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Greenhouse Effect

  1. Aug 24, 2011 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I learned that the solar radiation entering the atmosphere heats up the earth's surface and the heat then radiates from the surface to the rest of the atmosphere. Is the greenhouse effect mostly dependent on the heat radiating from the surface, or do the greenhouse gases absorb a good quantity of heat as well when the solar rays move through the atmosphere?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Since the solar rays have to pass through a good amount of atmosphere to get to the surface, it seems like a lot of radiation would be absorbed by the gases en route.
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2011 #2


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    This http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenhouse_effect" [Broken] you can believe vis-a-vis the mechanism of the greenhouse effect.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 5, 2017
  4. Aug 24, 2011 #3


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    There are different wavelengths at work. Radiation passing through the atmosphere on its way down is not absorbed, while radiation emitted up by the Earth surface is absorbed, hence the difference.

    Please note that greenhouse effect is a part of controversial topic of global warming, temporarily banned from PF. That means - depending on how the thread evolves - we may have to close it.
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