Global warming, illustration

Global warming, illustration

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Credit: CLAUS LUNAU/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Global warming. Illustration of the effect of greenhouse gases such as water (blue) and carbon dioxide (yellow) on the Earth's atmosphere. The Earth's surface heats up due to the energy of light from the Sun (yellow arrows). Greenhouse gases help retain this heat, because they absorb energy radiated away as infrared rays from the Earth's surface (red arrows), and re-radiate most of this energy back to the Earth (red arrows). The longer wavelength of the infrared rays is shown compared to the shorter wavelength of the sunlight. An increase in greenhouse gases, due to excessive production by humans (factory at lower left), is causing global temperatures to rise (anthropogenic global warming).

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