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Question Video: Recalling the Type of Radiation Trapped by Greenhouse Gases Science • Second Year of Preparatory School

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Which type of radiation is trapped by greenhouse gases in the troposphere?

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Video Transcript

Which type of radiation is trapped by greenhouse gases in the troposphere? (A) 𝛾, (B) infrared, (C) ultraviolet, (D) X-ray, (E) radio.

Greenhouse gases are gases found in the atmosphere both naturally and through human activity. Some examples of greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide, water vapor, methane, and nitrogen oxides. There are many gases in our atmosphere, but not all of these gases are greenhouse gases. Greenhouse gases are gases that contribute towards the greenhouse effect.

When direct sunlight shines through the glass of a greenhouse, the air inside the greenhouse heats up. The Earth’s temperature increases in a similar, though slightly more complicated, way. Visible light and ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from the Sun move through the atmosphere. Some of this radiation is reflected back into space by the atmosphere and Earth’s surface. And some of the ultraviolet radiation is absorbed by the ozone layer in the stratosphere. But some of the UV radiation and visible light is absorbed by the Earth’s surface.

Some of the radiation absorbed by the Earth is then emitted as infrared, or IR, radiation. Most of this IR radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases in the troposphere, the lowest region of the atmosphere. The energy is then released from the gas molecules as thermal energy. So the IR radiation remains trapped in the troposphere and warms the Earth.

From this, we can see that the type of radiation that is trapped by greenhouse gases in the troposphere is IR radiation, or infrared radiation, emitted by the Earth, answer choice (B).

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