The greenhouse effect is the name given to the natural warming of the earth’s surface. Without the greenhouse effect, the earth would be much cooler. It is estimated that the average temperature of the earth’s surface would be -18C (-0.4F) without the greenhouse effect. This post will tell you who discovered the greenhouse effect and look at what global warming is all about.
Who Discovered It?
Joseph Fourier discovered the greenhouse effect back in 1824. Fourier looked at some of the experimental data available at the time and worked out that the Earth gets most of its energy from solar radiation (predominately, the sun). He thought that gases were responsible for absorbing the radiation and warming the earth. He was one of the first scientists who stated that the energy on the earth came from numerous sources.
What’s global warming all about?
Global warming, sometimes called the enhanced greenhouse effect, is the warming of the earth’s surface due to the increased amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, which means that it absorbs radiation from the sun that has been reflected off the earth’s surface. When it absorbs this radiation, it releases energy in the form of heat. Humans have been burning coals and other fossil fuels for many years. When these things are burnt they release carbon dioxide gas (although without burning these things we would not have cars, televisions, computers and other technologies that require oil or electricity). Scientists began to notice that the earth was warming in the 1960’s and realized that the increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere could be responsible for the warming. Global warming is causing, and is expected to cause, many serious consequences for humankind. These include melting of the ice caps, rising sea levels, more severe hurricanes (cyclones) and storms, desertification (it is believed that many rainforest’s will be destroyed and become deserts), ocean acidification, more diseases (such as malaria, because mosquitoes will be able to survive in more climates) and less land that can be used to grow crops.
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