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Greenhouse Effect (Part 1)

Effetto Serra (Parte 1) - Erynoole

Part 1

What is the greenhouse effect? ​​

The greenhouse effect is a phenomenon that occurs between a planet with an atmosphere (in our case the Earth) and between a star in its vicinity (in our case the Sun). The process by which this phenomenon occurs is quite simple, the Sun emits radiation, some of which penetrate the earth's atmosphere and reach its surface, which is the area in which we all live. From the earth's surface these radiations are reflected towards the Sun, and this is where the atmosphere of our planet comes into play, which through the gases from which it is composed, creates a sort of barrier for these radiations which, in part, return to the surface terrestrial. These radiations, called infrared rays, are invisible to the human eye, but all of us, every day, perceive them in the form of heat.

This phenomenon is therefore of vital importance for life on our planet, as it makes it possible to retain the heat that is provided to us by the Sun, just think that without this interaction the average temperature on the surface of the Earth would be -18 ° C (-0.4 ° F).

But if it's so important to our lives, why do we always hear about the fight against the greenhouse effect? ​​

It all depends on the concentration in the atmosphere of the gases we talked about earlier, the so-called greenhouse gases.

Let's now list these gases and find out why their concentration in the atmosphere is the key to understanding the greenhouse effect:

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Water vapor (H2O)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
  • Ozone (O3)
  • Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

As previously mentioned, these gases present in the earth's atmosphere create a sort of barrier for infrared radiation, as the concentration of these gases increases the resistance of the barrier also increases, this means that the radiations are rejected towards the surface terrestrial more and more, causing a rise in the terrestrial temperature, this is precisely the real problem of the greenhouse effect.

To better understand this concept, let's imagine that the barrier formed by greenhouse gases is a net, and the radiations are balls, throwing the latter against the net, some will pass through them, while others will be rejected, but if we thicken the mesh of the net fewer and fewer balls will pass through it, the great majority will be rejected by the net, this is exactly what happens to the radiations that try to penetrate the gaseous barrier present in the atmosphere.


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