An effect occurring in greenhouses in which radiant heat from the sun passes through the glass and, trapped inside by the glass, warms the contents. The term came to apply to an analogous effect on the Earth's atmosphere in which carbon dioxide and other gases in the atmosphere absorb the infrared radiation emitted by the Earth's surface through being exposed to solar ultraviolet radiation. As a result, the Earth's mean temperature rises.
The total amount of carbon dioxide present in the Earth's atmosphere remained nearly constant until the 20th century, when the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, fuel oil, gasoline, and natural gas began to release large quantities of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Variations in the amounts of carbon dioxide and water vapor in the air can therefore have a significant effect on how much heat is retained by the atmosphere. Some scientists believe that, as the greenhouse effect is intensified, long-term climatic changes on the Earth will result, such as new patterns and extremes of drought and rainfall, which would seriously disrupt food production. Temperature increases in the polar regions could be as much as three times greater than the global estimate, which would cause the polar ice caps to melt at a rapid rate and result in appreciably higher coastal waters.
Other factors may reduce the effect of an increase in carbon dioxide and thus prevent a rise in temperature. One of these factors is the rise in the amount of dust in the atmosphere, as the result of a volcanic eruption, for example. This could lead to greater reflection of the sun's light by the atmosphere, which would tend to lower the temperature on Earth. Another factor helping to minimize the effect of increased amounts of carbon dioxide is the greater absorption of the gas by the oceans. Some scientists believe that water vapor plays a much more significant role than does carbon dioxide in the Earth's greenhouse effect and that fluctuations in it are therefore much more important.
This website is best viewed with the latest
Internet Explorer or
makes extensive use of
Flash and Scripting in its pages and interface. Make certain your browser
permissions are set
accordingly and that you have the latest
Flash plug-in for the full experience, proper look and accurate
layout. You can do it with confidence. This site does not contain any viruses, malicious software
Occultopedia is the genuine article, the
original and the best internet index of the extraordinary and uncanny,
shamelessly copied by many, but never equaled. Online since 1995 at first in a free web space provider
(Tripod.com), and in 1997 finally
with its own domain name and hosting Occultopedia still is the
principal online resource for those looking for the unexplained, the
curious and the unusual.
Occultopedia respects your privacy. As
such, no cookies or any other tracking software will be installed as a
part of this website's original programming. I do not seek to obtain any personal information
beyond what is volunteered through electronic communications
(e.g. emails & forms).
Occultopedia may appear to be a for profit site, but my site is
not in reality a commercial one. All of the commercial links are from affiliate
programs, and the little revenue I get from these is to pay for hosting,
bandwidth that can be quite costly if you have a lot of traffic, graphics and
pages and any other expenses related to Occultopedia's upkeep, support, and maintenance.
For more details, visit my
Occultopedia is a
resource available to the whole world. Usage of my word definitions and articles
by educational institutions, teachers and students alike, is here by granted.
Reproduction for profit, and for display in another web site is strictly
forbidden, and will be handled as copyright infringement and prosecuted to the
full extent of the law. However, if you follow
some simple guidelines,
I will grant permission for limited reproduction. For more information, please consult my
intellectual property rights, warranties and
disclaimers information page. Support Occultopedia and make it your
destination. If you prefer, you can also make a donation.
HELP FOOT THE BILL: this website
is created and maintained by one guy, who also pays the hosting bill.
Please donate if you like and/or use Occultopedia.
Participate in Occultopedia and submit a word
definition or article for the occult encyclopedia at my
page. If you would like to suggest a web site or page for
addition into Occultopedia's links database, please go to my
URL submission page.