Greenhouse Information

Energy from the heats the earth’s surface; in turn, the earth radiates energy back into space. Atmospheric greenhouse gases (water vapor, carbon dioxide, and other gases) trap some of the outgoing energy, retaining heat somewhat like a greenhouse. This natural effect keeps the earth’s average temperature at about 60°F and allows life as we know it to flourish. However, increases in atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases have enhanced the heat-trapping capability of the earth’s atmosphere. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased nearly 30%. Scientists generally believe that the combustion of fossil fuels and other human activities are the primary reason for the increased concentration of carbon dioxide. Energy consumption is responsible for about 80% of society's carbon dioxide emissions. Increased agriculture, deforestation, landfills, industrial production, and mining also are mojor contributors.

The graph shown provides information about the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide since 1960, measured in parts per million.