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WHAT IS THE GREEN HOUSE EFFECT AND HOW DOES IT AFFECT THE CLIMATE?

The greenhouse effect describes the way that the atmosphere insulates the planet from heat loss. The atmosphere is largely transparent to sunlight, allowing most sunlight to pass through the atmosphere to heat the planet. However, small concentrations of “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere absorb much of the outgoing heat energy radiated by the earth itself, and return much of this energy back towards the surface. This process keeps the surface much warmer than if the greenhouse gases were absent. This process is referred to as the greenhouse effect because it resembles the role of glass in a greenhouse, creating warmer conditions than would otherwise occur.

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