Why are some gases Greenhouse gases while some are not?

I did search this on the net but didn't get any clearcut/credible answers.

What exactly is the property that is common among Ozone, Water Vapour, CFC and Methane?

  • $\begingroup$ There is "no" ammonia in earth atmosphere ; maybe a concern on some other planet. $\endgroup$ – blacksmith37 Oct 29 '19 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it belongs on the earth science stack $\endgroup$ – John Oct 30 '19 at 1:28
  • $\begingroup$ @John - I would suggest Physics as the most appropriate for the precise physical mechanisms involved in the Greenhouse Effect, ie the ways molecules absorb and emit EMR and why different molecules respond differently. Other factors, like relative quantities and processes that cycle particular elements and compounds through the atmosphere would be in the realm of Earth Science. Chemistry... even though it has some relevance I'm not sure it would be the best. $\endgroup$ – Ken Fabian Oct 31 '19 at 23:10
  • $\begingroup$ @KenFabian climatics, weather, and climate change are all solidly within earth science. earth science =/= geology. also the earth science stack already has questions and answers about this. $\endgroup$ – John Nov 1 '19 at 0:42

This is better suited for the Chemistry site, but there are two reasons. 1) The gas allows visible light to pass, but blocks infrared. (Which has to do with the nature of the bonds between atoms &c.) 2) It exists in the atmosphere in sufficient quantity to have an effect, which ammonia doesn't: https://www.livescience.com/57305-ammonia-detected-in-atmosphere.html It's quite reactive, so ammonia that's released from e.g. fertilizers or urine doesn't stay around long.

  • $\begingroup$ less good for chemistry, but a good fit for earth science stack, which covers climatology. $\endgroup$ – John Oct 30 '19 at 1:28
  • $\begingroup$ @John: I meant better for Chemistry to answer the question of whether ammonia (or any gas) does block infrared wavelengths, and if so, why it does. To be an effective GHG, it has to block outgoing IR while letting visible wavelengths in, and IF it does, there has to be enough in the atmosphere to have a significant effect. $\endgroup$ – jamesqf Oct 30 '19 at 19:15

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