RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY RUSSELL KIGHTLEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
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Greenhouse gases, computer artwork. Molecular models of carbon dioxide (red and white), methane (white and green) and water (red and green). Each molecule is surrounded by van der Waals radii. The build-up of these gases in the Earth's atmosphere traps an increased amount of solar radiation and leads to a gradual warming of the whole planet. The gases are a result of industry, the burning of fossil fuels, modern agricultural methods and deforestation. Global warming is expected to cause massive changes in weather patterns and a rise in sea level, due to polar ice melting, that could flood coastal regions.
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