Video:Learn About the Greenhouse Effectwith Larry West
The greenhouse effect is a phenomenon that allows Earth's atmosphere to be warm enough to support life. Learn more about the greenhouse effect.See Transcript
Transcript:Learn About the Greenhouse EffectLife on earth depends on energy from the sun. About 30 percent of the sunlight that beams toward Earth is deflected by the outer atmosphere and scattered to space. The rest reaches the planet's surface and is reflected upward again as a type of slow-moving energy called infrared radiation.
What Are Greenhouse Gases?The heat caused by infrared radiation is absorbed by "greenhouse gases" such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone and methane, which slows its escape from the atmosphere.
Although greenhouse gases make up only about 1 percent of the Earth's atmosphere, they regulate climate by trapping heat and holding it in a kind of warm-air blanket that surrounds the planet.
What Is the Greenhouse Effect?This phenomenon is what scientists call the "greenhouse effect." Without it, scientists estimate that the average temperature on Earth would be colder by approximately 30 degrees Celsius or 54 degrees Fahrenheit, far too cold to sustain our current ecosystem.
While the greenhouse effect is an essential environmental prerequisite for life on Earth, there really can be too much of a good thing.
Ultimately, more greenhouse gases means more infrared radiation trapped and held, which is what is known as Global Warming and ultimately leading to Climate Change.
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