What is The Greenhouse Effect ?

What is the greenhouse effect? The greenhouse effect is often referred to as the enhanced greenhouse effect which is an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere leading to an increase in the amount of infrared or thermal radiation near the surface.


Most scientists agree that the enhanced greenhouse effect is leading to rising temperatures, referred to as global warming, and other changes in the atmospheric environment, known as climate change (a term that in common usage also includes natural changes).

The greenhouse effect is caused by ‘green house gases’, which are primarily made up of Argon, Carbon Dioxide, Neon, Helium, Methane, Hydrogen, Nitrous Oxide and Ozone.

These gases are called this because during the day the earth absorbs heat from the sun, although much of this is radiated back out into space. The atmosphere surrounding our earth contains these gases, and acts like a blanket keeping some of the heat in. If there weren’t an atmospheric ‘blanket’ we would freeze during the night, like some of the other planets or our moon.

These gases are called greenhouse gases as they effectively make the blanket around our globe thicker, trapping more heat and turning the globe into a green house. (A green house is a structure that market gardeners use to grow vegetables in. It is covered in clear plastic or glass to let the sun light in, and traps the heat inside, increasing the temperature. Sometimes these are also referred to as ‘hot houses’). 

Greenhouse effect diagram

See how the Greenhouse Effect impacts on our lives and the planet!