Environment Homework #3

In a standard setting as the altitude increases the

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threats posed by many kinds of air pollutants? In a standard setting, as the altitude increases, the air temperature decreases; however, in some areas, a pattern referred to as temperature inversion occurs where a layer of warm air forms above colder air. Temperature inversion typically happens on cold nights when the cold air near the surface gets trapped underneath the warm air above it. This does not seem like a major issue, but when taking air pollutants into account, temperature inversion can be a major issue. Since the temperature inversion does not allow the air on the ground to mix with the warm air above it, this also means that the air pollutants often get trapped in the air near the surface and under the warm air; this type of situation can be very dangerous. 3) Section 9.1 Question #4: Differentiate between wet and dry deposition. Aerosols can be lost from the atmosphere through two different depositions: dry and wet. In a wet deposition, gravity removes non-liquid particles from the atmosphere. Since the larger particles have a more difficult task of being suspended in the air, they have a short lifespan and higher deposition than smaller particles do. On the contrary, trace gases and particles are captured in raindrops, snowflakes, and droplets of fog in a wet deposition. If a pollutant is very soluble in water, it makes it more likely to be removed from the atmosphere by wet deposition.
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4) Section 9.2 Question #2: Nowadays, acid rain contains more nitric acid than it did 25 years ago. Why is this so? In order for acid rain to occur, NO must react with oxygen and water to produce nitric acid. This nitric acid can lead to acid rain, or acid deposition, and can be a major threat to the environment. The reasons behind why acid rain contains more nitric acid today than it did 25 years ago is simply that there has been and is more pollution to the air since the late 1980s. NO is often emitted from both power plants and vehicle exhausts, and since society is built around both of these pollutant emitters, the amount of nitric acid in acid rain has increased and will continue to increase over time. 5) Section 9.4 Question #2: What is the source of radon gas, and what is the basis for its effect on human health? Radon gas is nontoxic and is produced from the radioactive decay of the element radium-226. The gas radon is incredibly dangerous for humans, and it is around us almost everywhere. Radon is mostly found in rocks, and therefore, is found in any type of soil that surrounds us. Thankfully, the concentrations of radon in the soil around us is very low and not harmful, but there are sources of radon that can surround us and be very harmful; for instance, many buildings that are built on soil and have bad ventilation can emit high amounts of radon. If affected greatly by radon, health risks like lung cancer can be the end result. To avoid high concentrations of radon, basement walls and floors
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should be sealed, check valves should be installed in drains, and crawl spaces should be well ventilated.
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