A greenhouse gas is a gas in the atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation. This is causing a "greenhouse effect", and the resultant warming of the earth’s surface to a temperature above its normal temperature range. The radiation is released and redirect towards the earth surface depends on a number of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses have increased beyond the required amount for support of life due to various human activities which have been on the rise every other day. The greenhouse gasses present in the atmosphere are water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and ozone. The concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is determined by the balance between sources of greenhouse gasses and their removal from their atmosphere.
Greenhouse Gases With The Highest Emissions Volumes
Carbon Dioxide from Fossil Fuels and Agro-Forestry
Carbon dioxide is a colorless and odorless gas composed of a carbon atom and two oxygen atoms. The natural sources of carbon dioxide are volcanoes, hot springs, geysers, carbonate rocks when it is dissolved in water and acids. Carbon dioxide found in the atmosphere was regulated through photosynthesis during the pre-industrial era. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the amount of carbon dioxide has increased significantly due to the continuous burning of fossil fuels. Deforestation has also increased, and thus carbon dioxide is not absorbed for photosynthesis, resulting in a rapid increase of its concentration in the atmosphere. Of the total amount of greenhouse gasses emitted, carbon dioxide covers 76% of the entire volume of gasses hence it is the highest volume of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere.
Methane is a chemical compound consisting of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. It is an attractive fuel found on the ground and the sea floor, but when it escapes to the atmosphere, it is known as atmospheric methane. It is the largest component and cause of greenhouse effect which is emitted through production and transportation of coal, natural gas, and oil, agricultural practices such as the use of insecticides and pesticides, and decay in the waste landfills leads to a release of a significant amount methane to the atmosphere. It forms 16% of the entire volume of greenhouse gasses the second largest after carbon dioxide but by far one of the highest causes of radiation in the greenhouse effect.
Nitrous oxide is a chemical compound with two nitrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. It is a naturally occurring gas present in the atmosphere where it reacts with oxygen to form nitric oxide a major air pollutant and a greenhouse gas. Its presence in the atmosphere is enhanced by human activities such as the use of fertilizers containing nitrogen, during the burning of fuel in transportation, and during industrial manufacture of fertilizers and nitric acids. It forms 6% of the entire volume of greenhouse gasses, but alongside methane, it is one of the strongest greenhouse gasses taking over 100 years to be cleared from the atmosphere.
These are fluorine-containing gasses which have no natural sources, as they only occur as a result of human-designed activities and industrial processes. They last for over a thousand years in the atmosphere hence have high global warming potentials as it mixes well with other atmospheric gasses hence spreading all over the world. They are divided into four major categories hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulfur hexafluoride, and nitrogen trifluoride which could be destroyed by sunlight in the far upper atmosphere.
Effects of Greenhouse Gases.
The largest effect of green house gases is global warming. This rise in global temperatures is causing panic around the world . Global warming is altering the climate pattern and changing animal and plant habitat. The impact is felt particularly along the coastlines of seas and oceans and at the poles as ice melts and sea levels rise.