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Energy Glossary

Greenhouse Gas

Greenhouse gases have the capability of absorbing and reemitting infrared radiation. Greenhouse gases are transparent for the visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum. They cause the greenhouse effect of the earths atmosphere which leads - after a majority of researchers - to Global Warming.

Major Sources of the Main Greenhouse Gases

The listed sources contribute to a net increase of the atmospherical concentrations of the related greenhouse gases.

  • Carbon Dioxide / CO2:
    Burning of fossile fuels, cement industry, iron/steel production
  • Methane / CH4:
    Leaks in natural gas production/conversion sites and pipelines
  • Nitrous Oxide / N2O:
    Industrial agricultural methods (fertilizer usage)

Carbon dioxide production by man, animals and plants is part of the global carbon dioxide cycle which does not produce a net change of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It is a closed cycle of carbon dioxide production and carbon dioxide uptake (by plants) wich is driven by solar radiation via the process of photosynthesis.

Concentration of greenhouse gases / 2008 (CURRENT DATA)

The 2008 data provided in the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin Nov. 2009:

greenhouse gas increase from ca.1750->2008 atmos. concentration 2008 relative increase 2007->2008 relative green house effect
Carbon dioxide CO2 38 % 385.2 ppm 0.52 % 63.5 %
Methane CH4 157 % 1.797 ppm 0.38 % 18.2 %
Nitrous oxide N2O 19 % 0.322 ppm 0.28 % 6.2 %

FORMER DATA 2005

The 2005 data provided in the WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin 2006:

greenhouse gas increase from ca.1750->2005 atmos. concentration 2005 relative increase 2004->2005 relative green house effect
Carbon Dioxide CO2 45.4 % 379.1 ppm 0.53 % 62 %
Methane CH4 18.2 % 1.783 ppm 0 % 20 %
Nitrous Oxide N2O 154.7 % 0.319 ppm 0.19 % 6 %

2010-10-10 UPDATE of greenhouse conc./develop. data
2006-07-22 INIT

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