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Terms in this set (20)
Made up of mostly nitrogen and oxygen, with smaller amounts of water vapor and CO2.
Second layer of the atmosphere, extending about 17[[endash]]48 kilometers (11[[endash]]30 miles) above the earth's surface. It contains small amounts of gaseous ozone (O3), which filters out about 95% of the incoming harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation emitted by the sun.
Layer of gaseous ozone (O3) in the stratosphere that protects life on earth by filtering out most harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
One or more chemicals in high enough concentrations in the air to harm humans, other animals, vegetation, or materials. Excess heat and noise are also considered forms of air pollution. Such chemicals or physical conditions are called air pollutants. See primary pollutant, secondary pollutant.
Chemical that has been added directly to the air by natural events or human activities and occurs in a harmful concentration. Compare secondary pollutant.
Harmful chemical formed in the atmosphere when a primary air pollutant reacts with normal air components or other air pollutants. Compare primary pollutant.
Highly toxic gas that forms during the incomplete combustion of carbon containing materials.
93% of carbon dioxide is occuring in the trophosphere as a result of the carbon cycle.
Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
Nitrogen oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) collectively. These gases play a role in photochemical smog and can irritate the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs; aggravate asthma and bronchitis; and increase susceptibility to respiratory infections by impairing the immune system. They can also suppress plant growth and reduce visibility when they are converted to nitric acid and nitrate salts.
Sulfur Dioxide (SO2)
Colorless gas with an irritating odor. About two-thirds (and as high as 90% in urban areas) comes from human sources, mostly combustion of sulfur-containing coal in electric power and industrial plants and from oil refining and smelting of sulfide ores.
Suspended Particulate Matter. Small dust. Consists of a variety of solid particles and liquid droplets.
Colorless and highly reactive gas; a major component of photochemical smog and also found in the stratosphere where it protects life by filtering out most harmful UV radiation from the sun.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Organic compounds that exist as gases in the air. Most are hydrocarbons
Naturally occurring colorless and odorless radioactive gas found in some types of soil and rock. It can seep into homes and buildings sitting above such deposits. Long-term exposure can cause lung cancer, especially among smokers.
Type of air pollution consisting mostly of a mixture of sulfur dioxide, suspended droplets of sulfuric acid formed from some of the sulfur dioxide, and a variety of suspended solid particles. Compare photochemical smog.
Asain Brown Cloud
A huge dark brown cloud of industrial smog, caused by coal burning in countries such as China and India and stretches over much of southeastern Asia.
Complex mixture of air pollutants produced in the lower atmosphere by the reaction of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides under the influence of sunlight. Especially harmful components include ozone, peroxyacyl nitrates (PANs), and various aldehydes. Compare industrial smog.
Layer of dense, cool air trapped under a layer of less dense, warm air. This prevents upward-flowing air currents from developing. In a prolonged inversion, air pollution in the trapped layer may build up to harmful levels. See radiation temperature inversion, subsidence temperature inversion.
The falling of acids and acid-forming compounds from the atmosphere to the earth's surface. Acid deposition is commonly known as acid rain, a term that refers only to wet deposition of droplets of acids and acid-forming compounds.
Substance that can react with hydrogen ions in a solution and thus hold the acidity or pH of a solution fairly constant. See pH.
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