Sustainable Living: 3M FuturewiseTown PlanIntroductionGo BackGo Next3M


The greenhouse effect is the warming of the planet due to certain gases in the atmosphere. Some gases can act like a blanket around the planet, preventing heat from leaving the atmosphere. These gases are called greenhouse gases because the glass of a greenhouse traps the sun's heat and prevents heat escaping. However greenhouse gases act differently from the glass of a greenhouse so it's not a very accurate name.

The heat radiation we get from the Sun has a short wavelength. Short wavelength heat passes through the atmosphere (including greenhouse gases) without heating the gases. This short wavelength heat is absorbed by the Earth and then re-emitted. Because the Earth is much colder than the Sun, it emits much longer wavelength heat.

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