The Week That Was: February 23, 2019, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org
By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
The Greenhouse Effect: this is the first in a series on the greenhouse effect as it is being measured in the atmosphere.
Greenhouse gases are nearly transparent to sunlight but partially opaque to thermal radiation from Earth’s surface and atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is a predicted warming of the surface and lower atmosphere and a cooling of the stratosphere and upper atmosphere as the concentration of greenhouse gases increases. The most important greenhouse gas is water vapor, H2O. Carbon dioxide, CO2, is of lesser importance. Nitrous oxide, N2O, and methane, CH4, make only minor contributions to greenhouse warming. The most abundant gases in the atmosphere, nitrogen, N2, and oxygen, O2, are not greenhouse gases since they are nearly transparent to both sunlight and thermal radiation. There is no doubt that the greenhouse effect exists, but there is considerable uncertainty about how large it is.