greenhouse effect


Definition of greenhouse effect

: warming of the surface and lower atmosphere of a planet (such as Earth or Venus) that is caused by conversion of solar radiation into heat in a process involving selective transmission of short wave solar radiation by the atmosphere, its absorption by the planet's surface, and reradiation as infrared which is absorbed and partly reradiated back to the surface by atmospheric gases

Examples of greenhouse effect in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Less than one billion years ago, the climate dramatically changed due to a runaway greenhouse effect. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "Ice Fog, Quickie Thaw Next Week, Then Subzero Slap," 7 Jan. 2021 Despite being nearly identical in size to Earth, our sister world suffers from a choking greenhouse effect, a surface covered in permanent sulfuric acid clouds, and average temperatures hot enough to melt lead. Adam Mann, Wired, "The Steampunk Rover Concept That Could Help Explore Venus," 15 Dec. 2020 But the level is regulated by a mechanism that prevents the kind of runaway greenhouse effect found on Venus, where volcanoes spewed so much greenhouse gas into the atmosphere that water can only exist in gaseous form. Ruth Defries, WSJ, "Nature’s Guide to Building Resilient Systems," 10 Dec. 2020 The institute is located on bluffs overlooking UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which was once run by the late Roger Revelle, a legendary figure in early efforts by scientists to understand and quantify the greenhouse effect. Gary Robbins, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Amazon’s Jeff Bezos gives Salk Institute $30 million to help fight climate change," 17 Nov. 2020 When these carbon-rich ecosystems burn, vast amounts of heat-trapping gases are released back into the atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect. Ivana Kottasová, CNN, "The world's largest wetlands are on fire. That's a disaster for all of us," 13 Nov. 2020 In about a billion years, the sun will brighten up enough to boil away the oceans on Earth through a runaway greenhouse effect. Avi Loeb, Scientific American, "Living near a White Dwarf," 30 Oct. 2020 In the first sessions, U.K. academics explained climate science basics: the greenhouse effect, the impacts of rising temperatures. Cathleen O’grady, Science | AAAS, "Jury duty for global warming: citizen groups help solve the puzzle of climate action," 29 Oct. 2020 Conceivably, life could have arisen on Venus when our sister world was much more Earth-like, only becoming airborne as the runaway greenhouse effect rendered the planet’s surface uninhabitable. Adam Mann, Scientific American, "Venus Might Host Life, New Discovery Suggests," 14 Sep. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'greenhouse effect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of greenhouse effect

1907, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of greenhouse effect was in 1907

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Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Greenhouse effect.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for greenhouse effect

greenhouse effect


Kids Definition of greenhouse effect

: warming of the lower atmosphere of the earth that occurs when radiation from the sun is absorbed by the earth and then given off again and absorbed by carbon dioxide and water vapor in the atmosphere

More from Merriam-Webster on greenhouse effect

Nglish: Translation of greenhouse effect for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about greenhouse effect

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