Water vapor acts like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, with merely a couple of structural changes. Greenhouse gases today are made up by 36-70% of water vapor, 9-26% carbon dioxide, 4-9% methane and 3-7% ozone.
Water vapor traps the heat that is radiated back from the Earth’s surface, by reacting with the infrared rays of the sun. This causes the molecule to vibrate and after a certain time it stops and emits radiation again which gets caught by another molecule. This absorption emission absorption effect keeps the surface warm.
It is quite natural to have this on our planet, but today we are dumping so much greenhouse gases into our atmosphere that the ecosystem can not filter out the excess, and thus it ends up in the air for longer than it should, causing the effects described above.
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