On Earth we have several greenhouse gases
that exist in our atmosphere: water vapor, carbon
dioxide, methane, and a few more. These
gases are termed "greenhouse" because
they're capable of trapping energy in the form
of infrared radiation, aka heat.
The sun emits energy that enters our
atmosphere and reaches down to the Earth's
surface. Much of that energy is reflected off the
surface of Earth and re-emitted back into the
atmosphere in the form of infrared radiation.
Without a lot of greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere, that energy that bounces off the
Earth's surface would escape into space, but
greenhouse gases trap that energy which in turn
heats up the atmosphere.
This is generally a good thing. Without greenhouse
gases, we would have a very cold atmosphere that
wouldn't be conducive to supporting complex life.
So we need some of these gases in our
atmosphere to survive. But, since the
industrial revolution in the 1800s, more and more
CO2 has been put into the atmosphere
which is throwing off the balance of the right
amount of greenhouse gases keeping our planet JUST
warm enough without being too hot. Trapping
more heat in the atmosphere also means that the
oceans are getting warmer. When both of these
reservoirs heat up, it can disrupt weather
patterns which is why one of the "symptoms" of
climate change is an increase in the number of
intense weather events like longer droughts,
heavier rain storms, stronger hurricanes, etc.
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