The effects of smog

by Lucas Lavin and Michael Constable

What is smog and where can it be found?

Smog is a type of air pollution. It is a result of Internal combustion engines industrial work fumes and veichle emission that end up reacting in the atmosphere with sunlight to form secondary pollutants that then combine with primary emission to form a photochemical smog. Smog can be found in any area with these previously mentioned things.

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Temperature inversion

Temperature inversions are areas where the normal decrease in the temperature of the air with the increase of altitude ends up being reversed resulting in the air above the ground is warmer then the air below it. It can occur anywhere from ground level to thousands of feet in the atmosphere.

Inversion layers are related to smog. This is because smog is capped in a sense when the warm air mass moves over an area. This happens because when the warmer layer of air sits over a city it prevents the normal mixing of cool denser air. The air instead becomes still and over time the lack of mix will cause pollutants to be trapper under the inversion layer developing a lot of smog.

An example of this occurred in December 1952, in London actually. The weather was quite cold at the time and citizens began to burn more coal which in turn increased air pollution. Because a inversion was present at the time the pollutants began trapped increasing the air pollution and resulting in the Great Smog of 1952

How does rain "clean" air?

Precipitation is one of nature's way of cleaning the air. As rain and other forms of precipitation fall from clouds it ends up latching on to chemicals, dirt, and dust in the air.Scientists have been studying rains ability to collect and clean the air and have came to the conclusion that smaller drops of rain as well as higher amounts of humidity both boosts the rains ability in collecting.

Because of rains ability to clean air creating rain is even being looked at as a method to clear smog. One place specifically looking into it is China. Their hope is that they can artificially create rain to combat the heavy smog they currently have. But as of now nothing on the success or failure of this has been published.

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Todays smog

Today's smog is much, much worse then it was in the past. This is a result of the need for many more factories which are needed to keep up with the demand for products. These factories increase in numbers also results in a increase of industrial smog compared to before. And because of the increase of the pollutants in the air because of these factories when an inversion layer does occur it only makes it worse.


There are a multitude of solutions presented for smog. One obvious one in the works would be using rain to clean the air. Another one involved having a machine that in the same a static-charged balloon attracts hair, the machine would device would use copper coils buried under grass to create an electrostatic feed that attracts the smog particles. One pulled from the sky they would compress the particles and find a method of repurposing them.
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Briney, Amanda. "What Are Temperature Inversion Layers?" Education. Abouteducation, 16 Dec. 2014. Web. 17 May 2016.

Chu, Jennifer. "Can Rain Clean the Atmosphere?" MIT News. MIT, 28 Aug. 2015. Web. 17 May 2016.

SeniorQuack. "What Causes Smog?" YouTube. YouTube, 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 17 May 2016.

Abkowitz, Alyssa, and Brian Spegele. "Beijing Steps Up Smog Warnings."WSJ. The Wall Street Journal, 18 Dec. 2015. Web. 17 May 2016.