Yes, water vapor really is a greenhouse gas because it absorbs heat and emits radiation in the thermal infrared range. It is just as much a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide and methane.
Greenhouse gases are simply gases that emit radiation at the thermal infrared level.
Yes, water is actually a very abundant greenhouse gas. Below is how much each gas contributes to the greenhouse affect:
* water vapor, which contributes 36–72%
* carbon dioxide, which contributes 9–26%
* methane, which contributes 4–9%
* ozone, which contributes 3–7%
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