Air Pollution & Climate Change

How to save our atmosphere!

Characteristics of our Atmosphere:

  • ENERGY: Of the solar energy that reaches the outer atmosphere, ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths have the greatest energy. Only about 7% of solar radiation is in the UV wavelengths. The remaining solar radiation is the longest wavelength, infrared. Most objects radiate infrared energy, which we feel as heat.
  • COMPOSITION OF AIR: Nitrogen and oxygen together make up 99% of the planet's atmosphere. Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air. Humidity varies from place to place and season to season. Greenhouse gases trap heat in the atmosphere. Important natural greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor, and ozone. CFCs and some other man-made compounds are also greenhouse gases.

The atmosphere effects EVERYTHING in the environment!

What is the Atmosphere? (7 KEY FACTORS)

1. Gases indespensible for Life on Earth

2. Photosynthesis

3. Respiration

4. Crucial Part of the Water Cycle

5. Ozone makes life on Earth possible

6. Keeps Earth's Temperatures Moderate

7. Provides the substance for energy waves to travel

Facts about our Atmosphere:

Causes of Air Pollution

Most air pollutants come from burning fossil fuels or plant material. Some are the result of evaporation from human-made materials. Nearly half (49%) of air pollution comes from transportation, 28% from factories and power plants, and the remaining pollution from a variety of other sources.

Primary and Secondary Pollutants

A primary pollutant is an air pollutant emitted directly from a source.

A secondary pollutant is not directly emitted as such, but forms when other pollutants (primary pollutants) react in the atmosphere.

What is Global Warming, the "Greenhouse Effect", and the effect on Climate?

Life on earth depends on energy from the sun. About 30 percent of the sunlight that beams toward Earth is deflected by the outer atmosphere and scattered back into space. The rest reaches the planet's surface and is reflected upward again as a type of slow-moving energy called infrared radiation. The heat caused by infrared radiation is absorbed by "greenhouse gases" such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone and methane, which slows its escape from the atmosphere. Although greenhouse gases make up only about 1 percent of the Earth's atmosphere, they regulate our climate by trapping heat and holding it in a kind of warm-air blanket that surrounds the planet.This phenomenon is what scientists call the "greenhouse effect."