Greenhouse gases

Greenhouse gases exist in the earth’s atmosphere and help making the earth habitable to humans, by keeping some of the heat from the sun trapped at the earths surface. This is called the greenhouse effect.

When more greenhouse gasses are added to the atmosphere, the greenhouse effect increases. This leads to global warming and climate change.

Night-Shining Clouds might be getting brighter due to higher levels of greenhouse gases. Source: NASA and Jan Erik Paulsen
Night-Shining Clouds might be getting brighter due to higher levels of greenhouse gases. Source: NASA and Jan Erik Paulsen

The most common greenhouse gas (GHG) is carbon dioxide (CO2). Two other greenhouse gases which are commonly discussed are methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), also known as laughing gas.

The global warming potential (GWP) of each greenhouse gas has been translated to the equivalent amount of warming that carbon dioxide cause, to make the gases comparable. In the table below you’ll find the warming potential of the most common greenhouse gases:

Gas

GWP

Carbon dioxide (CO2)

1

Methane (CH4)

25 – 28

Nitrous oxide (N2O)

265 – 298

HFC-23

12,400 – 14,800

HFC-134a

1,300 – 1,430

CF4 (PFC)

6,630 – 7,390

Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6)

23,500 – 22,800

Nitrogen trifluoride (NF3)

16,100 – 17,200

Source: IPCC 2007-2013

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