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What is Natural Greenhouse Effect (Facts) and Climate Change, Average Temperature of Planets and Earths Temperature

Updated on June 7, 2012

Natural greenhouse effect

The natural greenhouse effect is given by two very important factors in the atmosphere (troposphere). Namely the clouds, which are capable of absorbing the infrared waves (which are emitted by the earth) or reflect them back to the earth and the two molecules H2O and CO2. The two molecules combined are able to absorb quite a big spectrum of the infrared waves and therefore, they can store these infrared waves (they store heat).

Other important factors are CFCs and ozone.

Consequences of Greenhouse Effect

Global warming is the consequence of the greenhouse effect and triggers several other problems. Since the temperature increases due to global warming, the poles will melt. Thus increases the sea levels which have the following consequence of shifting the climate zone, integration, adaption of animals to new environments (or in the worst case their extinction) and the change of the position of streams.

Why planets have different average temperatures

Apart from the earth, all other planets do not possess a real atmosphere in order to have a working greenhouse effect. The reason, for the great differences in temperature in all the planets, is quite simple. Mercury and Venus have very high temperatures, as they are quite close to the sun and are directly exposed to the sun rays. Since the occurrence of CO2 is 95% in the atmosphere and even more in these planets, the heat can be stored partly in the molecules. Moreover, these molecules will oscillate a lot since intense sun rays with a lot of energy hit these molecules and increase the temperature. The further one goes away from the sun, the less sun rays will reach the planet and thus, planets that have a great distance from the sun have colder temperature situations.
So, less intense sun rays hit the molecules of the planets which have a great distance to the sun and thus, they oscillate less, keeping the temperature cold.

Definition of temperature

The temperature is defined by the speed of the particles. This is experienced as heat.


Change of Climate in the Atmosphere

Troposphere: from ground level to 12-20km
In this part of the atmosphere, the weather takes place and 99% of all water vapour and other aerosols are found. Water vapour and carbon dioxide (CO2) appear in great masses. Water vapour and carbon dioxide are capable of absorbing infrared light, which is emitted by the earth. These two molecules are extremely important for the natural greenhouse effect, since they H2O and CO2 absorb most of the infrared light spectrum in combination. The temperature decreases steadily, because the pressure becomes smaller and smaller the higher one goes.

Stratosphere: up to 50km
The ozone layer is the most important part in the stratosphere. It works like sunglasses for the earth as the ozone layer absorbs the short, highly energetic waves (UVA and UVB rays). These sunrays would be a great threat to the humans, otherwise.
The temperature will increase from the troposphere to the ozone layer, because the layer stores heat.

Mesosphere: up to 80km
The temperature decreases as the distance to the ozone layer increases.

Thermosphere: up to 320km
The temperature starts to increase again, because x-rays, UV-light and protons from the sun create many free electrons and other ions of high speeds. Therefore, the temperature increases.

Exosphere: The temperature increases even more, but it would be quite cold outside, because there are not enough particles that could possibly heat up a body.


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    • mbyL profile imageAUTHOR

      Slaven Cvijetic 

      8 years ago from Switzerland, Zurich


      Thanks for your comment! See my answer to Brett.Tesol, which would basically be the same response to you.

    • mbyL profile imageAUTHOR

      Slaven Cvijetic 

      8 years ago from Switzerland, Zurich


      As far as I am concerned, there are only a few, who say it is a natural process. Well, on one hand, they are right. The world has experienced global warmings over the millions of years. But if you compare the graphs to the current global warming, you'd laugh at how small the graphs of the previous warmings are in comparison to the current one. Global warming is mostly, due to the man and his new inventions like cars and fabriques, which cause a lot (far too much!) CO2 and other anthropogenic molecules.

    • forlanda profile image

      J Forlanda 

      8 years ago from US of A

      There are some scientists who disagree with the idea of climate change (aka global warming). This is all scientific consensus.

      Humans are too insignificant to cause exaggerated greenhouse effect. Watch George Carlin's explanation here: It's entertaining, but makes a lot of sense.

      Just my two cents.

    • Brett.Tesol profile image

      Brett C 

      8 years ago from Asia

      Interesting and fact filled hub. So, how true do you think that the claims are that the human emissions are a fraction of what the planet makes and actually not making a difference? Instead they are proposing that this 'global warming' is a natural cycle ...

      Shared, up and interesting.


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