The green house effect is a process in which heat is trapped at the surface of the earth's atmosphere.  When the solar radiation comes in from the sun, the earth's surface absorbs some of it, but he heat (infrared radiation) that is not absorbed is bounced back up into the atmosphere and is trapped.  It is prevented from leaving the atmosphere by gases known as greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, water vapor, and ozone.  These gases act like the glass in a greenhouse, which is where the greenhouse effect gets its name.

This graph shows the increase of carbon dioxide in the air from 1750 to present-day.

The greenhouse effect is expected to cause a long term warming to the earth, known as GLOBAL WARMING.


    I recently attended a meeting at Mauna Loa where we discussed the greenhouse effect and global warming.  I interviewed a couple of scientists who had a very different opinions on the matter.  Dr. Elizabeth Gellar, who specializes in the subject, stated, "It's obvious that the increased levels of gases are causing global warming."  CBS Weatherwoman, Dr. Alyssa Osbourne, disagreed, "I think that global warming is a natural happening.  It is just a period in time.  There is nothing we can do to prevent it, but it's definitely not caused by gases."

This graph shows the average yearly temperatures from 1860-2000



I personally agree with Dr. Gellar. I too believe that gases are causing global warming.  I believe that the Earth is slowly but surely getting warmer.

One of the many greenhouse gases, Carbon dioxide is emitted from humans.  Livestock contribute to another common greenhouse gas, methane.  Nitrous oxide, also a common greenhouse gas, is released naturally from oceans and bacteria in soils.

Scientists are working to get something done about the greenhouse gases and global warming.  They have many different methods of researching.  For example, they measure the amount of gases in the air, keep an eye on the polar ice caps, and keep records of temperature and rainfall.



These pages authored by Whitney Schaper.
Revised: January 10, 2001 . Copyright 1998. All rights reserved.