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I'm interested in issues related to Global warming and therefore started to read about it from this website -->> link


As I was reading I got stuck in the third paragraph of What are Greenhouse gas ? section. It says

Secondly, CO2 tends to remain in the atmosphere for a very long time (time scales in the hundreds of years). Water vapor, on the other hand, can easily condense or evaporate, depending on local conditions. Water vapor levels therefore tend to adjust quickly to the prevailing conditions, such that the energy flows from the Sun and re-radiation from the Earth achieve a balance. CO2 tends to remain fairly constant and therefore behave as a controlling factor, rather than a reacting factor. More CO2 means that the balance occurs at higher temperatures and water vapor levels.

I do not understand the whole paragraph and also specially the controlling and reacting factor. Please help .Thankyou in advance.

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marked as duplicate by gansub, Fred, Pont, gerrit Apr 5 '17 at 13:45

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migrated from chemistry.stackexchange.com Apr 5 '17 at 12:17

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    $\begingroup$ You may get a better response at Earth Science, tell me if you would like it to be migrated. I'm not sure if those terms are used extensively in chemistry, personally I have not heard of them before. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Apr 5 '17 at 10:42
  • $\begingroup$ Yes,Please migrate it to earth science. $\endgroup$ – Yogesh Tripathi Apr 5 '17 at 10:53
  • $\begingroup$ I venture the guess that "reacting" means that the water concentration in air "reacts" quickly to other factors, whereas $\ce{CO_2}$ concentration is slower to respond, thus more of a factor that "controls" others. No chemical reaction involved at this level of description. $\endgroup$ – TAR86 Apr 5 '17 at 11:03