Up in the air

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The greenhouse gases occur in small amounts in the Earth's atmosphere, yet they have an important role to play in keeping the Earth's surface warm and able to sustain life. Since the industrial revolution (about 150 years ago), human activities have led to an increase in the emission of greenhouse gases.  An increase in these gases in the atmosphere means the atmosphere allows less heat to escape to space, leading to an increase in the average temperature of the Earth's surface.