• The term “Greenhouse effect” has been derived from a phenomenon that occurs in greenhouse.
  • In a greenhouse the glass panel lets the light in, but does not allow heat to escape. Therefore the greenhouse warms up, very much like inside a car that has been parked in the sun for a few hours.
  • The greenhouse effect is a naturally occurring phenomenon that is responsible for heating of Earth’s surface and atmosphere.
  • Without greenhouse effect the average temperature at surface of earth would have been a chilly -18o C rather than the present average of 15o C.
  • Clouds and gases reflect about one-fourth of the incoming solar radiation and absorb some of it but half of incoming solar radiation falls on Earth’s surface heating it, while a small portion is reflected back.
  • Earth’s surface re-emits heat in the form of infrared radiation but some part of this does not escape into space because of atmospheric gases (e.g. carbon dioxide, methane etc).
  • The molecule of these gases radiate heat energy and a major part of which again comes to Earth’s surface, thus heating it up once again.
  • Carbon dioxide and methane – are commonly called as greenhouse gases because they are responsible for greenhouse effect.
  • Increase in the level of greenhouse gases has led to considerable heating of Earth leading to global warming or enhanced green house effect.
  • During the past century, the temperature of Earth has increased by 0.6o C.

Effect of global warming:

  • Deleterious changes in the environment and resulting in odd climatic changes (e.g. El Nino effect).
  • Increased melting of polar ice caps as well as of other places like the Himalayan snow caps.
  • Rise in sea level that can submerge many coastal areas.

Control of global warming:

  • Reduce use of fossil fuel.
  • Improving efficiency of energy usage.
  • Reducing deforestation.
  • Promoting afforestation programme.
  • Slowing down growth of human population.
  • International initiative to be taken to reduce emission of green house gases.

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