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The Atmosphere

KQ3- How does human activity adversely affect the


atmosphere?
KQ4 - How can atmospheric pollution be controlled and what
are the problems involved with the local and global
management of atmospheric pollution?

Air pollution
Primary pollutants - air pollutants that are
released directly from their source into
atmosphere. Examples: CO, CO2, NO,
NO2, SO2, suspended particles,
hydrocarbons.
Secondary pollutants - air pollutants that
form as the products of chemical
reactions that occur among primary
pollutants and other chemicals present
in the atmosphere. Examples: SO3, O3,
H2SO4, HNO3,PANs

Major air pollutants


The Clean Air Act 1970 establishes national
standards for the allowable outdoor
concentration of six criteria air pollution to
protect human health.
Also establishes industrial emission standards
for 189 hazardous air pollutants that are a
hazard to human health and environment.
Carbon monoxide (CO)
-primary pollutant;
-product of incomplete combustion during combustion of fossil
fuels, motor vehicles
-prevent hemoglobin in red blood cells from binding with oxygen;
can cause headache and even death;
-catalytic converters - remove CO from motor vehicles

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2)


-primary pollutant
-fossil fuel combustion;
-reddish-brown gas; forms photochemical smog (and tropospheric ozone);
precursor to the atmospheric formation of the nitric acid (HNO3) that falls to
the earth as acid rain;
-respiratory system irritation, aggravation of asthma, bronchitis;
-impair plant growth, decrease visibility.
-catalytic convertors remove nitrogen dioxide from motor exhaust
Sulfur dioxide (SO2)
-primary pollutant;
-combustion of coal; SO2 is further oxidized in the atmosphere to sulfur
trioxide.
-SO2 reacts with water and forms H2SO4 (sulfuric acid) that falls back to
earth as acid rain.
-aggravation of breathing problems, plant damage, reduce visibility.
-SO2 can be removed from coal smoke with scrubbers that use fine mist
of calcium carbonate or calcium oxide solution to wash the pollutants out
of the smoke.-> sludge which must be deposited.
-reducing SO2 emissions can be done by burning low-sulfur coal,
removing sulfur before burning coal, by converting to natural gas, or by
replacing coal with alternative energy sources.

electrostatic
precipitator
Tropospheric or Ground-Level Ozone (O3)
-secondary pollutant;
-major component of photochemical smog;
-irritation of respiratory system and eyes;
-plant damage, and disintegration of
plastic and rubber products.

Particulate matter (PM-10)


-primary pollutant that includes a variety of particulates both solid and liquid;
-sources: coal-fired power plants, agricultural operations, tobacco smoke, construction
and motor vehicles.
-impact: irritate respiratory system, aggravate asthma and bronchitis,
mutations(mercury or cadmium)or cancer (lead particles).
-reduce visibility and corrodes metals;
-can be removed from smoke by using a device called electrostatic precipitator. this
removes 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.

ary pollutant
sed from leaded gasoline (banned in US in 1976) or peeling of lead based paint
ed in US in 1970s) in older homes;
h effects: brain damage in children, partial paralysis, blindness, and mental retardation.

Other important air pollutants

ogen Oxide (NOx)


mary pollutant involved in the formation of photochemical smog and acid rain.
rces: combustion of fossil fuels

Organic Compounds (VOCs)


y pollutants that include different hydrocarbons, both man-made and anthropogenic.
ed in formation of photochemical smog;
pogenic sources of VOC: leaks from fossil fuel production, gas pumps, dry cleaning, and industrial
lly VOCs are released by some tree species.

Global Emissions by Gas


- Carbon dioxide (CO2) - Fossil fuel use,
deforestation, land clearing for agriculture,
and degradation of soils.
Methane (CH4) - Agricultural activities,
waste management, energy use, and
biomass burning
Nitrous oxide (N2O) - Agricultural
activities(fertilizer use);Biomass burning;
Fluorinated gases (F-gases)
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs),
perfluorocarbons (PFCs), and sulfur
hexafluoride (SF6). - Industrial
processes, refrigeration, and the use of a
variety of consumer products.
http://www3.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/global.html

Global Emissions by Economic Sector


Electricity and Heat Production : burning of
coal, natural gas, and oil for electricity and heat is
the largest single source of global greenhouse gas
emissions.
Industry: fossil fuels burned on-site at facilities
for energy; emissions from chemical, metallurgical,
and mineral transformation processes
Agriculture, Forestry, and Other Land Use:
cultivation of crops and livestock, and
deforestation.
Transportation : fossil fuels burned for road,
rail, air, and marine transportation.
Buildings : on-site energy generation and
burning fuels for heat in buildings or cooking in
homes.
Other Energy : all emissions from the energy
sector which are not directly associated with
electricity or heat production, such as fuel
extraction, refining, processing, and transportation.

