The Greenhouse Gases, An Overview


image001The Earth is wrapped in a blanket of air called the ‘atmosphere’, which is made up of several layers of gases. The sun is much hotter than the Earth and it gives off rays of heat (radiation) that travel through the atmosphere and reach the Earth. The rays of the sun warm the Earth, and heat from the Earth then travels back into the atmosphere. The gases in the atmosphere stop some of the heat from escaping into space.

These gases are called greenhouse gases and the natural process between the sun, the atmosphere and the Earth is called the ‘Greenhouse Effect’, because it works the same way as a greenhouse. The windows of a greenhouse play the same role as the gases in the atmosphere, keeping some of the heat inside the greenhouse.


The GREENHOUSE GASES are very important and are mainly:

  • Water vapor
    occurs naturally in the atmosphere
  • Carbon dioxide
    produced naturally when people and animals breathe. Plants and trees absorb carbon dioxide to live. Volcanoes also produce this gas. Carbon dioxide is not the same as carbon monoxide
  • Methane
    comes from cattle as they digest their food. The gas also comes from fields where rice is grown in paddy fields
  • Nitrous oxide
    when plants die and rot, nitrous oxide is produced
  • Ozone– occurs naturally in the atmosphere.



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