The Greenhouse effect is a natural process that maintains the Earth's temperature at levels that are hospitable to life.

Energy from the sun warms the Earth. The Earth absorbs heat from the sun and radiates it back into space in the form of infrared radiation. About one percent of the Earth's atmosphere is composed of greenhouse gases, which include water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone, methane and nitrous oxide.

Together, these gases reflect enough heat back to the earth to maintain an average atmospheric temperature of 60 degrees F.
Without the Greenhouse effect, the Earth would be a cold uninhabitable place. Mars, for example, has a thin atmosphere that supports virtually no greenhouse gases and has a temperature of -27 degrees F.

However, when the greenhouse gases accumulate in the atmosphere, the infrared radiation does not escape into space and the Earth's surface warms.

Since industrialization began about 150 years ago, human activity has contributed to the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.



Carbon Dioxide is the primary Greenhouse gas. The burning of Fossil Fuels, including coal, natural gas and oil, accounts for three quarters of the emissions that cause carbon dioxide buildup in the atmosphere. CO2 Last for 200 years in the atmosphere.

Trees breathe in carbon dioxide and clean the air of emissions. But when the trees decompose or are burned, they release the stored carbon back into the atmosphere. Deforestation contributes to carbon dioxide buildup.

Methane is the second most significant greenhouse gas. Methane is produced when bacteria decompose organic matter such as animal manure. Agriculture and the raising of livestock throughout the world contribute significantly to Methane emissions. Methane lasts for 12 years in the atmosphere.

Nitrous Oxide comes from Nitrogen based fetilizers and from burning Fossil Fuels. Nitrous Oxide lasts for 120 years.



The accumulation of these gases has put into play a vast array of complex reactions.

These include the melting of the glaciers, causing a rise in sea level. The melting also causes a desalination of the oceans, which leads to a disruption of the oceanic currents that have maintained the climate for over ten thousand years.

Add to that feedback loops, where we see that the melting of the permafrost in Northern Alaska and Siberia is sending methane emissions into the atmosphere. The disappearance of snow cover throughout the globe means heat is being absorbed into the Earth's surface rather than reflecting back into the atmosphere. Warming oceans are causing Coral Reef bleaching. Super storms, drought, species extinction, an array of symptoms will visit a warming planet.

A myriad of variables has made Climate Change prediction an imprecise science, allowing skeptics, hacks and cynics to focus on the imprecision that naturally exists whenever one tries to foretell the future.

In truth, many of the dire predictions about Global Warming from the last 20 years have come true sooner than imagined in the "worst case scenarios."

We have reached a "tipping point" ahead of schedule. The time to confront the issue is NOW.