What Is the Greenhouse Effect

What is the Greenhouse Effect?
How does Earth manage to stay warm and sustain life instead of the other planets in our solar system that are just cold and desolate?   Well, this phenomenon is referred to as the Greenhouse Effect.   Although the greenhouse effect was named because of its similarity to how and actual greenhouse works, they are different.   The way a greenhouse works is that the sun’s rays pass through the glass and then the rays bounce around inside the greenhouse.   Since there is limited airflow inside a greenhouse, the trapped rays increase the temperature inside causing it to warm up.   The Greenhouse Effect is similar but very different.   Yes, the sun’s rays travel to Earth and reach the surface which warms the planet.   These rays are referred to as solar radiation or simply, sunlight.   When the solar rays reach our planet’s surface, some of the rays are absorbed which warms things and also raises the temperature.   Not all the energy is absorbed.
The rays that are not absorbed are reflected back towards space.   The energy that is omitted back is referred to as thermal or infrared radiation.   As this radiation is heading back towards space, gasses in our atmosphere absorb this energy and reflect it back in all directions including back down to the Earth’s surface.   By absorbing this energy just like a greenhouse, this process continues to warm the atmosphere and the planet.   This process is what we call the greenhouse effect.
There are four main categories of gasses that contribute to the greenhouse effect which are also referred to as greenhouse gasses.   Those are Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Nitrous Oxide (N2O), Methane (CH4) and Other.   Even though nitrous oxide and methane are both more powerful than carbon dioxide, carbon dioxide is the largest contributor to the greenhouse effect because it is much more abundant than the other gasses.   Carbon dioxide is produced by burning of fossil fuels and can stay in the atmosphere about 100 years.   Methane is...