MODULE #1: Climate Change & Global Warming
Greenhouse Gases - (GHGs) & “The Greenhouse Effect”
What are Greenhouse Gases?
They are gases that are transparent to sunlight but opaque to heat radiation… In other words, sunlight passes through but heat rising from Earth gets trapped by them Examples: carbon dioxide methane nitrous oxide CFCs, PFCs, SF6 tropospheric ozone Numbers are GWP-updated values from the DPS document “Vermont GHG Emissions for 1990”. - “Biomass” includes electrical generation, commercial, industrial, and residential. Photo courtesy of SEAWIFS
How do Greenhouse Gases cause “The Greenhouse Effect”?
“The Greenhouse Effect”
A natural (and balanced) “Greenhouse Effect” created by gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide and other gases) in our atmosphere allows us to live comfortably here on planet Earth. The Sun’s rays travel through space, and then through the Earth’s atmosphere S U N …but much of the sunlight’s energy heats up the dark-colored objects on the Earth. This energy is then released back into the air in the form of heat (infrared radiation) Greenhouse gas molecules, like carbon dioxide, absorb much of this heat and re-release it back to the Earth & the atmosphere If there was no natural greenhouse effect, the average global temperature would be about 60°F colder than we experience now. What happens to temperatures on Earth if we add lots of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere in a very short period of time (and upset this delicate natural balance)? Our weather and climate are controlled by how much of the sun’s energy actually gets trapped. Some of these rays are reflected back into space off of clouds and light-colored objects on the ground To learn what this has to do with Climate Change / Global Warming, please take a look at MODULE #2 … “The Greenhouse Effect”
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