Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Basic Science


April 25, 2019

Carbon dioxide is the thermostat of earth’s atmosphere. That was demonstrated by John Tyndall, a British physicist, in experiments done in his laboratory in the 1850s. Using a relatively simple apparatus, he showed infrared radiation (heat) passes through oxygen and nitrogen gases unimpeded, whereas carbon dioxide, even in low concentrations, absorbs heat. Light energy from the sun [a spectrum of wavelengths] passes to the earth’s surface with little absorption, bringing the energy that is transformed into heat at the earth’s surface. Carbon dioxide then traps it, hence, the name “g...

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