Monday, September 1, 2014

The Greenhouse Effect

by Antonio C. Antonio
April 26, 2014

We are more familiar with a backyard “green house”; a lot of homes have this.  The principle involved in the construction of a home-based “green house” is to (1) protect our ornamental and decorative plants from direct sunlight and (2) trap moisture emitted by plants inside the “green house”.  Both measures also intend to maintain a cool and ideal temperature inside the “green house” to promote plant growth and health. 

Planet earth can also build a “green house” made of atmospheric gases.  This is commonly called the “greenhouse effect”.  The “greenhouse effect” is a process by which thermal radiation from the surface of the earth by atmospheric greenhouse gases and return it back to earth.  This results to high year-round temperature averages on earth.  Please see the accompanying image in this article which illustrates the action/process involved in the “greenhouse effect”.

 “The mechanism is named after the effect of solar radiation passing through glass and warming a greenhouse, but the way it retains heat is fundamentally different as a greenhouse works by reducing airflow, isolating the warm air inside the structure so that heat is not lost by convection.  If an ideal thermally conductive blackbody was the same distance from the Sun as the Earth is, it would have a temperature of about 5.3 °C.  However, since the Earth reflects about 30% of the incoming sunlight, this idealized planet's effective temperature (the temperature of a blackbody that would emit the same amount of radiation) would be about −18 °C.  The surface temperature of this hypothetical planet is 33 °C below Earth's actual surface temperature of approximately 14 °C.  The mechanism that produces this difference between the actual surface temperature and the effective temperature is due to the atmosphere and is known as the greenhouse effect.  Earth’s natural greenhouse effect makes life as we know it possible. However, human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels and clearing of forests, have intensified the natural greenhouse effect, causing global warming.” (Wikipedia)

The foregoing reading materials plus the references I cited below should give us a clear idea that the “greenhouse effect” is largely the result of anthropogenic (meaning: manmade) activities.  Man’s technology and use of technology is mainly to blame for the “greenhouse effect” which results to “global warming”.  On the other hand, global warming is largely to blame for weather systems like unusually strong typhoons like “Yolanda.”  If we are to effectively address rising global temperature, it is therefore important for us to equally focus our attention, not only on global warming and deforestation but also, on the greenhouse effect.

Just my little thoughts…


·         The Greenhouse Effect (
·         The Greenhouse Effect (
·         The Greenhouse Effect (

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