Q:

What is the difference between global warming and the greenhouse effect?

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Quick Answer

Global warming is the increase in Earth's near-surface air and ocean temperatures. The greenhouse effect is when water and carbon dioxide absorb outgoing infrared radiation, increasing the planet's temperature.

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What is the difference between global warming and the greenhouse effect?
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Full Answer

Greenhouse gases contribute to global warming. What is determined to be a greenhouse gas is any heat-trapping gas present in the Earth's atmosphere. The two most common greenhouse gases are water vapor and carbon. These gases help absorb infrared radiation and regulate the Earth's climate.

However, the increase in industrial production has increased the amount of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere. The increase in carbon dioxide emissions has made it difficult for heat to escape the atmosphere. Heat enters the atmosphere through short wave radiation, heats the surface and exits as long wave radiation. However, the increase in greenhouse gases has increased the amount of long wave radiation. Long wave radiation is difficult to pass through the atmosphere, which in turn contributes to the warming effect.

In the early 1900s, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was less than 300 parts per million. This was before the industrial revolution. However, as of 2005, the amount of carbon dioxide present in the atmosphere measured 375 parts per million. While still on the low side, humans are contributing to the increase in carbon dioxide emissions through the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What causes global warning?

    A:

    Global warming is caused by an abundance of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere. The higher levels of carbon dioxide act the same as a blanket, keeping heat in and essentially warming up the temperature of the Earth. Carbon dioxide survives in the atmosphere for a long period of time.

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  • Q:

    Who is responsible for global warming?

    A:

    According to the Environmental Defense Fund, humans are 95 percent responsible for global warming. The effects of global warming are caused primarily from the burning of fossil fuels and the deforestation of the world’s rainforests.

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  • Q:

    What is being done to stop global warming?

    A:

    Several efforts have been made stop global warming, including campaigns to raise awareness about environmental issues, advancements in resource saving technology, scientific research and legislation. According to the Washington Post, a survey by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found many Americans favor changes made to stop global warming.

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  • Q:

    Why does global warming occur?

    A:

    Global worming is caused by the retention of the energy of the Sun in the atmosphere. The Earth is warmed by light from the Sun. This light passes through the atmosphere and strikes the surface. Some of the energy is reflected back into space, while some is absorbed by the ground, water and air. The energy that isn't radiated back into space warms the Earth.

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