Greenhouse gases


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Terms & Synonyms

Greenhouse gases

Official WHO Definition

Those gases in the atmosphere which absorb and emit radiation at specific wavelengths within the spectrum of infrared radiation emitted by the Earth’s surface, the atmosphere and clouds (WHO et al. 2003).

Water vapour, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane and ozone are the primary greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Moreover, there are a number of entirely human-made gases in the atmosphere, such as the halocarbons and others dealt with under the Montreal and Kyoto Protocols (WHO et al. 2003).

Other Definitions

Those gases which when released into the atmosphere contribute to the greenhouse effect and global warming. Among them are carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons and nitrous oxide.


Interpretations and Explanations


WHO, WMO and UNEP (2003) Climate change and human health: Risks and responses

WHO Lexicon page (translations and examples)

See also

External Resources


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