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					                                                                                                                                                                   Christine Moran ‘09

                                                                                                                                                                                 Figure 1        GRAPHS
                       ABSTRACT                                                      WHY ARE WE SO CONFUSED?
                                                                                      Most people do not know the difference between the Greenhouse Effect
      The Earth has always been warming. In the past 100                 and the Greenhouse Theory which leads to confusion. The main difference between
    years, the temperature has increased from1.2 to 1.4ºF.               the two is that the Greenhouse Effect is naturally warming the Earth while the
   This increase has caused a debate between scientists as               Greenhouse Theory states that global warming is human induced (anthropogenic).
  to what has caused it. Some scientists say that the Earth’s            When people hear about the Greenhouse Effect, they think that it is human induced,
    increase in temperature is due to a natural effect called            when in fact, that is the Greenhouse Theory.
      the Greenhouse Effect. Other scientists believe that
   humans have been aiding to the temperature increase by                             Many people believe that the Greenhouse Effect is bad for the Earth
   burning fossil fuels for the past 100 years. In other words,          when actually we would cease to live without it. “The Earth's average surface
       the increase is due to anthropogenic warming. The                 temperature is about 33°C warmer than it would be without the greenhouse effect”
      Greenhouse Effect and the Greenhouse Theory are                    ( 2009). According to figure 2, the sun’s radiation enters Earth’s
       commonly confused with each other. Many people                    atmosphere and “most of the radiation is absorbed by the Earth” (Grossman, J
      confuse the theory for the effect. Greenhouse gases                2009). Figure 2 also shows that the infrared radiation enters the atmosphere and is                                                        Russell, R.
  contribute to the effect. They trap the heat from the Sun in           absorbed or re-emitted in different directions by the greenhouse gases (Grossman, J
   the Earth’s atmosphere which causes the temperature to                2009). When this occurs, “the Earth’s surface and the lower atmosphere are                              Figure 2
      rise. These gases and the effect are considered bad                warmed” (Grossman, J 2009). This figure shows that the Earth is being warmed
  because they create an increase in temperature and aid to              naturally through solar and infrared radiation. Figure 1 shows the percentages of
    global warming. Actually, the effect and these gases are             radiation that is from the Sun, absorbed by the Earth and reflected by the surface.
                  needed for us to live on Earth.
                                                                                       “Greenhouse gases are components of the atmosphere that contribute to
                                                                         the Greenhouse Effect” ( 2009). Carbon Dioxide is thought to have
                                                                         the highest concentration in our atmosphere compared to other greenhouse gases.
                                                                         In reality, carbon dioxide is only 9-26% of the greenhouse gases (
                                                                         2009). Water vapor, the major greenhouse gas, is 36-70% of the greenhouse effect
   BACKGROUND INFORMATION                                                ( 2009). Water vapor is the greenhouse gas which traps the heat.
                                                                         Methane is 4-9% while o-zone is only 3-7% of the effect ( 2009).
                   GREENHOUSE EFFECT                                                 The Greenhouse Theory insists that humans are warming the Earth’s
   • Lets solar radiation (from the Sun) through the Earth’s             atmosphere. Many believe that “growth in industry, agriculture, and transportation
                           atmosphere                                    since the Industrial Revolution has produced additional quantities of the natural
                        •Occurs naturally                                greenhouse gases” (Colombia Electronic Encyclopedia 2007). Some people are                                                                Grossman, J.
         •Life on Earth would cease to exist without it                  switching to hybrid cars or are concerned with how much energy they are emitting
    •Gases include water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane,                 because they believe that humans endorse the increase in temperature. The
                    ozone, and nitrous oxide                             Industrial Revolution has caused, “the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil,
                  GREENHOUSE THEORY
          •Anthropogenic (human caused) warming
                                                                         and deforestation have caused the concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse
                                                                         gases to increase significantly in our atmosphere” (Environmental Protection Agency
                                                                         2009). Burning fossil fuels mainly adds to the carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, but
         • Humans release CO2 into our atmosphere                        water vapor is still the gas that traps the most heat. According to the Environmental                          • Greenhouse Effect is a natural process
          •Industrial Revolution started the warming                     Protection Agency, “Earth's average surface temperature has increased by about                                  • Greenhouse Theory is anthropogenic
                                                                         1.2 to 1.4ºF in the last 100 years” (2009). The industrial revolution started about 200                   • Temperatures have increased from1.2 to 1.4ºF
                                                                         years ago and, therefore, many make the connection that the burning of fossil fuels                      • Solar and infrared radiation warms atmosphere
                                                                         increased Earth’s temperature.                                                                              • Greenhouse Effect is not bad, need it to live
                                                                                                                                                                                    • Water Vapor is 39-70% of Greenhouse Effect
                                                                                                                                                                                            •Water Vapor traps the most heat
                                                                                                                                                                                   • Carbon Dioxide is 9-26% of Greenhouse Effect
                                                                                                                                                                              •Humans increase carbon dioxide by burning fossil fuels
REFERENCES                                                                                                                                                                     • Global Warming is occurring but if it is more natural or
                                                                                                                                                                                            anthropogenic remains a mystery.
Colombia Electronic Encyclopedia. (2007). Retrieved from:
Grossman, J. (Feb 6, 2009). No Frills Philanthropy Project: Carbon Offsets. Retrieved from:
Pidwirny, M. (May 7, 2009). Chapter 7: Introduction to the Atmosphere (h). The Greenhouse Effect. Retrieved from
Reuters, T. (2009). Greenhouse Effect. Retrieved from
Russell, R. (May 16, 2007). The Greenhouse Effect and Greenhouse Gases. Retrieved from:
United States Environmental Protection Agency (September 8, 2005). Greenhouse Effect. Retrieved from
United States Environmental Protection Agency (October 29, 2009). Basic Information. Retrieved from
Zhi, L. (December 1, 2009). Backgrounder: Greenhouse Effect and Greenhouse Gases. Retrieved from

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