The earth's atmosphere works like a glass greenhouse where plants are kept. When the sun's rays enter our atmosphere, most of it continues right down to the earth's surface. When they hit the soil and surface water, they release most of their energy in the form of heat. Some of the heat then radiates back out into space. However, there are certain gases like carbon dioxide and methane, that absorb heat and radiate it back to the earth's surface. This helps to keep our atmosphere warm. These gases are therefore called greenhouse gases because of their heat trapping ability. But the burning of fossil fuels has significantly increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It has been estimated that the current concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is about 30 percent greater than it was 650,000 years ago. As a result, the temperature of the earth has increased drastically and natural calamities like droughts and floods are becoming more and more common.
- Role of Greenhouse Gases in Climate Change