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Innermost layer made of nitrogen & oxygen, a little water vapor & CO2. It's where weather takes place; 75%-80% mass of Earth's air.


70-48 km above the Earth, Similar to the troposphere, has the ozone layer.


50-85 km above the Earth, Meteors burn, coldest temperatures in the atmosphere.


90-1000 km above the Earth, high temperatures (900-3500F) in the upper Thermosphere, Northern & Southern lights.

Primary air pollutants

Those emitted directly into the troposphere in a potentially harmful form.

Secondary air pollutants

Pollutants formed when primary pollutants react with each other or components of the air.


Is a highly reactive gas that's is a major component of photochemical smog.

Carbon oxides

A highly toxic gas that forms during the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing materials.

Nitrogen oxides

Forms when nitrogen and oxygen gas in the air react at the high-combustion temperatures in automobile engines and coal-burning plants. Also form from lightening and certain soil bacteria.


Naturally occurring radioactive gas found in some types of soil and rock. (Second main cause of Cancer)

Air pollution

The presence of one or more chemicals in the atmosphere in sufficient quantities and duration to cause harm to humans and alter climate.


group of compounds that contain carbon, fluorine and chlorine that absorb infrared energy that destroys the ozone.


Organic chemical compund that have significant vapor pressures. Affect human and environment health.

Acid Precipitation

Such as rain, sleet, or snow, that contains a high concentration of acids, often because of the pollution of the atmosphere.

Greenhouse Effect

Natural effect that releases heat in the atmosphere near the Earth's surface. Water vapor, carbon dioxide, ozone, & other gases in the troposphere absorb heat radiated by Earth's surface.

Photochemical Smog

A mixture of air pollution formed by the reaction of Nitrogen oxides and volatile organic hydrocarbons under the influence of sunlight. (Brown Smog)

Acid Deposition

The falling of acids and acidforming compounds from the atmosphere to the Earth's surface. (Acid Rain)

Temperature Inversion

The atmospheric condition in which warm air traps cooler air near Earth's surface

Industrial Smog

A mixture of sulfur dioxide, droplets of sulfuric acid, and a variety of suspended solid particles emitted mostly by burning coal. (Gray Smog)

Wet Deposition

A form of acid deposition; acidic rain, fog or snow.

Sick Building Syndrome

Headaches, allergies, burning eyes, chronic fatigue and other symptoms caused by poorly vented indoor air contaminated by toxins.

Catalytic Converter

Filters out pollutants before it goes out of the car.


The lower part of the thermosphere, where electrically charged particles called ions are found.

Sulfur Oxides

(SOx) Primary source is coal burning. Primary and secondary effects include acid deposition, respiratory irritation, plant damage. Reduction methods include: scrubbers, burn low sulfur fuel. Released into atmosphere by the burning of fossil fuels

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