Atmosphere and Climate Notes (2).docx - Chapter 19 and 20...

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Chapter 19 and 20 Lichens are used as biological indicators of air pollution because they absorb air as a source of nourishment (high pollution causes gray-green crusty lichens or none) Because of gravity, sea level air is denser than mountain air Atmospheric pressure is the force or mass per unit area of air (decreases with altitude) The troposphere is the earth’s lowest, thinnest layer with 75-80% of its air mass (78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen) o Responsible for weather and climate o Temperatures decrease with altitude until tropopause (thermal barrier) The stratosphere has less mass, but a similar composition (except more ozone and less water vapor) o Contains ozone layer: oxygen molecules interact with UV radiation to keep harmful UV radiation from reaching the earth’s surface o Temperatures increase with altitude Humans destroy good ozone in stratosphere and increasing bad ozone in troposphere Air pollution is presence of chemicals in troposphere in high enough concentrations that they can harm organisms, ecosystems, or materials, or alter climate o Primary pollutants: emitted directly into air o Secondary pollutants: pollutants react with each other in air Biggest threat come from indoor air pollution when poor must burn wood, charcoal, coal, or dung in open fire or poorly designed stoves to heat their dwellings and cook food Carbon oxides: o Carbon monoxide: forms during incomplete combustion of carbon containing materials Sources: vehicles exhaust, burning forest, tobacco smoke, cooking with open fires Harm: reacts with hemoglobin to reduce ability of blood to transport oxygen to body cells and tissues; heart attack, lung disease, nausea, coma, death o Carbon dioxide Warms troposphere Not regulated under Clean Air Act Nitrogen oxides and nitric acid: o Nitrogen oxide is colorless gas forms when N and O gas in air react at high comb temp in automobile engines and coal burning pants or in nitrogen cycle o Nitrogen dioxide: Acid deposition Photochemical smog o Nitrous oxide: greenhouse gas, emitted from fertilizer and animal waste and produced from fossil fuels
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Irritate eyes, nose, throat (asthma and bronchitis, respiratory infections, suppress plant growth) Sulfur dioxide and sulfur acid: o Sulfur dioxide Combustion of sulfur containing coal in electric power and ind plants, oil refining and smelting sulfide ores Converted to microscopic suspended droplets of sulfuric acid and sulfate salts that return to earth as acid deposition Particulates: o Suspended particulate matter(SPM): consist of variety of solid particles and liquid droplets small/light enough to stay in the air 62% comes from natural sources: dust, wild fires; rest come from human sources (plowing, road construction, tobacco smoke, motor vehicles) Most harmful forms are fine particles and ultrafine particles (harm lung, asthma, shorten life) Toxic particulates can cause mutations, reproductive problems, cancer,
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