Correct Answer: Carbon dioxidethis radiation cannot freely escape into space because of absorption in the atmosphere by trace gases such as water vapor and carbon dioxide (CO2). These absorbing gases and their surrounding air warm up, emitting radiation downward, towards the Earth's surface, as well as upward, towards space. This effectively traps part of the IR radiation between ground and the lower 10 km of the atmosphere. This reduction in the efficiency of the Earth to lose heat causes the surface temperature to rise above the effective temperature calculated above (Te) until finally, enough heat is able to escape to space to balance the incoming solar radiation. The effect is analogous to that of a blanket that traps the body heat preventing it from escaping into the room and thus keeps us warm on cold nights.