ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Greenhouse Effect and Major Greenhouse Gases

Updated on August 2, 2017
varsha bang profile image

Varsha is an enthusiastic writer who loves to share informational content with the readers.


The earth’s temperature has been rising during the recent past. This is due to the greenhouse effect. This term is derived from a phenomenon that occurs in a greenhouse. In order to understand the reason behind earth’s increasing temperature, it is essential to know what a greenhouse is and how does it work.

A greenhouse is basically a glass chamber in which plants are grown especially during winter season. When sunlight passes through the glass it gets absorbed inside but the greenhouse does not allow the radiations to escape. Thus, the temperature inside becomes warm enough to support plant growth.

The same phenomenon happens on the earth surface. When sunlight reaches the earth, some of it is reflected back into the atmosphere and some are absorbed by air particles. Rest of the sunlight reaches earth heating it. The earth’s surface now heats up and emits this heat in the form of infrared radiations. But a major portion of this radiation is absorbed by atmospheric gases which do not allow this heat to escape into space and radiates it back to the earth, heating it up once again. This is called greenhouse effect.

In simple words, the greenhouse effect is that property of the atmosphere which allows solar radiation to reach the earth easily but does not allow terrestrial radiation to escape from the earth easily.

The greenhouse effect is a natural phenomenon which is essential for sustenance of life on earth. It blankets the earth’s atmosphere and warms it, maintaining a suitable temperature for humans to survive but recent industrialization and urbanization has increased the emission of greenhouse gases which has exacerbated the greenhouse effect further leading to global warming.

Greenhouse | Source

Greenhouse Gases

The gases which are responsible for greenhouse effect are called greenhouse gases. These gases absorb the infrared radiations emitting from the earth and does not allow it to escape. An increase in the level of these gases has led to considerable heating of the earth.

Major greenhouse gases include the following:

Carbon dioxide: It is one of the major greenhouse gases. It is released into the atmosphere by respiration, burning of fossil fuels and organic waste and deforestation. It is also emitted during volcanic eruptions. Increased deforestation and fossil fuel burning have increased its emission. Carbon dioxide is one of the major contributors to global warming.

Methane: It is produced during the burning of vegetation and fossil fuels. A large amount of methane is also released from rotting garbage dumps, paddy fields and coal mines.

Nitrous oxide: Burning of fossil fuels, wood and crop residue releases nitrous oxide into the air.

Hydrofluorocarbons(HFCs): HFCs are man-made industrial chemicals used in air conditioning and refrigeration. They are also used as solvents, insulation foams and aero propellants. They are potent greenhouse gases with long atmospheric lifetimes and high global warming potential.

Water Vapour: It is also responsible for the greenhouse effect. Though it is not directly emitted by humans, increasing evaporation due to rising temperature has increased the concentration of water vapour in the air.

Ozone: Ground level ozone confined to troposphere contributes to the greenhouse effect. It is a secondary pollutant formed during the chemical reaction between nitrous oxide and volatile organic compounds during the presence of sunlight. Stratospheric ozone protects from ultraviolet rays of the sun but tropospheric ozone causes headache, chest pain, dryness of the throat, cough and difficulty in breathing. It also leads to cracking of rubber and extensive damage to plant life apart from contributing to global warming.

Concentration and Contribution of Greenhouse Gases to Greenhouse Effect

Concentration in Atmosphere(ppm)
Water Vapour and Clouds
Carbon Dioxide
Note- Water Vapour varies locally. 90% of Ozone is concentrated in the stratosphere. Source: Wikipedia

Coping with the Greenhouse Effect

  • Adopting cleaner fuel technologies. Instead of burning, vegetation and crop residue should be used to make bioethanol which is an eco-friendly fuel.
  • Adopting non-fossil fuel based energy resources like wind energy, solar energy which do not release any harmful gases into the atmosphere.
  • Promoting and adopting electric and hybrid vehicles. Also, automobiles should be properly maintained and emission control norms should be adhered to.
  • Undertaking afforestation and reducing deforestation. Trees are excellent sources of carbon sequestration and help in maintaining the temperature of the earth.
  • Restrictions should be imposed on industries and power plants to not exceed a certain level of fossil fuel emissions. They should be promoted to use alternative technologies which do not harm the environment.
  • Devices like fabric filters, electrostatic precipitators, wet scrubbers, etc should be installed in industries to prevent the escape of harmful gases in the air.
  • Carbon sequestration ( capturing and storing carbon in natural or man made sinks) could help in reducing the atmospheric and marine accumulation of greenhouse gases.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)