What is the runaway greenhouse effect?

The Inner Solar System Read more from
Chapter The Solar System

On Venus, the greenhouse effect “ran away.” The heat trapped by the Venusian atmosphere caused the surface temperature to get so high that the rocky crust began to release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide. The atmospheric insulation consequently became even thicker, which caused more heat to be trapped, which caused the temperature to rise higher still, which caused even more greenhouse gases to be released. After finally reaching thermal equilibrium, Venus is now the inferno we see today.


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