The greenhouse effect is the process of heating the surface of Earth to the troposphere. It happens because of higher concentrations of carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, and other gases. Sunlight heats Earth’s surface, and subsequently, the energy is reflected in space in the form of infrared radiation. In the greenhouse effect, the concentrated gases absorb the energy, thereby increasing the global temperature. Hence, the greenhouse effect and global warming are correlated.
In 1827, Joseph Fourier discovered the greenhouse effect which was experimentally verified in 1861 by John Tyndall and in 1896 was quantified by Svante Arrhenius.
Causes of Greenhouse Effect
- Burning of Fossil Fuels: Fossil fuels are an important part of our lives. They are widely used in transportation and to produce electricity. The burning of fossil fuels releases carbon dioxide. With the increase in population, the utilization of fossil fuels has increased. This has led to an increase in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
- Deforestation: Plants and trees take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Due to the cutting of trees, there is a considerable increase in greenhouse gases which increases the earth’s temperature.
- Farming: Fertilizers used during farming releases greenhouse gas nitrous oxide. It is a major cause of global warming.
- Industrial Wastage and Landfills: The industries and factories produce harmful gases which are released into the atmosphere. Landfills also release carbon dioxide and methane that add to the greenhouse gases.
- Population increase: Population explosion in different parts of the world has caused enormous pressure on existing resources, which is finite. Higher demand has caused a substantial increase in manufacturing, causing greater emission of harmful gases.
- Depletion of Ozone Layer
- Global warming
- Environmental degradation
- Extinction of species
Prevention of Greenhouse Effect
- Conservation of Energy: Conservation of energy can substantially cut down the emission of greenhouse gases. It is because maximum industrial process and electricity production is dependent on the consumption of fossil fuel. Increased usage of alternative or renewable energy will facilitate energy conservation.
- Afforestation: Planned afforestation on a large scale will help in the higher absorption of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It helps to prevent the Greenhouse effect.
- Policy Intervention: There is a greater need for policy intervention by the government both in terms of framing appropriate regulations and enforcement. International cooperation is important to make such policies a success.