Browse Definitions :
Definition

greenhouse gas

Contributor(s): Matthew Haughn

A greenhouse gas is a gas that absorbs infrared radiation (IR) and radiates heat in all directions.

Greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere absorb IR from the sun and release it. Some of the heat released reaches the earth, along with heat from the sun that has penetrated the atmosphere. Both the solar heat and the radiated heat are absorbed by the earth and released; some is reabsorbed by greenhouse gases to perpetuate the cycle. The more of these gases that exists, the more heat is prevented from escaping into space and, consequently, the more the earth heats. This increase in heat is called the greenhouse effect.

Common examples of greenhouse gases, listed in order of abundance, include: water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone, and any fluorocarbons. Although water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas, it is a relatively ineffective one. Some degree of greenhouse gases in our environment is only natural -- without the greenhouse effect our ecosystem would not be possible.

Since the dawn of the industrial age in the 1750s, however, carbon dioxide alone has increased by 40%. Concerns about the greenhouse effect's contribution to global warming have prompted agreements between various governments on targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

While the same principle technically applies to an actual greenhouse, the effect is a small contributor to the structure’s total heat when compared with its prevention of heat loss through convection. In contrast, it is estimated that greenhouse gases, both natural and man-made, raise the average temperature of the earth by thirty-three degrees Celsius.

See a video explanation of the greenhouse effect:

 

This was last updated in September 2013

Continue Reading About greenhouse gas

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchCompliance

  • risk management

    Risk management is the process of identifying, assessing and controlling threats to an organization's capital and earnings.

  • compliance as a service (CaaS)

    Compliance as a Service (CaaS) is a cloud service service level agreement (SLA) that specified how a managed service provider (...

  • data protection impact assessment (DPIA)

    A data protection impact assessment (DPIA) is a process designed to help organizations determine how data processing systems, ...

SearchSecurity

  • NIST Cybersecurity Framework

    The NIST Cybersecurity Framework (NIST CSF) is a policy framework surrounding IT infrastructure security.

  • Port Scan

    A port scan is a series of messages sent by someone attempting to break into a computer to learn which computer network services ...

  • DMZ (networking)

    In computer networks, a DMZ (demilitarized zone), also sometimes known as a perimeter network or a screened subnetwork, is a ...

SearchHealthIT

SearchDisasterRecovery

  • business continuity plan (BCP)

    A business continuity plan (BCP) is a document that consists of the critical information an organization needs to continue ...

  • disaster recovery team

    A disaster recovery team is a group of individuals focused on planning, implementing, maintaining, auditing and testing an ...

  • cloud insurance

    Cloud insurance is any type of financial or data protection obtained by a cloud service provider. 

SearchStorage

Close