1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Greenhouse effect affected by Earths Gravity?

  1. Oct 4, 2015 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Hey, so I was thinking how the atmosphere is held close to earth due to gravity and realized that if certain molecules have a certain amount of kinetic energy, they are bound to leave the atmosphere correct? I mean there is an escape velocity that these molecules must need and I'm sure molecules escape the atmosphere daily.

    So my question is, is there some kind of counter acting force that occurs to the greenhouse effect due to gravity? From my understanding, the greenhouse effect occurs when heat radiation from the earth hits green house gases effectively heating up the earth. But what I mean by counter acting force is that since these gases heat up, they seem to have a higher kinetic energy, as they bounce through different molecules, eventually molecules on the outer atmosphere are going to have more kinetic energy due to the transfer of kinetic energy from the collisions and the continuous heat radiation from earth attributing to this. So these molecules with higher kinetic energy are going to leave the atmosphere, thus reducing the average kinetic energy of the earth's atmosphere correct? So isn't there some value of molecules that leave the atmosphere due to the increased kinetic energy that lowers the average temperature of the atmosphere? I'm sure this number is minuscule, but it surely must exist right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2015 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook