Asked in Seasons

Does carbon dioxide and water vapor help prevent energy from escaping from earth?


Wiki User

Yes. Water vapor and carbon dioxide form layers in the atmosphere, absorbing heat (infrared radiation) near the Earth instead of allowing it to go off into space. You can experience it yourself by comparing the temperature during an overcast night with the temperature on a clear night.

(This is one reason a desert can be hot in the daytime but extremely cold at night, as there are few clouds and little water vapor to trap the Earth's re-radiated energy.)