Radiation and Global Warming

Global warming (also called the greenhouse effect) describes a gradual rise in air temperature in the lower layers of the earth’s atmosphere.

The greenhouse is made entirely of glass. When sunlight (shortwave radiation) hits the glass, most of it passes through and heats the plants, soil and air inside the greenhouse. These objects emit heat as they heat up, but these heat waves have longer wavelengths than rays from the sun. This long-wave radiation cannot pass easily through the glass, it is irradiated back into the greenhouse and everything inside is heated.


The term greenhouse effect is used to describe the effect of certain gases on the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere under normal conditions.

Sunlight (shortwave radiation) easily passes through the Earth’s atmosphere. After it hits the earth’s surface and heats up, long-wave radiation radiates and returns to the atmosphere. Although some of this long-wave radiation or heat escapes into space, most is absorbed or captured by carbon dioxide and other gases present in small amounts in the atmosphere. Thus, these gases form a “blanket” that keeps the earth on average It’s 33 degrees it would be warmer if this greenhouse effect did not occur. Without these gases, the whole planet would be an icy steppe with an average temperature 16 degrees hot below the frost!


The growth of the human population and the consequent expansion of industry have led to more air pollution and changes in the composition of the earth’s atmosphere. Some pollutants increase the natural greenhouse effect, resulting in an increase in global atmospheric temperature.


* Many countries are reluctant to cope with the costly changes needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, given the uncertainties surrounding the exact effects of global warming.

* The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere will double in about 60 years from the pre-industrial concentration.

* In the next century, sea levels are expected to rise by 60 mm every decade.

* Two-thirds of South Africa’s population uses coal as a source of energy. Providing these people with electricity will result in a net reduction in CO2 emissions as a result of increased overall energy efficiency.


Reducing greenhouse gas emissions requires greater energy efficiency. Industrialists and governments play a key role here. What can an individual do?

– Reduce electricity consumption.

– Use elevator clubs, public transport, bicycles or your feet for transportation.

– Reduce energy, reuse, recycle and save – the production of all products requires energy.