Atmosphere terminology

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  1. Lowest layer of the atmosphere (ground – approx. 10 km). The area where we live and weather occurs. Very oxidizing. Contains up to 75% of the mass of the atmosphere (78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen, 0.9% Ar, rest CO2 (0.04%), H2O, O3…)
  2. From approximately 10 km – 47 km. Contains a region of very high concentration of ozone (see ozone layer below).
  3. From approximately 47 – 80 km. As the concentration of ozone is diminished, heating by absorption is lost and temperature decreases with decreasing ozone concentration.
  4. From 80 km up. Energy in this region is so high that it can break apart molecules, causing them to ionize. Can also find free floating electrons in this region.
  5. Area of high concentration of ozone occurring in the stratosphere. This layer absorbs incoming UV radiation, shielding us from its deleterious effects.
    Ozone Layer
  6. Ozone in the stratosphere is found in a high concentration in a particular region. See ozone layer.
    Stratospheric Ozone
  7. Ozone photochemically formed in the troposphere by reactions between NO2 and O2. Tropospheric ozone is harmful to human and plant health.
    Tropospheric Ozone
  8. Mixture of very small particles and liquid droplets containing various chemicals (acids, metals, dust, organic chemicals). Particles can enter lungs or nose and cause serious health effects. Defined as PM2.5 (particles with a diameter < 2.5 um) or PM10 (diameter < 10 um).
    Particulate Matter (PM)
  9. NO + NO2. NO2 is a lung irritant; it worsens symptoms of asthma and bronchitis. Emitted mostly as NO by vehicles, fuel combustion, industry, some forest fires
  10. Forms O3 and PAN’s (peroxyacetyl nitrates) CH3C(O)OONO2. Requirements: Sun, no wind, pollution (NOx, VOCs)
    Photochemical Smog
  11. A compound that ‘holds’ another species in an inactive form to be activated at a later time.
    Reservoir Species:
  12. Peroxyacyl Nitrates (CH3C(O)OONO2). A NOx reservoir species.
  13. ClNO2. A NOx reservoir species. Requires NOx and a chloride source. First measurements in the world made in 2008 off the coast of Texas. Measured in Calgary in 2010.
    Nitryl Chloride
  14. The average time that a molecule spends in the atmosphere before it is destroyed by some other means.
    Residence Time
  15. Composed mostly of SO2 dissolved in rain as H2SO4 and to a lesser extent, NO2 dissolved as HNO3.
    Acid Rain
  16. A naturally occurring warming of the earth’s surface. Gases trap IR radiation, keeping the heat energy in the troposphere. Without the greenhouse effect, the average temperature of earth’s surface would be about -18oC, as opposed to the +150C that it is today.
    Greenhouse Effect
  17. The warming of Earth’s surface since the early 1900’s (is it due to human influences?). Some scientists say this is caused by humans from the addition of CO2 into the atmosphere from combustion of fossil fuels. This CO2 acts as a blanket surrounding the earth, trapping in heat.
    Global Warming
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Atmosphere terminology
2012-12-14 00:06:19

From Amanda's Atmosphere Terminology document on D2L
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