greenhouse gassesAir and Climate

The Earth’s atmosphere is the reason that life can exist on our planet. The atmosphere keeps water, which all life is dependent on, in our closed system. The atmosphere, which is comprised of various gases, also keeps Earth’s temperature within a range that makes the planet habitable by living organisms. These gases are constantly utilized by all life on the planet. The concentration of various gases has fluctuated throughout the history of the planet. Until recently, these fluctuations have occurred at relatively slow rates. As a result of the industrial revolution, human beings have caused the rate of change of atmospheric gases to accelerate through land use change and burning fossil fuels. By converting natural systems to agriculture and buildings, and by burning fossil fuels for energy, we have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These gases include carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrogen oxides in the atmosphere. This increase in greenhouse gases has caused more of the Sun’s energy to be trapped within our atmosphere and temperature of the Earth to increase at an unprecedented rate.

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