17- Air - Atmosphere and Air Pollution Environmental...

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Atmosphere and Air Pollution Environmental Problems Biol 1305
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Atmosphere Thermosphere Stratosphere Mesosphere Troposphere reflects UV radiation - ozone layer thin layer 11km (7 mile) 78% N2; 21% O2; 1% Ar etc.
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Atmospheric properties Ø Atmospheric pressure = measures the force per unit area produced by a column of air Decreases with altitude Ø Relative humidity = the ratio of water vapor a given volume of air contains to the amount it could contain at a given temperature Ø Temperature = varies with location and time
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Solar energy heats the atmosphere Ø The spatial relationship between the Earth and sun determines the amount of solar energy striking the Earth Ø Energy from the sun Heats air Moves air Creates seasons Influences weather and climate Ø Solar radiation is highest near the equator
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Air masses produce weather Ø Front = the boundary between air masses that differ in temperature, moisture, and density Ø Warm Front = the boundary where warm moist air replaces colder, drier air Ø Cold Front = the boundary where colder, drier air displaces warmer, moister air Ø High-pressure system = air that moves away from a center of high pressure as it descends Brings fair weather Ø Low-pressure system = air moves toward the low atmospheric pressure at the center of the system and spirals upward Clouds and precipitation
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Thermal inversion Ø Usually, tropospheric air temperature decreases as altitude increases Warm air rises, causing vertical mixing Ø Thermal inversion = a layer of cool air occurs beneath a layer of warmer air Inversion layer = the band of air in which temperature rises with altitude Denser, cooler air at the bottom of the layer resists mixing
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The atmosphere drives weather and climate Ø Weather = specifies atmospheric conditions over short time periods and within a small geographic areas Ø Climate = describes patterns of atmospheric conditions across large geographic regions over long periods of time Ø “Climate is what we expect; weather is what we get Mark Twain
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Outdoor air pollution Ø Air pollutants = gases and particulate material added to the atmosphere Can affect climate or harm people Ø Outdoor air pollution = the release of pollutants outside Has recently decreased due to government policy and improved technologies in developed countries Developing countries and urban areas still have significant problems
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Ø Dust storms = Hundreds of millions of tons of dust are blown westward across the Atlantic Ocean by trade winds every year From Africa to the Americas Unsustainable farming and grazing, erosion and desertification Natural sources pollute: dust storms
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Natural sources pollute: volcanoes Ø Release large quantities of particulate matter, sulfur dioxide & other gases Can remain for months or years Aerosols = reflect sunlight back into space and cool the atmosphere and surface
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Natural sources pollute: fires Ø Pollutes atmosphere with soot and gases
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17- Air - Atmosphere and Air Pollution Environmental...

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