Greenhouse gas

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A "greenhouse gas" contributes to the "greenhouse effect".

The most important greenhouse gas is water vapor. Also important are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone.[1]

The nature of a greenhouse gas is to pass visible light, i.e., incoming energy from the sun, but to be opaque to the infrared, i.e., heat energy being re-radiated outward from the earth's surface. This functions much like the glass on a man-made greenhouse, and serves to trap warmth at the surface and in the lower atmosphere.


References

  1. http://yosemite.epa.gov/oar/globalwarming.nsf/content/emissions.html