THE GREENHOUSE EFFECT The greenhouse effect: retention of heat in the Earth's atmosphere due to the presence of greenhouse gases. In this essay, I will tell you how the greenhouse effect works and the importance it has in our atmosphere and everyday life. The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature that the Earth experiences because certain gases in the atmosphere (water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane) trap energy from the sun. Without these certain gases, the heat would escape back into space, causing the Earth's average temperature to be somewhere around 60 oF colder. Most greenhouses look like small glass houses.

Greenhouses are used to grow plants, especially in the winter. Greenhouses operate by trapping the heat from the sun. The glass panels of the greenhouse let in light but keep the heat from escaping into the atmosphere. This causes the greenhouse to heat up and keep the plants warm enough to live during the winter season. The Earth's atmosphere is everywhere around us, it is the air we breathe. The greenhouse gases in the atmosphere act much the same as the panes inside the greenhouse.

The sunlight enters the Earth's atmosphere, passing through the billows of greenhouse gases. As it reaches the Earth's surface, land, water, and biosphere absorb the sunlight's energy. Once the energy is absorbed, the energy is released back into the atmosphere. A small portion is passed back into space, but the majority remains trapped in the atmosphere by the greenhouse gases, causing the Earth to heat up. The greenhouse is very vital to our being.

Without the greenhouse effect, the earth would not be warm enough for the human race to live. But if the greenhouse effect becomes stronger, it could make the earth warmer than usual. Even a little extra warming may cause problems for humans, plants, and animals to carry on everyday life.