What Is The Greenhouse Effect?
If you didn’t know already, the greenhouse effect is the name given to the process by which the earth stays warmer than the dead cold of Space. Imagine the same thing that happens in a normal greenhouse – the glass allows light to come in but doesn’t allow it to go out without reflecting around a few times. This leads to a lot of heat staying inside the greenhouse, making it warmer than the outside of the place. Without the greenhouse effect working wonders on our planet, it would be no better than something like the frozen moon of Jupiter, Europa.
Too Much of a Good Thing
However, it is possible for this effect to work too well on the earth. If there are too many greenhouse gases in some part of the atmosphere, it can lead to that area going through a heat wave or even warming up the whole plant. A methane or CO2 handheld instrument can be very useful in measuring the concentration of greenhouse gases in your area. There are many different gases in the atmosphere, including the most common, which are Nitrogen and Oxygen. Most of the atmospheric gases have properties that contribute to heat retention.
How the Greenhouse Effect Works
A CO2 handheld instrument can be useful in detecting the levels of the gases in the area, but to reduce these concentrations, instruments are not going to help us. When light and heat from the sun hits the earths atmosphere, it passes through these gases with ease. The rays hit the surface of the earth and begin to be absorbed by the ground. When the rays are sent back up again, they are in the form of longwave radiation which is reflected by the greenhouse gases. This causes the radiation to come back down to the earth, trapped in a cycle of reflection that takes ages to balance out.
This radiation is what causes us to have heat waves and cold spells. It is the cause of the temperatures we feel on any given day. While some of it does escape and leave our atmosphere, a lot of it is retained. Carbon dioxide is one of the most common greenhouse gases out there. It is a natural product of respiration and of the burning of any fossil fuels. It can also be emitted by decomposition, erosion and other natural processes. Probably the biggest source of carbon dioxide, however, is any human activity, namely the burning of coal or oil products. Reducing the concentration of these gases to a tolerable amount should be the goal of all humanity, before it is too late.