Greenhouse gases (GHG) are gases in the atmosphere that can absorb and hold heat, which results in the greenhouse effect.
This effect has been largely debated and it refers to the fact that human activity has impacted climate stability in such a way that greater temperature extremes have been lately recorded, wind patterns have been altered and the oceans have gotten warmer.
Different greenhouse gas types have different abilities of absorbing and holding heat in the atmosphere, but what essentially happens is that part of the sunlight falling on the surface of the Earth is reradiated into the atmosphere, and these gases reradiate part of it back towards the Earth, where it is turned into heat energy again. Thus, greenhouse gases influence the amount of heat energy that is released at the surface of the Earth.
Here are some of the gases that are related to the greenhouse effect:
- Water vapor
Produced as an effect of water evaporation or ice sublimation, water vapor is a greenhouse gas, however its formation is not influenced by human activity as much as the formation of other such gases is.
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
The presence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is normal and necessary – however, only up to a certain concentration. According to recent estimates, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere has become higher due to activities such as burning wood, solid waste and fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas).
- Methane (CH4)
Methane has a capacity of trapping heat that is 20 times larger than that of carbon dioxide. According to studies, the amount of methane in the atmosphere was of 700 parts per billion in 1750 and has gone up, reaching 1745 parts per billion in the year 1998.
- Nitrous Oxide (NOX, N2O)
Emissions occur as a result of agricultural and industrial activities and due to burning of solid waste and fossil fuels.
There are other greenhouse gases that can be listed, but these make the top of the list of gases that impact global temperatures and thus natural balance, an issue that needs to be addressed for the sake of the present and the future Earth.