Friday, 25 February 2011

Greenhouse Effect Diagram

The Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect definition would read as 'the process by which the greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere trap heat of the sun and prevents the Earth from freezing in the absence of sunlight'.

Greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon which prevents stark temperature fluctuations on the Earth during day and night. There aregreenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, water vapor and methane in the Earth's atmosphere that prevent the energy of the sun from being radiated out into the space by the Earth's surface. Without these gases, the temperature of the Earth would plummet to -18° Celsius, rather than the normal 15° Celsius. Let us understand the phenomenon with the help of natural greenhouse effect diagrams. More information ongreenhouse gases list.

Greenhouse Effect Diagram 1

Greenhouse Effect Diagram 1

Explanation of the Greenhouse Effect Diagram 1

As the sunray travels through the atmosphere and reaches the Earth, the following events take place:
  • A total of 26% of the sun's energy is reflected by the atmosphere and the clouds back into the space. Around 6% is scattered by the atmosphere and the remaining 20% is reflected by the clouds.
  • About 19% of the energy is absorbed by the atmosphere (gases like the ozone and other particles present in the atmosphere) and the clouds.
  • The remaining 55% reaches the Earth.
  • Of this 55%, 4% is reflected back into the space by the Earth's surface and the remaining 50% is absorbed by it.
Greenhouse Effect Diagram 2
Greenhouse Effect Diagram 2

Explanation of the Greenhouse Effect Diagram 2
  • The energy trapped by the Earth's surface heats up the planet. It causes melting of ice and snow on the Earth and evaporation of water from the various water bodies.
  • The heat absorbed by the Earth's surface is released in the form of infrared radiations that is directed to the space.
  • However, only a little amount of this heat is able to escape into the space as most of it is absorbed by the greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere. These gases radiate heat in the infrared range both out to the space and back to the Earth. Majority of the radiation is directed back towards the Earth. This heats up the Earth and the Earth again radiates this energy in the form of infrared radiations. This cycle keeps repeating until there are no more infrared radiations are available for absorption.
Read more on facts about the greenhouse effect.

Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming

Although this article deals with the simple greenhouse effect diagram, any article on the subject would be incomplete without a discussion about global warming and the greenhouse effect. Greenhouse effect is necessary for survival of life on Earth. Agreed. But what has all of us worrying these days is the excess build up of the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This is due to industries and vehicles giving out these gases at an alarmingly high rate. The result is that more amount of heat is being trapped and sent back to the Earth by the greenhouse gases. Due to this, the temperature of the Earth is rising which is termed as global warmingGlobal warming effects on Earth includes melting glaciers or melting of the polar ice, rising levels of water in seas and oceans and climate change. All this adversely affect plant and animal life on the Earth.

Read more on:Although a natural and a necessary phenomenon, rapid industrialization is adding to the greenhouse gases at an alarmingly high rate and that is the reason that it has become a concern and a topic of debate in every environmental meet.

Through the simple greenhouse effect diagrams and the greenhouse effect facts, I have tried to explain the phenomenon and discussed its significance in the present times. Hope it helps. However, more than just understanding the phenomenon we need to take firm steps to save this planet.