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Greenhouse Gasses

Published: September 13, 2021 | Last updated: July 5, 2023

What Does Greenhouse Gasses Mean?

Greenhouse gasses are gasses in the atmosphere that absorb radiation. The primary greenhouse gasses are:

  • Water vapor (H2O)
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous oxide (N2O)
  • Ozone (O3)

These gasses allow short-wave infrared radiation, such as heat from the sun, to enter the earth’s atmosphere and heat it. The earth’s surface reflects the heat as long-wave infrared radiation. This long-wave infrared radiation is absorbed by the greenhouse gasses instead of transmitting it in a process known as the greenhouse effect.

Trenchlesspedia Explains Greenhouse Gasses

Greenhouse gasses are an important part of the atmosphere that help maintain a stable temperature for life to exist.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is nontoxic, colorless and odorless. It makes up only a small portion of the atmosphere (0.04%) and constitutes 3.6% of the greenhouse effect. It is produced from the burning of fuel, solid waste, biological material and trees. It is removed from the atmosphere by plant absorption.

Water vapor (H2O) contributes about 85% to 90% to the greenhouse effect because it emits and also absorbs infrared radiation at many more wavelengths than the other gasses. The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is also higher than any other greenhouse gas.

Methane (CH4) emissions come from animals, agricultural activities, decay of organic waste and the production of coal, oil and gas.

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is emitted during agricultural, industrial and waste-treatment activities.

Fluorinated gasses such as hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride are synthetic greenhouse gasses emitted from different industrial processes.

Synonyms

Greenhouse Gases

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