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Greenhouse effect

The Greenhouse effect refers to the change in the thermal equilibrium temperature of a
planet or moon by the presence of an atmosphere containing gas that absorbs infrared
radiation. Greenhouse gases warm the atmosphere by efficiently absorbing thermal
infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, by the atmosphere itself, and by clouds.
As a result of its warmth, the atmosphere also radiates thermal infrared in all directions,
including downward to the Earth’s surface. Thus, greenhouse gases trap heat within the
surface-troposphere system. This mechanism is fundamentally different from the
mechanism of an actual greenhouse, which instead isolates air inside the structure so that
heat is not lost by convection and conduction.

The greenhouse effect was discovered by Joseph Fourier in 1824, first reliably
experimented on by John Tyndall in the year 1858 and first reported quantitatively by
Svante Arrhenius in his 1896 paper.

A schematic representation of the exchanges of energy between outer space, the Earth's
atmosphere, and the Earth surface. The ability of the atmosphere to capture and recycle
energy emitted by the Earth surface is the defining characteristic of the greenhouse effect.

In the absence of the greenhouse effect, the Earth's average surface temperature of 14 °C
(57 °F) would be about -18 °C (–0.4 °F) (Black body temperature of the Earth).
Anthropogenic Global warming (AGW), a recent warming of the Earth's lower
atmosphere as evidenced by the global mean temperature anomaly trend, is believed to be
the result of an "enhanced greenhouse effect" mainly due to human-produced increased
concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and changes in the use of land.

The greenhouse effect is only one of many factors which affect the temperature of the
Earth. Other positive and negative feedbacks dampen or amplify the greenhouse effect.

In our solar system, Mars, Venus, and the moon Titan also exhibit significant greenhouse
effect.

Mechanism
The Earth receives energy from the Sun mostly in the form of visible light. The bulk of
this energy is not absorbed by the atmosphere since the atmosphere is transparent to
visible light. 50% of the sun's energy reaches the Earth which is absorbed by the surface
as heat. Because of its temperature, the Earth's surface radiates energy in infrared range.
The Greenhouse gases are not transparent to infrared radiation so they absorb infrared
radiation. Infrared radiation is absorbed from all directions and is passed as heat to all
gases in the atmosphere. The atmosphere also radiates in the infrared range (because of
its temperature, in the same way the Earth's surface does) and does so in all directions.
The surface and lower atmosphere are warmed because of the greenhouse gases and
makes our life on earth possible
Global warming
Global warming is the increase in the average measured temperature of the Earth's near-
surface air and oceans since the mid-20th century, and its projected continuation.

Global surface temperature increased 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the 100
years ending in 2005. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes
"most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth
century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas
concentrations" via an enhanced greenhouse effect. Natural phenomena such as solar
variation combined with volcanoes probably had a small warming effect from pre-
industrial times to 1950 and a small cooling effect from 1950 onward. These basic
conclusions have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of
science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized
countries.

Climate model projections summarized by the IPCC indicate that average global surface
temperature will likely rise a further 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during the twenty-first
century. Although most studies focus on the period up to 2100, warming and sea level
rise are expected to continue for more than a thousand years even if greenhouse gas
levels are stabilized. The delay in reaching equilibrium is a result of the large heat
capacity of the oceans.

Increasing global temperature is expected to cause sea levels to rise, an increase in the
intensity of extreme weather events, and significant changes to the amount and pattern of
precipitation, likely leading to an expanse of tropical areas and increased pace of
desertification. Other expected effects of global warming include changes in agricultural
yields, modifications of trade routes, glacier retreat, mass species extinctions and
increases in the ranges of disease vectors.

Most national governments have signed and ratified the Kyoto Protocol aimed at
reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but there is ongoing political and public debate
worldwide regarding what, if any, action should be taken to reduce or reverse future
warming or to adapt to its expected consequences
Global mean surface temperature anomaly relative to 1961–1990