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  • What is the greenhouse effect?

  • Earth is a comfortable place for living things. It's just the right temperatures for plants and animalsincluding humansto thrive.

  • Why is Earth so special?

  • Well, one reason is: the greenhouse effect.

  • A greenhouse is a building with glass walls and a glass roof.

  • The clear glass allows sunlight to shine into the greenhouse, while also trapping the Sun's heat inside.

  • This is how a greenhouse keeps plants warm, even at night and in the winter.

  • The greenhouse effect keeps Earth warm in pretty much the same way.

  • Earth isn't surrounded by glass, but it is surrounded by a jacket of gases called the atmosphere.

  • In the daytime, the Sun shines through the atmosphere warming Earth's surface.

  • After the Sun goes down, Earth's surface cools. This releases heat back into the air. But some of that heat is trapped by the gases in the atmosphere.

  • These heat-trapping gases are called greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide, water vapor and methane are all examples of greenhouse gases.

  • Earth needs a balance of greenhouse gases to maintain just the right temperature for living things.

  • But some human activities are changing Earth's natural greenhouse effect.

  • For example, burning fossil fuels, like coal and oil, releases more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.

  • These extra greenhouse gases can cause the atmosphere to trap more and more heat, leading to a warmer Earth.

  • NASA satellites are constantly measuring the gases in our atmosphere from space.

  • They have observed increases in the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

  • The information from NASA satellites can help scientists figure out where greenhouse gases are coming from and how they are ending up in our atmosphere.

  • This information will help us better understand the impact that greenhouse gases have on our climate.

  • And help us better understand this very special greenhouse that we call home.

  • Find out more about our Earth at NASA Climate Kids!

What is the greenhouse effect?

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B1 US greenhouse earth atmosphere heat effect carbon dioxide

What Is the Greenhouse Effect?

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    Sandra posted on 2021/12/21
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