Which gases are greenhouse gases ?
How strong are they compared to Carbon Dioxide ?
The information in the table below is sourced from the following web-sites :
Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change by
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996),
MIT's JPSPGC Report 44
|Gas|| Formula ||Greenhouse|
|Carbon dioxide|| CO2||1|
|Carbon monoxide|| CO||3|
|Carbon tetrachloride|| CCl4||1,400|
|Nitrous oxide|| N2O||310|
|Nitrogen monoxide|| NO||40|
|Nitrogen dioxide|| NO2||40|
This table comes from UNFCCC's "Reporting guidelines on annual inventories"
When was the Greenhouse Effect discovered ?
The first person to realise that Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere traps heat
was the French mathematician Baron Fourier (born 1768).
The first calculation of a Greenhouse Effect due to increased levels of Carbon dioxide
was made by the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius in the 1890s -
he calculated that doubling CO2 levels would increase temperatures by 5°C.
He suggested that the effect would be more marked at high latitudes.
He also concluded that low Carbon dioxide levels had brought on the Ice Ages.
The idea that human activities could actually bring on a Greenhouse Effect was first
put forward by the British scientist G.S. Callendar in 1938.
The American oceanographers Roger Revelle and David Keeling began monitoring
Carbon dioxide levels at the Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii, in 1957 as part of the International Geophysical Year.
This record has been a vital source of data for investigating the Greenhouse Effect.
Other methods have pushed the data backward in history :
This represents mean 2005 temperatures relative to mean of 1951-1980 :
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