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acid rain

when sulfuric acid and nitric acid are oxidized in atmosphere, they react with water, oxygen, and other chemicals to form acids that fall as rain. Sunlight increases the rate of most of these reactions.


small solid particles and liquid droplets that are suspended in the air

thermal pollution

pollution caused by abnormally heating the air, land, or water


the layer closest to the surface of the earth where temperature decreases with height. Lots of mixing of air masses here create and contain our weather.

inversion layer

layer that results when there is hot air mass above decreasing temperature gradient, barrier for gases to go any higher


something that is produced or given out; substances discharged into the air by a smokestack or gasoline engine


volatile organic compounds, such as benzene and ethylene


the process in which excessive amounts of nutrients enter a body of water, causing an explosion in the populations of aquatic plants; will eventually result in depleted levels of dissolved oxygen in the water

algae bloom

uncontrolled growth of algae in water bodies


burning or rapid oxidation combined with the release of heat and light energy


the ingestion and storage of toxins in body tissue


the layer between approximately 15 km and 50 km above the earth and contains the ozone layer. Temperature here increases with increasing altitude


an area of contamination or pollution that can be found in the air or in water; often spreads from a single point into a much larger area


limestone mixed with water and sprayed into coal combustion gases; acts to "pull" sulfur out of the gases. The limestone and sulfur combine to form either a wet paste, or in some new scrubbers, a dry powder.

acid deposition

occurs as wet and dry deposition; wet deposition (or "acid rain") where SO2 and NOX compounds bind with water to acidify rain, snow or fog and dry deposition when acidic gases and particles naturally fall to the ground


the layer about 50 to 90 km above the earth which contains portions of the ionosphere. Here temperature again decreases with increasing altitude and convection can occur.


the layer above the mesosphere where temperatures increase rapidly to 250 to 1500 degrees celsius

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