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This is how the Greenhouse Effect works:


The energy from the sun drives the earth’s weather and climate, heating earth’s surface. In turn, the earth radiates energy back into space. Some atmospheric gases, (water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases) trap some of the outgoing energy, retaining heat somewhat like the glass panels of a greenhouse. These gases are therefore known as greenhouse gases. The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature on Earth as certain gases in the atmosphere trap energy.


The main greenhouse gases are: carbon dioxide (CO2),
methane (CH4) (which is 20 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide) and nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and  sulphur hexafluoride (SF6). Water vapor is also considered a greenhouse gas.

What Causes Climate Change? The Greenhouse Gas Effect

Climate Change Basics

The difference between climate change and global warming

Climate Change

“Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.”


Global Warming 

“Global warming refers to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth's surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change. However, global warming itself represents only one aspect of climate change.”



Climate change is a significant and lasting change in weather patterns over periods ranging from decades to millions of years. Climate change is caused by both natural (e.g. volcanic eruptions or changes in solar activity) and human activities (e.g. burning fossil fuels or cutting down lots of forests). The Earth’s climate is changing. Adapting to climate change means understanding what sorts of changes are happening already and may happen in the future. Changes happen both in the climate system itself and in the human and natural systems.