Global warming potential is a measurement, based around CO2, of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere. It is often abbreviated GWP. Because the scale is based around carbon dioxide, CO2 has a value of 1. The higher the GWP, the more heat a gas traps, so the higher the GWP the more harm it has on the climate.
The chart below does not take into account the complicated factors involved on how long a gas stays in the atmosphere. This is a significant effect, for example CO2 has a much longer residence time than methane, decreasing the gap between them of how much heat they will trap in their respective lifetimes.
|Gas||Chemical formula||Atmospheric lifetime (years)||GWP value|
*Calculating the atmospheric lifetime of CO2 is extremely complex. If you'd like to learn about it, click here.