What is Greenhouse gas ?


A Greenhouse gas ( GHG ) is a gas in an atmosphere that absorbs and emits radiation within the thermal infrared range.
Many chemical compounds present in Earth’s atmosphere acts as ‘ greenhouse gases ‘.
These are gases which allow direct sunlight to reach the Earth’s surface.
When more greenhouse gas reaches the atmosphere : –
  • the average temperature of the Earth increases which leads to Global Warming.
We are emitting more and more GHG’s ( Greenhouse Gas ) since the beginning of the Industrial revolution.
This all happens because : –
  •  GHG’s trap heat.

There are many GHG’s in the atmosphere in the atmosphere but the major ones are : –
    • CO2
    • CH4 ,and
    • Nitrous oxide.
The sources and causes of Greenhouse gas effect are  : –
  • All the human activities
  • Fossil fuel combustion
  • Land use usage
  • Increasing intensive agriculture
  • Overpopulation
  • Deforestation which leads to increase in carbon content
  • Industrialization
  • Vehicles 

These are some of the primary causes for the increase of GHG’s in the atmosphere.


Other Greenhouse gases found in the atmosphere are :

                                                                      What is Greenhouse gas ?

The main Greenhouse Gases are :

  1. CO2
  2. CH4
  3. N2O
  4. F-Gases or Fluorinated gases
  5. Water vapour

Carbon dioxide enters the atmosphere through burning of : –

  • Fossil fuels ( coal , natural gas and oil )
  • Solid waste
  • Trees and
  • Wood products and
  • By results of certain chemical reactions.


Methane is emitted during the production and transport of coal ,natural gas and oil.

Methane has tiny proportion in the atmosphere but has higher warming potential.


Nitrous Oxide is emitted during : –

  • Agricultural and industrial activities.
  • Combustion of fossil fuels and
  • Solid waste.

‘ F-Gases ‘ are a family of man made gases used in a range of industrial applications.

These gases often substitutes for ozone-depleting substances.

This is because they do not damage the atmospheric ozone layer.


Water vapor is not a potent gas i.e heat trapping gas.


There are 2 main reasons why CO2 gets all the attention : –

  • It has caused most of the warming.
  • CO2 adds more quickly to the atmosphere than other gases.
  • It is more abundant.
  • CO2 remains for 100’s of years which is much longer than other greenhouse gases .

The emissions today we release from : –

  • Plants and
  • Vehicles will decide the climate change for our future generation.
  • We should limit the human activities.


The major advantage for the presence of CO2 in the atmosphere is that :

‘ Greenhouse Gases causes global warming but their absence will make the Earth cold due to which survival is not possible so CO2 is somehow important for us.


  1. Fossil fuels consumed by agricultural machinery cause emissions.
  2. Cattle produce methane during their digestion process.
  3. When rice is grown in flooded fields , the soil organic matter decomposes in the absence of oxygen producing methane.
  4. When nitrogen is added to the soil as fertilizer, nitrous oxide is produced naturally as an intermediate step in nitrification.

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