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The Greenhouse Effect- What Does It All Really Mean?


I think we’re all familiar with what a greenhouse is and how it works right? The glass traps the heat during the day, keeping the greenhouse and whatever is inside nice and warm.

But many of us are unfamiliar with what this actually means when it comes to our planet.

greenhouseBasically Earth’s atmosphere does the same thing as the greenhouse does. During the day, the sun shines through the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface warms up.

At night, the Earth’s surface cools as it releases some of the the heat back into space. However, some of this heat stays trapped in the atmosphere.

A layer of greenhouse gases – primarily water vapor including smaller amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – act as a thermal blanket for the Earth, absorbing heat and warming the surface keeping our Earth at a warm and cozy 59 degrees Fahrenheit (15 Celsius)- on average.

greenhouse2What’s happening now is that there is too much carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the air. It’s making the greenhouse effect stronger- too strong. Earth is getting warmer and warmer and now we are faced with global climate change.

So what does this all mean? Well, there’s a lot of debate going on around the topic. We don’t really know for certain but we can look around at what’s happening and take an educated guess.

Right now our planet is experiencing more powerful and more frequent super storms: tsunamis, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, volcano eruptions, droughts… you name it.

Hot climates are both either getting hotter or freezing over, while cold climates are dropping to even cooler temperatures or doing a complete 180 and heating up.

Our polar ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising, animal habitats are quickly mutating and the wildlife can’t keep up- it feels like our planet is going through menopause!

Could we be to blame?

After all humans have increased atmospheric CO2 concentration by a third since the Industrial Revolution began.

Synthetic compounds are being pumped out by the gallons every second from fossil fuel consumption, commercial fertilizers, decomposition of wastes in landfills, industrialized agriculture and livestock practices, biomass burning…

And the speed at which we are cutting down our forests isn’t helping either…

This is where the whole ‘eco-friendly’ stuff comes in handy. All the little things you do to reduce your carbon footprint helps in minimizing the direct and indirect greenhouse effects.

From recycling and re-using, to taking a bike to work, it all really does add up.

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