This chapter deepens the thermal balance of the Earth-Atmosphere System with respect to the balance between the incoming solar energy in the system and that the outgoing radiation heat. It introduces the concept of the greenhouse effect – analyzing the natural and the enhanced greenhouse effect – and outlines the role that the gases contained in the atmosphere have in determining the global average temperature of the Earth’s surface. It also introduces the concept of reaction and the important influence that it has in the evolution of thermal equilibrium of the Earth System. From the scientific evidence of global warming, also outline the requirements to mitigate the consequences of climate change and, given the long permanence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, to provide measures for adaptation to the effects of global heating.
KeywordsRadiation Solar energy Global mean energy balance Climate change Global warming Greenhouse gas Natural greenhouse effects Enhanced greenhouse effect Adaptation Mitigation
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