The greenhouse effect is the warming of the Earth that happens when greenhouse emissions are released to the atmosphere. Sunlight shines on the surface of the Earth and then it’s released back in the form of heat. In the atmosphere some of the heat is trapped by the greenhouse gases and the rest escapes to space. The more the greenhouse emissions are the more heat is trapped in the atmosphere.
Scientists knew about the Greenhouse effect since 1824. At that time Joseph Fourier calculated that the Earth would be much colder if it had no atmosphere. In 1895 the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius discovered that we could accelerate the greenhouse effect by producing carbon dioxide. He did not predict however that carbon dioxide would become one of the major problems for the environment.
Greenhouse emissions have fluctuated during the history of the Earth but have remained relatively stable during the last millennia.However, during the last hundred years we have increased the greenhouse emissions and the Earth’s temperature to a great extent through the burning of fossil fuel. This has a dramatic and very rapid effect on the climate.
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