how do gases like co2 contribute to earth’s warming temperatures

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  • What is the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature?

  • The trapped heat energy leads to increased average global surface air temperatures. One reason carbon dioxide has such a big impact on global temperatures is that hotter air can hold more water vapour.

  • How do greenhouse gases affect Earth’s temperature?

  • In the case of greenhouse gases, the planet鈥檚 temperature is a balance between how much energy comes in versus how much energy goes out. Ultimately, any increase in the amount of heat-trapping means that the Earth鈥檚 surface gets hotter. (For a more advanced discussion of the thermodynamics involved, check out this NASA page .)

  • What is the effect of CO2 on the environment?

  • This means that it causes an effect like the glass in a greenhouse, trapping heat and warming up the inside. This effect is important: without the CO 2 that naturally exists in the atmosphere, Earth might be too cold to support human life.

  • What would happen if there was no CO2 on Earth?

  • Without them, the planet鈥檚 average temperature would be below freezing. So we know that even very low, natural levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases can make a huge difference in Earth鈥檚 climate. Today, CO2 levels are higher than they have been in at least 3 million years.

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