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the Primary Heat-Absorbing Gases in the Atmosphere?
Updated November 22, 2019
By Scott Johnson
Greenhouse gases are atmospheric gases that absorb heat, and then re-radiate the heat. The process of continual absorbing and radiating creates a cycle that retains heat in the atmosphere; this cycle is called the greenhouse effect. Human activities have resulted in increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, resulting in an enhanced greenhouse effect. The enhanced greenhouse effect is causing a global warming trend that is disruptive to ecosystems worldwide. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane and nitrous oxide.
Human carbon dioxide emissions are the single most significant cause of global warming. Approximately two-thirds of human-caused carbon dioxide comes from burning fossil fuels, with an additional third resulting from deforestation. Carbon is stored in plant matter, such as trees and plants, within forests. Fossil fuels are mostly created by the anaerobic decomposition of buried plant matter, usually over the course of millions of years. When fossil fuels are burned, and forests destroyed, the stored carbon is released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. As of 2011, atmospheric carbon dioxide levels were approximately 35 percent above normal, and rising.
Water vapor is the most common greenhouse gas, and the one with the greatest overall effect on atmospheric heat retention. Due to the enhanced greenhouse effect, levels of water vapor in the atmosphere increase due to a positive feedback loop. Warmer conditions cause increased evaporation of water, with the warmer atmosphere able to hold larger amounts of water vapor. Therefore, when human greenhouse emissions cause warming, increased water vapor levels are a secondary effect. The higher water vapor levels then trap yet more heat, creating the feedback loop.
Methane, the main component of natural gas, is a potent greenhouse gas that traps about 20 times as much heat as carbon dioxide. Atmospheric methane emissions occur during natural gas drilling, coal mining and other industrial processes. The digestive systems of livestock produce approximately 35 percent of human-caused methane emissions. Some scientists predict that warming trends will melt arctic permafrost, resulting in large releases of methane, and a positive feedback loop that will accelerate global warming.
Nitrous oxide exists in much smaller concentrations in the atmosphere, but is a very efficient greenhouse gas, trapping approximately 300 times as much heat as carbon dioxide. Human nitrous oxide emissions are produced mainly by the agricultural sector. When nitrogen-rich fertilizers make their way into underground aquifers and rivers, they breakdown to produce atmospheric nitrogen, with nitrous oxide as a byproduct. Human-caused nitrous oxide emissions account for between 6 and 10 percent of the enhanced greenhouse effect.
Extra Information About what are the two most important heat-absorbing gases in the lower atmosphere? That You May Find Interested
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What Are the Primary Heat-Absorbing Gases in … – Sciencing
Heat Absorbing Gases
The Greenhouse Effect – UCAR Center for Science Education
How do greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere?
B2. Greenhouse Effect: Atmosphere Energy Absorption
Overview of Greenhouse Gases | US EPA
Frequently Asked Questions About what are the two most important heat-absorbing gases in the lower atmosphere?
If you have questions that need to be answered about the topic what are the two most important heat-absorbing gases in the lower atmosphere?, then this section may help you solve it.
Which two gases in the lower atmosphere are the most significant ones for absorbing heat?
The correct response(s): Water vapor and carbon dioxide are the two main heat-absorbing gases in the lower atmosphere.
What two gases in our atmosphere are most significant?
Nitrogen and oxygen make up the majority of the atmosphere’s dry composition, with minor amounts of argon and carbon dioxide and traces of other gases like helium, neon, methane, krypton, and hydrogen also present (NASA).
Which gas dominates the lower atmosphere?
What is the lower atmosphere’s heat source?
The sun is the primary source of heat for our planet; energy from the sun is transferred to the earth’s surface through space and the atmosphere, warming both, and some of this energy is or transforms into heat energy.
Which two greenhouse gases in the troposphere are most significant?
The most significant greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, methane, and water vapor (surface-level ozone, nitrous oxides, and fluorinated gases also trap infrared radiation to a lesser extent).
What are the two main factors contributing the most CO2 to the atmosphere?
Natural sources of carbon dioxide include most animals, which exhale carbon dioxide as a waste product. Human sources of carbon dioxide include human activities.
Which two gases have had the biggest impacts on global warming?
In fact, the main greenhouse gas causing global warming is carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels; however, other greenhouse gases, such as methane, nitrous oxide, and a number of industrial-process gases, also play a significant role in climate change.
What two gases are significant?
Our atmosphere is primarily composed of nitrogen and oxygen, with 78% of it being nitrogen and 21% being oxygen. The remaining 1% is primarily composed of argon, carbon dioxide, and a few other gases, including hydrogen, helium, neon, krypton, xenon, methane, ozone, and water vapour.
What gas is most prevalent in the lower three atmosphere layers?
Dry air is composed of about 78% nitrogen (N2) and about 21% oxygen (O2), with less than 1% of the atmosphere being a mixture of gases, including argon (Ar) and carbon dioxide (CO2). Nitrogen and oxygen are by far the most prevalent gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.
What components make up the lower atmosphere?
From largest to smallest, the Earth’s atmosphere is composed of nitrogen, oxygen, argon, CO2, and trace gases, with the troposphere being the lowest atmosphere layer and containing 75% of the atmosphere’s mass.
What are the planet’s two main heat sources?
The flow of heat from Earth’s interior to the surface is estimated to be 47 2 terawatts (TW) and comes from two main sources in roughly equal amounts: the primordial heat left over from Earth’s formation and the radiogenic heat produced by the radioactive decay of isotopes in the mantle and crust.
Quiz: Name the two main sources of heat inside the Earth.
The heat that remains inside the Earth from its creation and radioactive decay are the two main causes of internal heat.
What are the two lower atmospheric layers?
The troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, and exosphere are the major layers, in order from lowest to highest.
What are the lower atmosphere’s two layers?
The troposphere and stratosphere, the two lowest layers of the atmosphere, are where the majority of significant atmospheric processes occur.
Which two atmospheric layers are the hottest?
The thermosphere is often considered the “hot layer” because it contains the warmest temperatures in the atmosphere. Temperature increases with height until the estimated top of the thermosphere at 500 km.
Which one of these gases is present in the lower atmosphere?
Our planet’s air is made up of 79 percent nitrogen and just under 21 percent oxygen; the small amount that is left is made up of carbon dioxide and other gases. This layer, known as the lower atmosphere, is where weather occurs and where humans breathe.