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Greenhouse Gases

BSB History conservation education online Greenhouse gas: James Prescott Joule born 24 December 1818 died 11 October 1889. Joule was an English physicist. Joule studied the nature of heat, and discovered its relationship to mechanical work, how air and gases change life. He created the theory of conservation of energy, resulting in the first law of thermodynamics. A measurement of energy is the joule, a unit of energy / work, and the relationship of resistance and dissipating heat, both got his name in Joule and Joule's law BSB Conservation education online Science: chemistry, biology education on the internet: Greenhouse gases change earth climate. Greenhouse gas is fertilizer + heat reflector, food for plants, trapping warmth from Earth's sun, called Treibhausgas in German
Air chemistry:
78.05% nitrogen
20.95% oxygen
0.93% argon
0.039% carbon dioxide
0.00123% neon
0.0005% helium
0.000185% methane
0.000114% krypton
0.000055% hydrogen
0.000006% xenon
0.000005% ozone

This is a photo of the English physicist James Joule 1818 - 1889
How does heat and mechanical work combine,
how does electrical current effect heat emission,
these were questions James Joule wanted to have answers to.
His theory of conservation of energy resulted in the first law of thermodynamics.
So, when you hear the word 'joule' today, his name was used to name the unit of energy or work.

Why did we start our information about greenhouse gases with this man?
It's all about measuring energy:
A) Energy sent by the sun
B) Energy reflected by the earth
C) Energy absorbed by greenhouse gases

To give answers we need to compare the absorption rates of the different gases, gases that are part of Earth's atmosphere.

BSB Science Air chemistry online classes on Greenhouse gases: Distant learning: greenhouse gases absorb and reflect differently, change earth temperatures
Major Greenhouse Gases = GHGs

1) water vapor H2O a major player
2) ozone O3
3) carbon dioxide CO2
4) methane CH4
5) nitrous oxide N2O

All these gases are naturally present
in the Earth's atmosphere.

Other GHGs are synthetic chemicals
emitted through human activity.
And humans add natural GHGs by burning fossil fuels.
In the last 100 years human activities
- scientists call that anthropogenic -
have added huge amounts of GHGs
increasing atmospheric GHGs concentrations!

Bear Springs Blossom Conservation education air chemistry online: As sun light is caught in a greenhouse, so greenhouse gases will stay in a greenhouse, the German word is Treibhaus. Earths atmosphere acts like the walls of a greenhouse
As sun light is caught in a greenhouse,
so greenhouse gases will stay in a greenhouse.
Earth's atmosphere acts like the walls of a greenhouse!
BSB online conservation education on greenhouse gases, gases can reflect heat warming up Earth
Graphic of carbon dioxide molecule CO2 Kohlendioxyd
Chemistry education online: graphic of respiration of carbon dioxide intake Oxygen intake by humans Carbon dioxide (CO2), the most significant GHG directly affected by anthropogenic activity, is the product of the oxidation of carbon in organic matter, either through combustion of carbon-based fuels or the decay of biomass.
When volcanoes erupt, the respiration of organic matter in natural ecosystems, all natural fires, and the exchange of dissolved CO with the oceans are called 'natural CO sources'.
Please remember how many humans have lived on Earth 100 years ago ...
Now think about how often humans have to breath in oxygen a day ...
Continue to imagine that humans have to breath out too - its carbon dioxide CO2
Take your calculator and multiply the amount of CO2 humans had to breath out 100 years ago.
Write down the amount of CO2
Type in the number of humans that live today and multiply again.
Write the number under the other amount -
Now imagine the difference and think about why some humans tell you, that humans have no influence on the amount of CO2 in the air...
Don't stop thinking:
Do 7 billion humans need more food, more homes, more transportation than 1.65 billion in the year 1900?
Check how many greenhouse gases are emitted by producing meat.
Check how many greenhouse gases are emitted by changing forest into homes
Check how many greenhouse gases are emitted when driving a car.
If you want to have the exact amounts, multiply again with the population numbers from 1900 and today!

