The difference?July 3 2012 at 9:00 PM
Vince (Login MoxiFox)
Response to Question here...
trapping implies a situation from which there is no escape. If CO2 traps heat, it implies that the heat it traps never escapes from the entrapment and consequently, heat will keep building and building, resulting in incredibly high temperatures.
A sponge absorbs water until it's saturated and then it absorbs no more.
CO2 absorbs heat from certain wavelengths of infrared radiation that strike it and warms up itself. Even while it's warming up, it's releasing heat via radiation of a different wavelength than it received.
This might sound a bit complicated but think of it this way ...
You have a burner on a stove glowing cherry red. It's emitting infrared at a fairly high frequency and short wave length. You put a cold frying pan on the burner and it "traps" heat for a while ... but then it heats up and begins to radiate heat at a lower infrared frequency with a longer wavelength. (short wavelengths are "brighter" light; long wavelengths are dimmer light ... sort of. It's the color that makes the wavelength difference though). Over time ... the pan emits exactly as much heat as it receives ... via infrared radiation.
... would you say that the pan absorbing heat is exactly the same thing as saying the pan traps heat?