Emissions by Country
In 2011, the top carbon dioxide
(CO2) emitters were China, the
United States, the European Union,
India, the Russian Federation,
Japan, and Canada.
These data include CO2 emissions
from fossil fuel combustion, as well
as cement manufacturing and gas
flaring. Together, these sources
represent a large proportion of
total global CO2 emissions.

1. EXPLAIN CFCs AND THEIR ROLE IN


STATOSPHERIC OZONE DEPLETION.

Ozone in the lower stratosphere absorbs the suns


ultraviolet (UV) radiation
UV radiation can damage tissues and DNA
Ozone-depleting substances: human-made chemicals
that destroy ozone
Halocarbons: human-made compounds made from
hydrocarbons with added chlorine, bromine, or
fluorine
Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs): halocarbons used as
refrigerants, in fire extinguishers, in aerosol cans, etc.
They stay in the stratosphere for a century

Products that
Contain Ozone
Destroying
Chemicals

CFCs destroy ozone


Sunlight releases
chlorine atoms that
split ozone
Ozone hole:
decreased ozone
levels over
Antarctica
One chlorine atom
can destroy 100,000
ozone molecules

Ozone constantly forms and


breaks down in the
stratosphere as it absorbs
UV

http://forces.si.edu/atmosphere/images/media/library_021_lg.jpg

The Montreal Protocol


Montreal Protocol (1987): 196 nations agreed to cut CFC
production in half by 1998
Later agreements deepened cuts, advanced timetables, and
addressed other ozone-depleting chemicals
Industry shifted to safer alternative chemicals
We stopped the Antarctic ozone hole from getting worse
Challenges still face us
CFCs will remain in the stratosphere for decades
It can serve as a model for international environmental
cooperation

The ozone layer has stopped


growing

Phasing out ozone-depleting substances in 1987 workedthe Antarctic ozone hole has stopped growing

2. EXPLAIN HOW CARBON DIOXIDE AND


METHANE ENHANCE THE GREENHOUSE
EFFECT, PREDICT THE POSSIBLE CLIMATIC
EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING

THE POSSIBLE CLIMATIC EFFECTS


OF GLOBAL WARMING
1. RISING SEA LEVELS (COASTAL EROSION, COASTAL FLOODING,
DESTRUCTION/DEGRADATION OF COASTAL WETLANDS AND ESTUARIES,
DAMAGE TO CORAL REEFS AND FISHERIES, SALTWATER INTRUSION ETC.).
2. MELTING ICE CAPS / MELTING PERMAFROST. METHANE AND CARBON
DIOXIDE, TRAPPED BY PERMAFROST CAN BE RELEASED IN THE ATMOSPHERE
3. MORE EXTREME WEATHER, E.G. DROUGHT, MORE FOREST FIRES RAINFALL
VARIABILITY, HURRICANE ACTIVITY.
4. CHANGES IN OCEAN CURRENTS
5. INDIRECT EFFECT ON MASS MOVEMENTS, SOIL DEVELOPMENT, ETC.
6. BIODIVERSITY LOSS/ LOSS OF HABITAT / MIGRATIONS / EXTINCTIONS /
BREEDING BEHAVIOUR.
7. EFFECT ON DISTRIBUTION OF PLANT SPECIES / STAPLE CROPS / BIOMES.

3. EXPLAIN SULFUR DIOXIDE AND NITROGEN COMPOUNDS


AND THE FORMATION OF ACID RAIN INCLUDING EFFECTS
UPON BUILDINGS, LAKES, RIVERS AND SOIL.
Burning fossil fuels releases sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides
These compounds react with water, oxygen, and oxidants to form
sulfuric and nitric acids

The impact of acid rain


Nutrients are leached from topsoil
Soil chemistry is changed
Toxic metal ions (aluminum, zinc, etc.) are
converted into soluble forms that pollute
water
Affects surface water and kills fish
Damages crops
Erodes stone buildings, corrodes cars,
erases writing on tombstones