Greenhouse Gases

What Are Greenhouse Gases?

Earth’s greenhouse gases catch heat in the atmosphere and increase the temperature of the planet. The primary gases liable for the greenhouse effect comprises of carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapor (which all occur naturally), and fluorinated gases (which are artificial). Greenhouse gases have diverse chemical properties and are eliminated from the atmosphere, over time, by different processes. Carbon dioxide, for example, is absorbed by so-called carbon sinks such as plants, soil, and the ocean. Fluorinated gases are demolished only by sunlight in the far upper atmosphere.

How much any one greenhouse gas effects global warming varies on three key factors. The first is how much of it exists in the atmosphere. Concentrations are measured in parts per million (ppm), parts per billion (ppb), or parts per trillion (ppt); 1 ppm for a given gas means, for example suppose, that there is one molecule of that gas in every 1 million molecules of air. The second is its lifetime—how long it remains in the atmosphere. The third is how effectual it is at catching heat. This is known as its global warming potential, or GWP, and is a measure of the total energy that a gas understands over a given period of time (usually 100 years) comparative to the emissions of 1 ton of carbon dioxide.

What Are Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Meanwhile the beginning of the Industrial Revolution and the arrival of coal-powered steam engines, human activities have massively enlarged the volume of greenhouse gases produced into the atmosphere. It is predictable that between 1750 and 2011, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide boosted by 40 percent, methane by 150 percent, and nitrous oxide by 20 percent.

Five Major Greenhouse Gases

The most major gases that are responsible for global warming via the greenhouse effect are the following:

Carbon Dioxide
Reporting for about 76 percent of global human-caused emissions, carbon dioxide (CO2) sticks around for quite a while. Once it’s released into the atmosphere, 40 percent still rests after 100 years, 20 percent after 1,000 years, and 10 percent as long as 10,000 years later.

While methane (CH4) endures in the atmosphere for far less time than carbon dioxide (about a decade), it is much more effective in terms of the greenhouse effect. In fact, pound for pound, its global warming influence is 25 times greater than that of carbon dioxide over a 100-year period. 

Nitrous Oxide
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is an influential greenhouse gas: It has a GWP 300 times that of carbon dioxide on a 100-year time scale, and it residues in the atmosphere, on average, a little more than a century. It reports for about 6 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

Fluorinated Gases
Ejected from a variety of manufacturing and industrial processes, fluorinated gases are man-made. There are four main types: hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6), and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3).

Water Vapor
The amplest greenhouse gas overall, water vapor varies from other greenhouse gases in that changes in its atmospheric concentrations are joined not to human activities directly, but rather to the warming that results from the other greenhouse gases we emit.