When sun’s rays come to the earth, about 30% of their energy is reflected back into space by surfaces such as clouds, ice and snow. The rest stays nearby, heating the oceans and continents, which eventually release the heat into the atmosphere and from there into space.
However, with global warming, there is a barrier in the atmosphere in gaseous form, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, which emits heat and reflects it to the ground instead of leaving it in space. The more gases in the atmosphere, the more heat there is on Earth.
What happens in global warming is very similar to what happens in a greenhouse, where the sun’s rays heat the interior, while the glass walls of the roof prevent that heat from escaping completely. This is why global warming is also known as the greenhouse effect and the gases involved are referred to as greenhouse gases .
Global warming is not just about increasing the temperature of land and sea, making days and nights warmer. It’s about what happens when those temperatures rise. For example, the increase in sea temperature release more water vapor into the air over the ocean.
As hurricanes form, they absorb this increased vapor, creating a more intense storm.In some northern areas, rising temperatures may actually produce a cooling effect as snow and ice melt and seawater cool, which is currently having a dampening effect in those areas. Global warming also means that dry areas will be drier for longer periods of time each year, and that other areas may become drier.