What is the Greenhouse Effect?
Sun is the major source of heat on our Earth. When the Sun’s radiations fall on the Earth, the Earth absorbs these radiations. After absorbing these radiations, the Earth reflects some heat into the atmosphere. As we know that there are lots of gasses in our atmosphere. Some gasses like Methane, Oxides of Nitrogen, and Carbon Dioxide trap the reflected heat of the Earth. As a result, the temperature of the Earth becomes warmer. This phenomenon is the greenhouse effect.
What are Greenhouse Gases?
The gasses which become the cause of the greenhouse effect are the greenhouse gasses. These greenhouse gases are produced either by natural resources or anthropogenic sources. These greenhouse gases have a lot of influence on the energy balance of the Earth. There are three major greenhouse gasses. First is Carbon Dioxide. The Second is Methane. At last, there come Oxides of Nitrogen. No doubt, these gasses have a very low concentration in the atmosphere. But nowadays, their concentration in the atmosphere is increasing due to some human activities.
How the Term ‘Greenhouse’ is originated?
Scientists have discovered the greenhouse effect interestingly. The scientists decided to calculate the temperature of the Earth based on the incoming radiations of the Sun and reflected radiations of the Earth. After making these calculations, they were amazed to know that the Earth should be much colder. After that, they decided to discover this phenomenon. They were able to get the idea that it is due to the holding and trapping of some energy in the Earth’s atmosphere by greenhouse gasses. In 1896, scientists further discovered that if the amount of greenhouse gasses will increase in the Earth’s atmosphere, the temperature of the Earth will also increase.
Advantages of the Greenhouse Effect
You will be amazed to know that the greenhouse effect is one of the most important phenomena that are helpful for the sustaining of life on our Earth. It has lots of advantages. Here, we will discuss some important advantages of this phenomenon.
♦ The greenhouse effect is helpful for us to maintain a certain level of temperature on our Earth’s surface. After maintaining a certain level of temperature on our Earth, this planet has become habitable for living things like human beings, plants, animals, etc.
♦ The sun’s light reaches our Earth in the form of radiation. The Sun’s light has some harmful radiation. If these harmful radiations reach our Earth’s surface, these radiations can become the cause of lots of destruction. The greenhouse gasses work like a filter and they work as a block against the harmful radiations of the Sun. As a result, harmful radiations of the Sun don’t reach our Earth’s atmosphere.
♦ Ozone is also one of the most crucial greenhouse gases. This gas is present in the form of the layer above our Earth’s atmosphere. The main benefit of this Ozone layer is that it prevents the UV rays of the sun from reaching our Earth’s atmosphere. In the absence of the Ozone layer, these UV rays of the sun will reach the Earth’s surface and these rays will affect our Earth’s life at a massive scale.
♦ The greenhouse effect is also helpful for our planet to maintain the water level. Due to the moderate temperature on our Earth, the ice is not melted completely.
Nowadays, we are observing some critical changes in the atmosphere of our Earth. These changes are occurring due to the greenhouse effect. That’s why; there are some disadvantages to the greenhouse effect. Here, we will discuss some disadvantages of this phenomenon.
♦ Global warming is the major bad effect of the greenhouse effect on our Earth’s surface. Its reason is that due to some anthropogenic (man-made) sources, the concentration of greenhouse gasses is increasing in Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, these greenhouse gasses are trapping more and more heat and our Earth’s temperature is increasing day by day. Due to this increase in the Earth’s atmosphere, the ice in the Polar Regions is also melting. This can become the cause of lots of destruction.
♦ As we have discussed earlier that the concentration of greenhouse gasses is increasing in the Earth’s atmosphere. The increased concentration level of CO2 has two effects on our Earth’s atmosphere. First of all, this gas is affecting marine life. Secondly, this gas is also disrupting the photosynthesis process in plants.
♦ Due to the greenhouse effect, the water level is also rising. This is also becoming a danger for millions of lives.
What is the Solution to the Greenhouse Effect?
CO2 is the major source of the greenhouse effect and global warming. We are raising the level of CO2 in our atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. The only solution to the greenhouse effect is that we should reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses. Here, we will discuss some strategies to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
♦ We should follow the 3R strategy. 3R strategy means that we should reduce, reuse and recycle things.
♦ We should drive less and drive smartly. This is the best technique to reduce the emission of gasoline.
♦ We should buy energy-efficient appliances. These energy-efficient appliances will save the consumption of energy.
♦ We should use less hot water for bathing and washing clothes. This is the best technique to save the addition of hundreds of pounds of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere.
♦ We should plant lots of trees. These trees absorb the CO2 and they give off Oxygen in the atmosphere. It is expected that if you plant a tree, it will absorb almost 1 ton of CO2 during its life.
♦ We should also try to encourage others to follow energy conservation rules. This is possible only if we are following the energy conservation rules.
Existence of Life without the Greenhouse Effect
If we are studying the greenhouse effect, a question comes to our mind ‘Is there will be life on the earth without the greenhouse effect? The main benefit of the greenhouse effect is that it is moderating our Earth’s temperature. If there are no greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the heat will not be trapped in our Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, the temperature of our Earth’s surface will be fallen to -18 C. It means that without the greenhouse effect, life on our Earth will freeze. You may also like to read about the difference between acids and bases.
How are Human Beings Impacting the Greenhouse Effect?
Some activities of human beings are changing the natural greenhouse effect of the earth. For example, we are burning a huge amount of coal and oil. When we burn a huge amount of coal and oil, we put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. NASA has also observed that the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is increasing in the atmosphere. These greenhouse gases are trapping more and more heat into the Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, the earth’s temperature is increasing.
How to Balance the Greenhouse Effect?
To balance the greenhouse effect on the earth, we have to grow more and more plants. These plants absorb the carbon dioxide and they give off oxygen. As a result, the amount of carbon dioxide will decrease in the atmosphere. The excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not only damaging the natural greenhouse effect. It is also becoming the cause of ocean acidification. If there is an excess of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the ocean absorbs it. The huge amount of carbon dioxide in the ocean’s water is making it acidic.