Look at the main anthropogenic sources:
1) fossil fuel combustion - it took millions of years to produce fossil fuel, but we burn them fast
2) deforestation - 80% of Earth's forests are cut down
3) land use changes - reducing the ability to store carbon
3a) converting to agricultural land
3b) converting forests to urban development
3c) burning wood - releasing carbon
CO2 emitted from combustion of fossil fuel cycles between the atmosphere and land and ocean 'sinks' = carbon storage reservoirs, which are absorbing a large fraction of these carbon emissions. We know the amount these sinks can absorb is limited, how much was never tested during human history. We are quite sure that these carbon sinks will delay the volatile outcome, and we know that human actions have altered Earth's radioactive balance.
Environmental online conservation education air chemistry: air pollution from coal fired power-plants kills over 12000 Americans a year, man made chemicals can harm humans and wildlife
The rate at which land and ocean sinks take up carbon will determine what fraction of man-made CO2 emissions remain in the atmosphere and alter Earth's radiative balance.
Earth exists on a dynamic balance of biological and inorganic processes. Action and reaction change Earth's atmosphere on very different time scales ranging from months to geological epochs.
For quite a while, ongoing, human intervention in the carbon cycle is disturbing Earth's natural balance.
Bear Springs Blossom air chemistry conservation education online: man-made changes in CO2 over the last decades show the rise of greenhouse gases
Can you see a trend?
Atmospheric CO2 concentrations are rising rapidly. With the help of isotope analysis we can say that CO2 levels are significantly higher than any levels that have existed in the past 650,000 years.
BSB Conservation education Science Chemistry online: Nitrous oxide, commonly known as happy gas or laughing gas, is a chemical compound with the chemical formula N2O. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a pleasant, slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effects Nitrous oxide, often called laughing gas, is a chemical compound with the chemical formula N2O. At room temperature, it is a colorless non-flammable gas, with a pleasant, slightly sweet odor and taste. It is used in surgery and dentistry for its anesthetic and analgesic effects. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is produced by fertilizer use, animal waste management, fossil fuel combustion, industrial activities, and emitted from ecosystems as a by-product of nitrification and denitrification.
As a greenhouse gas it is quite potent, but good for us, the amounts are not as high.
Bear Springs Blossom conservation education on Greenhouse gas: Learn to understand Earth's environment! Learn online with BSB internet education. Ozone is created by sun's energetic UV rays, dividing 02 in o, leaving the o looking for a connection resulting in 03
Without the protecting ozone layer in the stratosphere, life on Earth's landmasses wouldn't exist as we know it.
But human activities create ozone close to Earth's surface, changing the balance, absorbing UV rays, warming the atmosphere.
ozone has the chemical formula o3
BSB Environmental Science: graphic of methane molecule CH4
Methane CH4 is produced by anaerobic - what means without air -
decay of organic material in landfills, wetlands, and rice fields.
Cattle, goats, and sheep produce methane in their intestines.
Animals and human manure releases methane
Waste-water treatment facilities
Combustion of fossil fuels
Natural gas and petroleum systems
Coal mines and other mines.
The biggest release of methane is expected through methane ice, now buried under the ocean floors,
and through thawing of Permafrost
BSB Environmental education online + environmental studies show many different greenhouse gases absorb and reflect, change and emit Earth's weather, endanger flora, fauna, humans
Methane (CH4) is a greenhouse gas that remains in the atmosphere for approximately 9-15 years.
Methane is 21 times more effective in absorbing light from the sun that is not visible to the human eye. This light has a high energy resulting in great heat.
Methane is also a primary constituent of natural gas and an important energy source. Burning methane in the presence of oxygen produces carbon dioxide and water.
Science history classes online: painting of Alessandro Volta , an Italian who discovered methane 1777
Another famous man discovered and isolated methane a long time ago.
This is a photo of Alessandro Volta in 1777.
At this time 745 nmol/mol = parts per billion, methane was in the air.
By 2010, methane levels, in the Arctic, were measured at 1850 nmol/mol,
a level scientists described as being higher than at
any time in the previous 400,000 years. 

Gases in earth atmosphere: chart of methane history, see the trend of changing air ingredients, update your knowledge on aerosols. German scientists have proven that Methane is a very strong Treibhausgas
Historically, methane concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere have ranged between 300 and 400 nmol/mol during glacial periods commonly known as ice ages, and between 600 to 700 nmol/mol during the warm interglacial periods.
conservation education online: chart of methane rise in the last decades When atmospheric GHG concentrations increase, Earth temporarily traps infrared radiation more efficiently, so the natural radiative balance is disturbed until its surface temperature rises to restore equilibrium between incoming and outgoing radiation. Earth's oceans have a huge capacity to store heat, so it will take a while before we get dramatic changes.
BSB Conservation nature education explains why air is life, clouds are air with water vapor - without air humans cannot exist
Humans and all mammals need healthy air to survive!

Air and water vapor = clouds
Water vapor is also a greenhouse gas

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