Energy from the sun warms the earth. It also drives the earth's weather and climate. The earth's surface absorbs the sun and radiates it back into space in the form of infrared radiation. This process is referred to as the greenhouse effect.
About one percent of the earth's atmosphere is composed of greenhouse gases. Together these gases reflect enough heat back to the earth to maintain the average temperature of the atmosphere at around 60 degrees F. Without the greenhouse effect, the earth would be a cold uninhabitable place. In comparison, Mars has an average temperature of -27 degrees C.
The earth's climate is predicted to change because human activities are altering the chemical composition of the atmosphere through the buildup of greenhouse gases. Those gases are primarily carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. The heat trapping property of these gases is undisputed. (In order words it is a fact, these gases hold heat).
Although uncertainly exists about how earth's climate responds to these gases, global temperatures are rising.
What are Greenhouse Gases?
Some greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere, while others result from human activities. Naturally occurring greenhouse gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Certain human activities, however, add to the levels of most of these naturally occurring gases:
Carbon dioxide is released to the atmosphere when solid waste, fossil fuels (oil, national gas, and coal), and wood and wood products are burned. (Carbon dioxide accounts for over 80% of global warming pollution)
Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil. Methane emissions also result from decomposition of organic wastes in municipal solid waste landfills and the raising of livestock
Nitrous oxide is emitted during agricultural and industrial activities, as well as during combustion of solid...