Discuss how the concept of global warming potential (GWP) can show the relative contributions of the different gases to the greenhouse effect.
Global warming potential (GWO) is a value which shows how, for a given change in volume of a greenhouse gas, there will be a net change in the downward flow of energy (radiative forcing) that is determined by the length of time the gas lasts in the atmosphere. For example, although water is a major greenhouse gas, it recycles quickly and water vapour does not stay in the atmosphere beyond a few days. Methane lasts around 12 years in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide lasts for several hundred years and though methane has a higher radiative force its shorter time in the amosphere reduces its GWP. Some flurocarbons have massive GWP values due to the length of time they last in the atmosphere.