This article will help you to make comparison between green house gases and global warming.
The term ‘green-house gases’ refers to various gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, which are typically characterized by their ability to absorb infrared radiations coming from the sun. The entire process wherein as the Sun’s infrared radiation is trapped within the atmosphere by these green-house gases is referred to as the ‘green-house effect’.
Green-house gases list includes gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, etc., some of which stay in the atmosphere for several years and contribute to the green-house effect on the planet.
The atmospheric concentration of these gases is one of the main causes of the green-house effect. Global warming, on the other hand, refers to an incessant rise in global average temperature triggered by various natural and anthropogenic causes – green-house gases being one of them.
Even though we say that the atmospheric concentration of green-house gases has a key role to play when it comes to global warming, these gases are the only causes of this hazardous phenomenon. Other than the atmospheric concentration of these gases, global warming causes also include numerous other natural occurrences and anthropogenic activities.
For instance, solar radiations (a natural cause) and deforestation (an anthropogenic cause) are not at all related to green-house gases, but they do play a crucial role in causing the global temperature to rise. On the contrary, if it were not for these green-house gases, the Earth would have been freezing cold and devoid of any of the present life forms which inhabit it.
The fact that these gases play a crucial role in maintaining the necessary balance in global temperature makes their presence on the planet very important.
If green-house gases are so important, whey are they blamed for global warming? Actually, the problem arises when the amount of these gases in the Earth’s atmosphere exceeds the amount required to maintain temperature balance.
This increase in green-house gases in atmospheric concentration results in trapping of more infrared radiations within the Earths’ atmosphere, and contributes to rise in global average temperature.
When it comes to natural causes of global warming that are closely related to green-house effect – methane gas release is perhaps the most prominent one. Similarly, anthropogenic causes of global warming which are associated with green-house effect include — use of vehicles, stationary sources such as industries, activities such as mining and agriculture, etc.
While naturally occurring green-house gases have been playing the important role of regulating the temperature on Earth since several centuries, those gases that are released as a result of human activities have changed the overall picture.
These green-house gases include carbon dioxide (with a lifetime of 200 years), nitrous oxide (120 years), various CFCs (with their lifetime ranging between 5 – 1000 years) and gases such as Perfluoropentane and Perfluorohexane (with lifetime exceeding 1000 years).
These numbers can be deceiving though, and the relationship between methane and global warming which reveals that the damage caused by methane in its lifetime of 12 years far exceeds the same caused by carbon dioxide in its lifetime of 200 years, highlights this fact very well.