Global warming and the greenhouse effect

Greenhouse gases trap heat on Earth

By Agnieszka Biskup, 12:38 PM April 11, 2013

Earth’s atmosphere works something like a giant glass greenhouse. As the sun’s rays enter our atmosphere, most continue on down to the planet’s surface. When they hit the soil or surface waters, those rays release much of their energy as heat. Some of this heat then radiates back into space.


However, several gases in Earth’s atmosphere — such as carbon dioxide, methane and water vapor —work like a blanket to retain much of this heat. That helps to warm our atmosphere. The gases do this by abs...

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