Greenhouse Effect

Greenhouse Effect - Greenhouse Effect Global Climate the...

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Greenhouse Effect
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Global Climate: the Earth's thermostat For at least the past 1/2 billion years, the temperature of Earth's atmosphere has remained close to 25 C. Why? The "greenhouse effect" Certain constituents of Earth's atmosphere are opaque to infrared radiation. Most important: H 2 O and CO 2 The atmosphere is mostly transparent to solar radiation, which heats the ground.
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The ground re-radiates this heat as infrared, which is partially blocked by the opacity of greenhouse gasses. The role of H 2 O is complex - the most important greenhouse gas, but clouds, etc. More CO 2 -> more trapping of heat -> warmer temperatures What is the thermostat? The carbon cycle:
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On timescales longer than 100,000 years or so, - CO 2 combines with H 2 O in air to form carbonic acid H 2 CO 3 - carbonic acid reacts with silicate minerals in rock (chemical weathering) - the products of weathering are transported to the oceans - where they are used by plankton to produce CaCO 3 (calcium carbonate) and SiO 2 (silica) shells
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