Air pollution fasttrack

Acid deposition

Sulfur oxides and nitrogen oxides, emitted by burning fossil fuels, enter the atmosphere-where they combine with oxygen and water to form sulfuric acid and nitric acid-and return to Earth's surface

Global climate change

Increase in temperature and change in weather patterns all around the planet, due mostly to increasing atmospheric CO2 levels from the burning of fossil fuels. The increase in temperature, called global warming, is a major aspect of global climate change.

Greenhouse gases

Gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, and ozone in the atmosphere which are involved in the greenhouse effect.y


Compounds similar to CFCs, in which bromine or fluorine atoms replace some or all of the chlorine atoms.

Heat island effect

Warmer temps are experienced in urban landscapes due to solar energy retention on constructed surfaces. Principal surfaces include streets, sidewalks, parkings lots and bldgs.


HCFCs; contain an atom of hydrogen in place of one chlorine atom; can be broken down in the lower atmosphere but still causes ozone depletion if they do reach the stratosphere before being broken down


Chemicals with hydrogen, fluorine, and carbons, making potential for CFCs.

Indoor air pollution

Compounds that affect breathing that occur indoors. Examples: woodstove smoke, furnace emissions, formaldehyde, radon, household chemicals

Kyoto protocol

establishes legally binding commitments for the reduction of four greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulfur hexafluoride), and two groups of gases (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons) Took place in Rio De Janeiro in 1992


Beneath the asthenosphere is the strong lower part of the mantle (from the bottom of the asthenosphere to the earth's core)

Methyl bromide

a poisonous gas or liquid (CH3Br) used to fumigate rodents, worms, etc. It is a recognized ozone-depleting chemical

Montreal protocol

meeting in 1987 where a group of nations met in Canada and agreed to take steps to fight against Ozone Depletion-CFC's banned

Oxides of nitrogen

nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO) 2 primary nitrogen pollutants produced by natural bacteria action

Oxides of sulfur

natural source: volcanoes, decay of organic matter. man made source: combustion of sulfur containing coal and smelting of sulfide ores. methods of reduction: alkaline scrubbing.


A form of oxygen that has three oxygen atoms in each molecule instead of the usual two.

Ozone depletion

thinning of Earth's ozone layer caused by CFC's leaking into the air and reacting chemically with the ozone, breaking the ozone molocules apart

Ozone hole

an area of the ozone layer (near the poles) that is seasonally depleted of ozone

Ozone layer

a layer in the stratosphere (at approximately 20 miles) that contains a concentration of ozone sufficient to block most ultraviolet radiation from the sun

Particulate matter

a small discrete mass of solid or liquid matter that remains individually dispersed in gas or liquid emissions (usually considered to be an atmospheric pollutant)


the theory that life on Earth (and other planets) was seeded from outer space (Some scientists have claimed that not only life's ingredients, but life itself originated in outer space); originated with Greek philosopher Anaxagoras; coined by Tyndall (who

Photochemical smog

A brownish haze that is a mixture of ozone and other chemicals, formed when pollutants react with each other in the presence of sunlight

Polar stratospheric cloud

A cloud that forms at altitudes of about 21,000 m during the Artic and Antartic winter or early spring, when air temperature drop below -80*C

Primary pollutant

A pollutant that is put directly into the atmosphere by human or natural activity


A gas that arises from the earth where radioactive materials are present.

Rowland and molina

found in 1974 that CFCs might actually attack the ozone layer, predicted a chemical chain reaction through CFCs would "gobble up" ozone molecules in the stratosphere, steadily weakening the ozone layer and exposing the earth to UV rays


devices containing alkaline substances that precipitate out much of the sulfur dioxide from industrial plants.

Secondary pollutant

A pollutant that forms in the atmosphere by chemical reaction with primary pollutants, natural compenents of the air, or both

Sick building syndrome

headaches, allergies, chronic fatigue and other symptoms caused by poorly vented indoor air contaminated by pathogens or toxins


2nd layer of atmosphere; extends from 10 to 30 miles up; location of ozone layer; absorbs 95% of Ultraviolet radiation; temperature increases with altitude increase.

Temperature inversion

A deviation from the normal temperature distribution in the atmosphere, resulting in a layer of cold air temporarily trapped near the ground by a warmer, upper layer


The uppermost layer of the atmosphere, in which temperature increases as altitude increases


0-17 km above Earth's surface, site of weather, organisms, contains most atmospheric water vapor. (temperature decreases with increasing altitude, pressure decreases)




..., A solution that minimizes changes in pH when extraneous acids or bases are added to the solution.

Catalytic converter

a converter that uses a platinum-iridium catalyst to oxidize pollutants and carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and water

Clean air act

(RN), 1970 reaction to Rachel Carson in her 1962 in Silent Spring, It describes one of a number of pieces of legislation relating to the reduction of smog and air pollution in general. The legislation forced the country to enforce clean air standards to i

Dobson units

the scale that measures ozone density