The greenhouse effect is the process in the atmosphere to keep the planet warm by trapping the heat with the help of greenhouse gases which is essential for life to survive on earth. The earth’s average temperature is 15oC because of the greenhouse effect, without it would have been -18oC. But how this greenhouse effect takes place? We will know it further.
How greenhouse effect takes place?
Firstly, We need to know that most of the energy the earth is getting is from sun which comes as a thermal radiation. Nearly half of the thermal radiation is absorbed by the surface of the earth. The throwback the energy in the forms long wave (infrared) radiation to outer space.
And here comes the greenhouse gas into the picture! The greenhouse gases consist of water vapour, carbon dioxide, Nitrous oxide, methane, etc. The property of greenhouse gases is to absorb heat and keep the planet warm.
When the earth’s surface emits heat in the form of infrared to outer space, the greenhouse gases absorb the infrared radiation and keeps the planet warm. This warming of the planet due to the greenhouse gases is known as the greenhouse effect.
The greenhouse effect is a natural process. But since from industrial period, the human impact in this process has been increased significantly. And the biggest reason for this is fossil fuel and agriculture.
Fossil fuel when burned emits carbon dioxide, which is a greenhouse gas which stays for a long time in the atmosphere and absorbs. As after the start of the industrial age the emission of CO2 has been increased a lot which is increasing the greenhouse effect makes the planet warmer.
Agriculture and animal grazing emits methane and uses nitrous oxide as fertilizers. Methane is a greenhouse gas which doesn’t stay for long into the atmosphere as compared to carbon dioxide but have a much higher potential of absorbing heat than CO2 which is warming the planet too.
Nitrous oxide is used as a fertilizer which is having very high potential of absorbing the heat and stays into the atmosphere on an average up to 114 year which is as much as CO2. Thus, can have a major impact on greenhouse gases.
These issues are causing the planet to warm more than needed which is termed as global warming. Because of this global warming the polar ice is melting which is resulting in absorption of energy by the earth's surface causing more warming. More warming eventually increasing more water to convert into water vapour which to a greenhouse gas and increases the greenhouse effect.
This is further also changing the climate of the earth which is termed as climate change. So increasing greenhouse gas effect is basically creating a big issue for the climate, survival of life and global temperature.