The greenhouse effect is the process where heat from the sun gets trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere causing the planet to get hotter. In this article we will learn about the greenhouse effect, its causes and possible solutions.
The greenhouse effect gets its name from the building which gardeners use to grow plants that like a warmer climate. A greenhouse is made of glass, which allows sunlight to enter inside, where the heat from the sun is then trapped. The greenhouse effect on Earth works in a similar way.
Light from the Sun enters our atmosphere and heats the Earth. As this heat radiates up from the surface of the planet, some of that heat gets trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases that don’t allow the heat to escape. This causes global warming.
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These gases are emitted into the atmosphere in many different ways. A massive amount of carbon dioxide is emitted by burning fossil fuels for energy production, transportation and industry. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas that is released during the production of natural gas, from landfills and agricultural animals. Nitrous oxide is another powerful greenhouse gas which is released from chemical fertilisers that are used in agriculture.
Global warming has many negative effects on the planet. Rising temperatures are causing the ice caps to melt. Water that has been locked in glaciers for thousands of years is now flowing into our oceans causing sea levels to rise. This leads to flooding in lowland areas around the world and loss of habitat for many animals. The effects of global warming create a negative feedback loop that causes temperatures to rise even faster. As the ice caps shrink, the area of the globe that is covered by heat-reflecting ice gets smaller, increasing the areas of ocean that absorb heat from the sun, which will melt the ice caps even faster.
Climate change is also making extreme weather events more common. The number and severity of hurricanes, floods and droughts is increasing which leads to loss of human lives and huge economic costs.
So what can we do as responsible citizens of the planet to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that we pump into the atmosphere and stop global warming? An easy thing that we can all do is save electricity in the home. Turn off lights when you leave a room and switch off appliances when they’re not being used. You can also use energy-saving lightbulbs. You can even fit solar panels to the roof of your home so the electricity you use will be cheaper and greener.
Another great way to help protect the environment is to remember the three Rs: reduce, reuse and recycle. You can reduce the amount of waste that you throw away by not buying products that are over-packaged next time you are at the supermarket, and take a reusable shopping bag. Make sure that you recycle as much of your household waste as you can.
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To reduce greenhouse gases from transportation, we should use public transport more often. Leave the car at home and take the bus to work. For short journeys, walk or ride a bicycle. And the next time you buy a car, choose a more efficient model or even an electric car.
Finally, plant a tree. Trees absorb CO2 from the air, so our environment will be cleaner and healthier if we plant more trees.
I hope this article has helped you to better understand the greenhouse effect and some of the things we can do to reverse global warming. If you have any other ideas on how we can help protect the environment, please share them in the comments section.