb and emit infrared radiation and thus have an effect on radiative properties of the atmosphere.

Enhanced greenhouse effect
When it comes to the physical processes that produce the greenhouse effect, increases that are caused by human activities are known as the enhanced (or anthropogenic) greenhouse effect. This increase in radiative forcing from human activity is contributed to mostly by increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels.

CO2 is produced by fossil fuel burning and other activities such as cement production and tropical deforestation. Measurements of CO2 from the Mauna Loa observatory show that concentrations have increased from about 313 ppm in 1960 to about 383 ppm in 2009. The current observed amount of CO2 exceeds the geological record maxima (~300 ppm) from ice core data. The effect of combustion-produced carbon dioxide on the global climate, a special case of the greenhouse effect first described in 1896 by Svante Arrhenius, has also been called the Callendar effect.

Because it is a greenhouse gas, elevated CO2 levels contribute to additional absorption and emission of thermal infrared in the atmosphere, which could contribute to net warming. In fact, according to Assessment Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations".

Over the past 800,000 years, ice core data shows unambiguously that carbon dioxide has varied from values as low as 180 parts per million (ppm) to the pre-industrial level of 270ppm. Certain paleoclimatologists consider variations in carbon dioxide to be a fundamental factor in controlling climate variations over this time scale.

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