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Atmospheric Pressure

measure of the mass per unit are of air

Air pollution

presence of chemicals in the atmosphere where the concentration is high enough to affect climate and harm organisms

Primary pollutants

emitted directly into the troposphere in a harmful form. (Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide)


is a thin layer of gases held close to Earth by gravity

Secondary pollutants

when primary pollutants react with the components of air

Photochemical Smog

when nitrogen oxides and organic hydrocarbon compounds chemically react under the influence of UV radiation to produce a mixture of many primary and secondary pollutants

Industrial Smog

mixture of sulfur dioxide, droplets of sulfuric acid, and solid particles emitted by burning coal and oil

Heat Island Effect

is when there is tall building, which the concrete doesn't keep the heat and send it back to the atmosphere plus lots of cars which are emitting many chemicals into the atmosphere as well and the uniting of both becomes photochemical smog

Temperature Inversion

layer of dense, cool air trapped under a layer of less dense, warm air. (traps the pollutants near the ground and it becomes more dangerous)

Acid Deposition

also known as acid rain, falling of acids and compounds from the atmosphere into the earth's surface (Sulfur/ nitrogen main culprits.)

Sick Building

when a building is poorly maintained and becomes old, and the environment becomes a risk to the people living in the building start having respiratory conditions and other effects


a colorless, extremely irritating gas widely used to manufacture common household materials

Clean Air Act (1970)

in the U.S has reduced outdoor pollution from six major pollutants by setting emission standards


is the only thing that protects us from the powerful heat of the Sun; it captures about 95% of the Ultraviolet Radiation emitted by the Sun

Natural Pollutant Sources

The sources that naturally contribute to the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere. This can be forest fires, volcano eruptions, and sea spray

Human Pollutant Sources

The sources that humans contribute to the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere like burning oil, gasoline, and natural gas.

Outdoor Pollutants

The pollutants that are sent into the atmosphere either naturally or human made. Those pollutants are carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide.

Indoor Pollutants

Are the most dangerous to human and they are a threat to the human health. The four most dangerous are formaldehyde, cigarette smoke, radon-222 gas, and ultra fine particles.


the first layer of the atmosphere and is adjacent to the surface of the earth.


is the second layer of the atmosphere and it extends from the top of the troposphere to about 30 miles above the surface of the earth.


the third layer of the atmosphere and it is where the temperature decreases with altitude.


extends to outer space, about 300 miles above the surface of the earth.

Carbon Monoxide

a primary pollutant that is the product of incomplete combustion reactions during the burning of fossil fuels.

Catalytic Converters

remove carbon monoxide from motor vehicle exhaust.

Nitrogen Dioxide

A primary pollutant that is formed as a product of the reaction between nitrogen and oxygen in the high temperature environment of fossil fuel combustion.

Tropospheric (Ground Level Ozone)

A secondary pollutant that is the major component of photochemical smog.

Particulate matter (PM-10)

A category of primary pollutants that includes a variety of particulates, both solid and liquid, that are emitted from coal fired power plants, agricultural operations such as the plowing of fields and harvesting of crops, tobacco smoke, and motor vehicles.

Electrostatic Precipitator

removes the particles by imparting a negative charge on them and attracting them to positively-charged plates where they are scraped off and removed to a landfill.


A primary pollutant, some of which is released as a result of the use of leaded gasoline and the peeling of lead-based paint in older homes.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

A category of primary pollutants that includes many different hydrocarbons, both man-made and naturally occurring.

Natural Buffer

Limestone in sufficient quantities to neutralize the acids and minimizes ecosystem damage.

Cigarette Smoke

One of the most hazardous indoor pollutants, exposure to second-hand smoke is one of the most substantial risks to human health.


A naturally occurring radioactive gas that seeps into buildings from underground deposits.


A mineral that was once widely used to insulate buildings, and to manufacture acoustical ceilings and floor tiles.

Sulfuric Acid

A secondary pollutant that is formed when sulfur oxides react with water in the atmosphere.

NItric Acid

A secondary pollutant that is formed when nitrogen oxides react with water in the atmosphere.

Peroxyacyl Nitrates (PANs)

irritate the respiratory system and eyes, and damage living tissues.

Nitric Oxide

A primary pollutant involved in the formation of photochemical smog and a precursor to acid rain.


Used to remove sulfur dioxide from coal smoke and uses fine mists of a calcium carbonate or calcium oxide solution to wash the pollutants out of the smoke.

Sulfur Dioxide

A primary pollutant that is formed as a product of the reaction between sulfur and oxygen during the combustion of coal.

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