The Wenatchee World



The latest extended forecast from The Weather Channel

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Lo51° Mostly Cloudy


Hi78° Sunny

Sunday Night

Lo53° Clear


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Monday Night

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Tuesday Night

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So, what is the greenhouse effect?

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Practices that change the weather are not new. Hedgerows, rows of trees, act as windbreaks, preventing erosion and protecting young seedlings from damage. Planting vegetation stabilizes the soil against wind and water erosion, builds up nitrogen in the soil and reduces the atmospheric carbon dioxide by carbon fixation. Soil coverings, such as straw, black cloth and plastic absorb sunlight better and enables the soil to retain the heat. The coverings prevent rapid radiation from the soil enabling good seed germination, earlier growth of plants, prevent weed growth and soil erosion. But what is the “greenhouse effect”? The term is a misnomer because “greenhouse effect” is not the same as the energy exchange in a greenhouse. There is an interaction between the atmosphere and incoming radiation that insulates the Earth and radiates 90 percent of the energy back into space. If not for the shielding effect of the atmosphere, the earth would be 700 degrees Fahrenheit in day and minus 700 degrees at night. Energy from the sun comes in the form of light waves and some of the waves as they pass through the atmosphere are shortened to ultraviolet. Earth and water absorb the 10 percent and radiates the surface energy back into the atmosphere as infrared (heat). The atmosphere traps some of the heat and holds it. This is known as the greenhouse effect. When the atmosphere develops a high content of carbon dioxide and water vapor, it traps most of the infrared and increases the heat load around Earth. Other gases such as nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, methane and minor ones are also in the water vapor. This is pollution.

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