global warming occurs when the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap the heat from the sun

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The greenhouse effect is a process that occurs when gases in Earth's atmosphere trap the Sun's heat. This process makes Earth much warmer kêu ca it would be without an atmosphere. The greenhouse effect is one of the things that makes Earth a comfortable place to lớn live.

Watch this đoạn phim to lớn learn about the greenhouse effect! Click here to lớn tải về this đoạn phim (1920x1080, 105 MB, video/mp4). Click here to lớn tải về this đoạn phim about the greenhouse effect in Spanish (1920x1080, 154 MB, video/mp4).

How does the greenhouse effect work?

As you might expect from the name, the greenhouse effect works … lượt thích a greenhouse! A greenhouse is a building with glass walls and a glass roof. Greenhouses are used to lớn grow plants, such as tomatoes and tropical flowers.

A greenhouse stays warm inside, even during the winter. In the daytime, sunlight shines into the greenhouse and warms the plants and air inside. At nighttime, it's colder outside, but the greenhouse stays pretty warm inside. That's because the glass walls of the greenhouse trap the Sun's heat.

Illustration of a greenhouse in the snow with rays of sunlight entering it. The greenhouse is capturing the heat. A snowman is off to lớn the side of the greenhouse.

A greenhouse captures heat from the Sun during the day. Its glass walls trap the Sun's heat, which keeps plants inside the greenhouse warm — even on cold nights. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The greenhouse effect works much the same way on Earth. Gases in the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, trap heat similar to lớn the glass roof of a greenhouse. These heat-trapping gases are called greenhouse gases.

During the day, the Sun shines through the atmosphere. Earth's surface warms up in the sunlight. At night, Earth's surface cools, releasing heat back into the air. But some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. That's what keeps our Earth a warm and cozy 58 degrees Fahrenheit (14 degrees Celsius), on average.

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Illustration of the Earth's atmosphere capturing some of the Sun's heat with a thermometer on the side.

Earth's atmosphere traps some of the Sun's heat, preventing it from escaping back into space at night. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

How are humans impacting the greenhouse effect?

Human activities are changing Earth's natural greenhouse effect. Burning fossil fuels lượt thích coal and oil puts more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere.

NASA has observed increases in the amount of carbon dioxide and some other greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. Too much of these greenhouse gases can cause Earth's atmosphere to lớn trap more and more heat. This causes Earth to lớn warm up.

What reduces the greenhouse effect on Earth?

Just lượt thích a glass greenhouse, Earth's greenhouse is also full of plants! Plants can help to lớn balance the greenhouse effect on Earth. All plants — from giant trees to lớn tiny phytoplankton in the ocean — take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen.

The ocean also absorbs a lot of excess carbon dioxide in the air. Unfortunately, the increased carbon dioxide in the ocean changes the water, making it more acidic. This is called ocean acidification.

More acidic water can be harmful to lớn many ocean creatures, such as certain shellfish and coral. Warming oceans — from too many greenhouse gases in the atmosphere — can also be harmful to lớn these organisms. Warmer waters are a main cause of coral bleaching.

Photograph of a bleached brain coral.

This photograph shows a bleached brain coral. A main cause of coral bleaching is warming oceans. Ocean acidification also stresses coral reef communities. Credit: NOAA

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