Where can I learn more about Global Warming and the Greenhouse Effect?
The term Global Warming describes the observed and projected increase in globally averaged temperatures over time. Because the global climate is a dynamic system, global warming has occurred in the past and will occur in the future. Using surface station temperature measurements and satellite-based measurements, researchers have identified an increasing trend in the global average surface air temperatures. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has determined that this increase can be attributed to a combination of natural climate variations and human factors. One of the leading causes under investigation is the greenhouse effect of gasses in the atmosphere.
What is the Greenhouse Effect?
The Greenhouse Effect obtained
its name from the behavior of a greenhouse.
A greenhouse's glass allows shortwave
radiation to enter but then prohibits
outgoing longwave radiation from exiting,
thus warming the air in the greenhouse.
Although the behavior of the atmosphere
is different from that of a greenhouse,
the result is similar and thus the warming
effect was termed the Greenhouse
Effect. If it wasn't for the natural
greenhouse effect, almost all radiation
would be returned to space and the average
surface temperature would be around
0°C. Atmospheric gasses that cause
this effect include water vapor (H2O),
carbon dioxide (CO2) and
methane (CH4). If the amount
of these gasses in the atmosphere increases,
then the greenhouse effect will be magnified
and warmer global temperatures will
To learn even more about global warming and climate change, visit one of the following web sites:
The Greenhouse effect
Credit: The Science of Climate Change, Working Group 1 of the 2nd Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, UNEP and WMO (United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal)
Global temperature anomalies over time
Credit: School of Environmental Studies, Climatic Research Unit, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK (United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal)
Increase of atmospheric CO2 over time
Credit: Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO), University of California (United Nations Environment Programme, GRID-Arendal)
Still have questions about global warming or the greenhouse effect? Ask the GCMD science staff.