Q.1103: What are Green House Gases?

Ans. Many chemical compounds found in the Earth’s atmosphere act as “greenhouse gases.” These gases allow sunlight to enter the atmosphere freely. When sunlight strikes the Earth’s surface, some of it is reflected back towards space as infrared radiation (heat). Greenhouse gases absorb this infrared radiation and trap the heat in the atmosphere. Over time, the amount of energy sent from the sun to the Earth’s surface should be about the same as the amount of energy radiated back into space, leaving the temperature of the Earth’s surface roughly constant.

Many gases exhibit these “greenhouse” properties. Some of them occur in nature (water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide), while others are exclusively human-made (like gases used for aerosols).

 Source: Energy Information Administration.

Carbon dioxide is the most prevalent greenhouse gas attributed to human activities. The major source of CO2 emissions is fossil fuel combustion. CO2 emissions are also a product of forest clearing, biomass burning, and non–energy production processes such as lime production from lime stone.

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