• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

The Earth's Atmosphere and Air Pollution

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐The Earth's Atmosphere and Air Poll ution Approximately 4600 million years ago the Earth formed, when hot, dense masses of gas and dust around the sun collapsed on itself - this was caused by gravity. A mass of gas and dust got hotter and hotter as the particles were pulled in and squashed together. It then began to cool down, solidify and break up into chunks called planets - one of which was Earth.[1] Around 4.5 billion years ago. The early atmosphere most likely formed from the huge volumes of gases given out by volcanoes. These gases were mainly Carbon Dioxide and Water Vapour but smaller proportions of other gases such as Ammonia and methane. Ammonia was broken down by sunlight and by its reaction with oxygen, this formed nitrogen. Nitrogen is an unreactive gas. Once released into the atmosphere, nitrogen reacts with other substances only with difficulty. So the levels of nitrogen in the atmosphere increased until they reached today?s level. The early atmosphere was probably mostly carbon dioxide, with little or no oxygen. There were smaller proportions of water vapour, ammonia and methane. As the Earth cooled down, most of the water vapour condensed and formed the oceans. ...read more.


When organisms die the carbon is recycled so that it can be used by future generations. The model that describes the processes involved is called the carbon cycle. Carbon enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide from respiration and combustion. Carbon dioxide is absorbed by producers to make carbohydrates in photosynthesis. Animals feed on the plant passing the carbon compounds along the food chain. Most of the carbon they consume is exhaled as carbon dioxide formed during respiration. The animals and plants eventually die. The dead organisms are eaten by decomposers and the carbon in their bodies is returned to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. In some conditions decomposition is blocked. The plant and animal material may then be available as fossil fuel in the future for combustion. Plants use carbon dioxide and sunlight to make their own food and grow. The carbon becomes part of the plant. Plants that die and are buried may turn into fossil fuels made of carbon like coal and oil over millions of years. When humans burn fossil fuels, most of the carbon quickly enters the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. [6] The processes releasing and absorbing carbon dioxide form part of the carbon dioxide. ...read more.


Also feels actually contains small amounts of sulphur compounds. These impurities form sulphur dioxide when the fuel is burned. This gas dissolves into water in the clouds, forming acid rain. The acids make rain more acidic than normal. Such acid rain erodes stonework and corrodes metals. Aching killed trees, and living things in the river and lakes. NOx causes acid rain too. It can also react with other atmospheric pollutants, particularly in sunlight, to produce photochemical smog. Vehicles on the road produce 14% of the world’s carbon emissions. [11]Catalytic converters are fitted into the exhaust system on some vehicles, as they release large amounts of atmospheric pollutants levels of these must be controls through reduced damage to human health and the environment. The main admissions of a car engine are: nitrogen gas(most of this would pass straight through the car engine), carbon dioxide and water vapour. But because the combustion process is ever perfect, some small amounts of more harmful emissions are also produced in car engines such as carbon monoxide and Nitrogen oxides.[12] Carbon Monoxide + Nitrogen Oxide ï Nitrogen + Carbon Dioxide ________________ [1] http://www.s-cool.co.uk/gcse/chemistry/the-earth-and-the-atmosphere/revise-it/changes-to-the-earth [2]http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/edexcel/earth_sea_atmosphere/earth_sea_atmosphererev3.shtml [3] Saunders, A&N (2011) GSCE Chemistry, Oxford University Press, pg 22 [4] Saunders, A&N (2011) GSCE Chemistry, Oxford University Press, pg [5]http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/aqa_pre_2011/oils/changesrev7.shtml [6] http://www.windows2universe.org/earth/climate/images/carboncycle.jpg [7] http://eo.ucar.edu/kids/green/cycles6.htm [8] http://library.thinkquest.org/11226/why.htm [9] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=deforestation-and-global-warming [10] Saunders, A&N (2011) GSCE Chemistry, Oxford University Press, pg 25 [11] http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=deforestation-and-global-warming [12] http://auto.howstuffworks.com/catalytic-converter3.htm ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Changing Materials - The Earth and its Atmosphere section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Changing Materials - The Earth and its Atmosphere essays

  1. acid rain

    tube which in effect hurt one of my team mates which was lack of concentration but also preparations for accidents. Evaluation At the beginning we did have trouble collecting correct results causing us to re start but we learnt from these mistakes and I believe our results in the end

  2. Are humans to blame for Global warming or is it a natural phenomenon? ...

    (2/1/11, 2,1,11, Charles Welch) The implications of burning Fossil fuels Humans' burn tones of fossil fuels so that they can produce electricity. However this comes with the disadvantages. Massive amounts of carbon dioxide are released into the atmosphere every year due to this method of producing energy.

  1. What is Acid Rain? What are the effects of acid rain?

    The photo oxidation method is much slower due to the absence of a catalyst. A third reaction for sulphur dioxide to become sulphuric acid is by the oxidation by ozone. All the reactions mentioned to this point are gas state reactions.

  2. Human Impact On the Environment

    The heat and light can get through the earth's atmosphere but it can't get out making the temperature rise. The heat gets into the atmosphere but then is trapped and makes the earth's atmosphere hotter. Sometimes the temperature can change in way that benefits us.

  1. Is an increase in traffic pollution the

    Nitrogen dioxide has a variety of environmental and health impacts. It is a respiratory irritant, may make asthma worse and possibly increases weakness to infections. Ground-level ozone (O3), unlike the primary pollutants mentioned above, is a secondary pollutant produced by reaction between nitrogen dioxide (NO2), hydrocarbons and sunlight.

  2. Acid Rain

    factories in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Missouri, West Virginia, and Tennessee. Most lakes have a pH between 6 and 8; however, some are naturally acidic even without the effects of acid rain. Lakes and streams become acidic (pH value goes down)

  1. Chemistry- Earth, its structure and atmosphere

    Before Wegener developed his theory, it was thought that mountains formed because the Earth was cooling down, and in doing so contracted. This was believed to form wrinkles, or mountains, in the Earth?s crust. If the idea was correct, however, mountains would be spread evenly over the Earth's surface.

  2. Are Humans causing global warming?

    ?How did the ice ages end? They ended by a rise in temperature of the earth, but it was obviously not caused by humans since, well, we didn?t have the technology to cause such a rise in greenhouse gas emissions.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work