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9.3.1.5. Increased greenhouse effect

Increased greenhouse effect

Life is possible on our planet, among other things, because the average temperature is 15ºC. Due to the distance from the Earth to the Sun, the average temperature of the Earth should be 33 ºC lower, but thanks to the presence in the atmosphere of some gases such as CO2 and methane (CH4), a greenhouse effect is created  which increases the temperature.
The greenhouse gases because of its high density, occupy the lower part of the atmosphere.
Energy from the Sun passes through the atmosphere and heats the Earth. As the Earth warms up, it emits infrared radiation, part of which is absorbed by greenhouse gases, retaining it and radiating it back to the Earth's surface, increasing the average temperature of the Earth.
The natural greenhouse effect is good and necessary for life, but with the increase in pollution and the emission of gases, such as CO2, from the combustion of coal, oil derivatives and natural gas, or methane (CH4) from intensive livestock farming, are causing an increase in the greenhouse effect .
The main causes of the increase in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are:
  • Obtaining energy from the burning of fossil fuels produces an increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • Deforestation means that less CO2 is captured by photosynthesis and that CO2 remains in the atmosphere.
  • Intensive livestock farming and rice fields cause an increase in methane (CH4) in the atmosphere.
  • CFCs and other compounds released by industry into the atmosphere.
The increase in the greenhouse effect is causing a greater retention of infrared radiation, producing global warming responsible for climate change, with alterations in rainfall and the circulation of winds, for example. Its consequences range from great droughts to very important floods.

Answer in your notebook

9.3.- What is the greenhouse effect? And the increase in the greenhouse effect?