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Why is it called the greenhouse effect?

The Story

What does the greenhouse effect have to do with a greenhouse? And how does it work? In this 1977 clip from CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks, popular science author Isaac Asimov tells us all about the greenhouse effect and how it could be warming up the Earth. He also explains why we should care. "This greenhouse effect can be very serious," says Asimov, "and it's something that we have to take into account." 

Medium: Radio
Program: Quirks & Quarks
Broadcast Date: May 21, 1977
Guest: Isaac Asimov
Host: David Suzuki
Duration: 4:58

Did You know?

• In 1977, the warming vs. cooling debate had begun winding down, with global warming dominating the discourse. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences released a study that year warning of a potentially catastrophic temperature rise in the next century. According to the American Institute of Physics' Spencer Weart, "The report, announced at a press conference during the hottest July the nation had experienced since the 1930s, was widely noted in the press."

• So from 1978 on, explained Weart, "nearly all articles on climate in the New York Times were oriented toward greenhouse warming (as opposed to cooling)."

• Russian-born Isaac Asimov was a prolific American scientist and writer, publishing more than 500 science fiction and popular science books. He died in 1992.


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