The Greenhouse Effect

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1 The Greenhouse Effect

2 Focus Questions Why is so dangerous to leave children or pets in a car especially during the warmer months in Arizona? How hot can temperatures reach in a closed car during the summer? What causes this temperature increase? Why don t you walk barefoot on the street during a summer day in Arizona? Why are snakes often found on the road at night during the spring and fall in Arizona?

3 Objectives Explain the greenhouse effect. Identify greenhouse gases. Relate the greenhouse effect to global climate change.

4 What is this? What is it used for?

5 What is a Greenhouse? A greenhouse is a building made of transparent materials such as glass or plastic designed to trap heat inside to allow plants to grow.

6 How does a greenhouse work? Solar radiation (short wavelength visible light) passes through the glass or plastic where it heats the ground, plants, soil, and other things in the building. The heated objects then emit infrared (heat) radiation. This longer wavelength radiation is partially reflected by the plastic or glass trapping some of the heat.

7 How does a greenhouse work? As a result, the air inside the greenhouse is warmer than the outside air surrounding it.

8 The Greenhouse Effect

9 How can radiation/energy enter a greenhouse but not escape? The incoming radiation waves are short wavelengths of visible light from the sun capable of passing through glass or plastic. The infrared radiation re-radiated from the heated objects are a longer wavelength and not capable of passing through the glass or plastic.

10 How is Earth like a greenhouse? The Earth s atmosphere acts as a giant greenhouse that keeps our planet warm. Solar radiation (visible light) from the sun heats up the surface of the Earth. The surface of the Earth then radiates this heat upward as invisible infrared rays.

11 How is Earth like a greenhouse? Some of this radiated infrared radiation (heat) escapes Earth s atmosphere, but much of it is absorbed by greenhouse gases and reemitted in all directions. The effect of this is to warm the Earth s surface and lower atmosphere. This is a natural phenomenon!

12 The Greenhouse Effect

13 The Greenhouse Effect

14 What are greenhouse gases? Greenhouse gases are the gases in the atmosphere that absorb and reemit escaping infrared radiation from Earth s surface. Greenhouse gases include CO 2, methane, nitrous-oxide, and water vapor.

15 Why is the greenhouse effect important? If it were not for the greenhouse effect, Earth s climate would be so cold that the average surface temperature would be about -18 o C or 2 o F (similar to Mars) and all water would be frozen making life on Earth impossible.

16 How have the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere changed since 1750?

17 Greenhouse Gas Conc. in 1750 Conc. in 2003 Percent Change Natural & Man Made Sources CO ppm 376 ppm 34% Methane 0.71 ppm 1.79 ppm 152% Nitrous Oxide 270 ppb 319 ppb 18% CFCs ppt N/A Organic decay, forest fires, volcanoes, burning fossil fuels, deforestation. Wetlands, organic decay, termites, natural gas and oil extraction, biomass burning, rice growing, cattle, refuse land fills Forests; Grasslands; Oceans; Soils; Soil cultivation; Fertilizers; Biomass burning; Burning of fossil fuels Refrigerators; Aerosol spray propellants; Cleaning solvents Ozone Unknown Varies with latitude and altitude in atmosphere Global levels have generally decreased in the stratosphere and increased near the Earth's surface Created naturally by the action of sunlight on molecular oxygen and artificially through photochemical smog production.

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19 What is Global Warming? Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of the Earth s surface, lower atmosphere and oceans and it s predicted continuation in the future.

20 What evidence suggests the Earth s climate is warming? During the last 100 years, Earth s average surface temperature has increased by about 0.8 o C or 1.4 o F with about 2/3 of the increase coming in just the last 30 years. As of 2007, the 1980s and the 1990s were the two hottest decades in the last 400 years was the hottest decade on record since As of 2007 Of the twelve hottest years since 1850, 11 occurred between 1996 and 2007.

21 What is thought to cause global warming? Human activities, including the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation, are causing the concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to increase causing the atmosphere to trap more heat resulting in a warmer climate on Earth.

22 Is it really us? Some experts point out that volcanic activity and natural cycles in Earth's orbit can alter the planet's exposure to sunlight affecting climate, which may explain the current trend. Earth has experienced warming and cooling cycles roughly every hundred thousand years due to these orbital shifts, but these changes have occurred over the span of several centuries. Today's changes have taken place over the past hundred years or less.

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30 How will Earth s temperatures change in the future? Climate models indicate that during the 21 st century, Earth s surface temperature will rise another o C ( o F) for the lowest emission scenario to and o C ( o F) for the highest.

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