Table of Contents
HOW GREENHOUSE GASES CAUSE GLOBAL WARMING?
In a simple term, when certain gases in the atmosphere around the Earth hold the infrared radiation, this is called a greenhouse effect. The greenhouse gases effect on global warming increases the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere making it a warmer planet. The greenhouse gases (such as Carbon Dioxide, Methane, etc.) are responsible for the greenhouse effect. When the amount of greenhouse gases increases in the atmosphere simultaneously, the heat gets increased in Earth’s atmosphere and thus causes global warming.
The greenhouse effect is a natural process that helps to maintain the temperature of Earth. If the greenhouse effect does not occur then the temperature of Earth will be very low around 18-degree Celsius. However, the actual temperature of Earth is 14 degrees Celsius but it has increased to an optimal level from the past few decades due to excessive greenhouse effect.
One of the main reasons for the excessive greenhouse effect is the increase in Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere due to various causes such as the burning of fossil fuels, pollution, deforestation, etc. Eventually, the greenhouse gases effect on global warming also affects the climatic conditions of the Earth. Before we go ahead on discussing much about it, let’s have a glance at the major greenhouse gases.
WHAT ARE THE MAJOR GREENHOUSE GASES THAT AFFECT GLOBAL WARMING?
Today, global warming is one of the biggest environmental issues mainly caused due to the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases effect on global warming not only causes climate change but disturbs the entire atmospheric balance on the Earth. Earth’s atmosphere consists of various gases such as oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, etc. but these are non-greenhouse gases.
Greenhouse gases show severe effects on the environment. If the greenhouse gases effect on global warming not be treated at the earliest the situation may be worst in the up-coming years. The major greenhouse gases are,
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
- Methane (CH4)
- Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
- Ozone (O3)
- Fluorinated Carbon (such as Chlorofluorocarbons / CFCs and Hydrofluorocarbons / HCFCs & HFCs)
HOW GREENHOUSE GASES AFFECT GLOBAL WARMING?
There are many gases present in Earth’s atmosphere but the gases that absorb radiation from the Sun are termed as greenhouse gases. These greenhouse gases are majorly responsible for the various effect on global warming. Well, global warming is not a new concept and thus greenhouse gases were also present in previous decades, only the amount of greenhouse gases have increased to an extreme level in the atmosphere as compared to last decades. The industrial revolution is the initiating point of the increase in greenhouse gases.
There are three main factors that affect the intensity of greenhouse gases effect on global warming:
- Amount of greenhouse gases available in the atmosphere.
- The time period of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
- The ability of greenhouse gases to affect global warming.
Based on these three factors, the role of 5 major greenhouse gases (Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Ozone, Nitrous Oxide, and Fluorinated carbons) have been discussed here. To tackle greenhouse gases effect on global warming, it is very important to know the abundance, lifetime and sources of these greenhouse gases.
THE ROLE OF GREENHOUSE GASES IN GLOBAL WARMING
Greenhouse gases effect, global warming, and climate change are well-known terms for us now. All these terms have a very strong connection with each other. When the greenhouse gases emitted in the huge amount it causes global warming & climate change. Here we will discuss more about greenhouse gases effect on global warming below:
There are different types of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere. Different greenhouse gases have different effects on the environment and also the sources of these greenhouse gases are not similar. There are mainly 5 greenhouse gases that contribute most to increasing in the temperature of the Earth. Unfortunately, the main source of these greenhouse gases emissions are human beings.
Here, you will find out the percentage of human originated greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, their sources and how much time they spent in the atmosphere.
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) gas, its lifetime, sources & contribution to global warming
Carbon Dioxide is the main greenhouse gas which contributes almost 53% to global warming. The major sources of Carbon Dioxide emissions in the air are burning of fossil fuels, deforestation, industrialization & urbanization, production of cement and other materials, etc. As far as the lifetime of Carbon Dioxide is concerned, it is a little tough to determine because of various sources of CO2 emission.
However, between 65-80% of Carbon Dioxide emitted in the atmosphere gets dissolved in the Ocean after 20 to 200 years approximately. The rest of Carbon Dioxide released in the air will take many years to remove from the atmosphere. In short, CO2 take thousands of years to remove from the atmosphere until then it will continue to affect global warming & climate change.
- Methane (CH4) gas, its lifetime, sources & contribution to global warming
Methane is the next important greenhouse gas that contributes approximately 15% effects on global warming. The main sources of methane emission are agricultural activities, natural gas & oil distribution, livestock productions, sewage treatments, etc.
Methane gas takes almost 12 years to disappear from the atmosphere. However, methane gas plays a vital role in greenhouse gases effect on global warming but it stays in the atmosphere for a shorter period as compared to CO2 gas.
- Nitrous Oxide (N2O) gas, its lifetime, sources & contribution to global warming
Nitrous oxide takes more time to remove from the atmosphere than methane gas. It takes approximately 114 years to disappear from the atmosphere. The emission of nitrous oxide occurs due to various human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels, agricultural activities, industrial activities, etc. On an average nitrous oxide contributes almost 11% to increase the temperature of Earth causing global warming.
- Ozone (O3) gas, its lifetime, sources & contribution to global warming
Ozone is also responsible for greenhouse gases effect on global warming. Tropospheric ozone contributes 11% to global warming. When we burn different fuels, it releases various gases such as Carbon monoxide (CO), Nitrous oxide (NO2) and Volatile organic compounds.
These gases and compounds produce tropospheric ozone by the chemical reaction with each other. This ozone gas does not last for a long time in the atmosphere, it hardly takes a few months to remove from the atmosphere.
- Fluorinated Carbon (such as Chlorofluorocarbons / CFCs and Hydrofluorocarbons / HCFCs & HFCs), its lifetime, sources & contribution to global warming
Fluorinated Carbons or Halogenated compounds such as CFCs, HCFCs, HFCs, PFCs, etc. also contribute 11% to global warming. The halogenated compounds contain chlorine and fluorine that include various chemical species. This is the reason these compounds have a variable lifetime in the atmosphere starting from a few months to more than thousands of years.
The lifetime of halogenated compounds depends on the type of chemical species present in it and thus causes greenhouse gases effect on global warming for a variable time period. If we talk about the sources of halogenated compounds, there are many reasons that cause the emission of these compounds such as metallurgy, refrigerator, and air conditioner, electronic equipment and many others.
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