Does the Earth’s atmosphere primarily behave like an actual greenhouse?
No. The term “greenhouse effect” is unfortunate since it often results in a totally false impression of the activity of so-called “greenhouse gases.” An actual greenhouse works as a physical barrier to convection (the transfer of heat by currents in a fluid) while the atmosphere facilitates convection. So-called “greenhouse gases” in the Earth’s atmosphere do not act as a barrier to convection so the impression of actual greenhouse-like activity in the Earth’s atmosphere is wrong.
Reality check: No one cares. People who feel man controls the Earth’s destiny don’t care what you call it, how it works, or even IF it works. They think we are God and all we have to do is snap our fingers and the billion years of evidence of constant global change will instantly stop at the most convenient temperature they deem necessary. And, until we do that, every single normal function of the Earth for the last billion years will simply be more evidence that we have not done what is necessary to stop that billion year cycle dead in its tracks. So next time, just enjoy your weekend.