how greenhouse gases contribute to global warming

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  • What gases are in the atmosphere that act as a greenhouse?

  • Certain gases in the atmosphere resemble glass in a greenhouse, allowing sunlight to pass into the ‘greenhouse,’ but blocking Earth’s heat from escaping into space. The gases that contribute to the greenhouse effect include water vapor, carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, nitrous oxides, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

  • How do humans affect the Earth’s climate?

  • They allow the sun to reach and warm the Earth鈥檚 surface then block the warmth from escaping back into space. Human activities, including those mentioned above, have continued to increase and have upset the balance of the natural system for several greenhouse gases: methane, nitrous oxide, fluorinated gases and especially carbon dioxide.

  • What are GHGs and how do they affect the climate?

  • While most GHGs are naturally occurring, human activities have also been leading to a problematic increase in the amount of GHG emitted and their concentration in the atmosphere. This increased concentration, in turn, can lead to adverse effects on climate.

  • How has the burning of fossil fuels affected the environment?

  • Over the last century the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil has increased the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). This happens because the coal or oil burning process combines carbon with oxygen in the air to make CO2.

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