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Unit 11: Atmospheric Pollution // Visuals

Animation(s)

Boundary layer
Boundary layer
The boundary layer traps the pollution in the basin of Mexico City. View animation

London fog
London fog
The worst air pollution disaster on record occurred in London in 1952. View animation

Ozone
Ozone
The ozone layer protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet rays, but ground level ozone can cause irritation of the respiratory system, permanently scarring lung tissue. View animation

Ozone production
Ozone production
When pollutants interact in the presence of sunlight, they can cause a vicious cycle of ground level ozone production. View animation

Photograph(s)

Air pollution on the Autobaun in Germany, 2005
Air pollution on the Autobaun in Germany, 2005
In many cities, current concentrations of particulate matter exceed the limit values established by the European Union. In the first 3 months of 2005, for example, the daily limit value was exceeded on more than 30 days in several German cities. View image

Catalytic converter mounted in a car's exhaust system
Catalytic converter mounted in a car's exhaust system
Thanks to mandatory emission limits, catalytic converters have become standard pollution control features on passenger cars over the past several decades. View image

Fire plumes over Southern California, October 26, 2003
Fire plumes over Southern California, October 26, 2003
Forest fires produce pollutants including carbon monoxide, ozone, and aerosols. View image

Haze pollution, Acadia National Park, Maine
Haze pollution, Acadia National Park, Maine
Haze pollution can drastically reduce visibility, even at locations like Acadia National Park that are far downwind from aerosol pollution sources. View image

Ozone damage to plant leaves
Ozone damage to plant leaves
Ozone can stunt plant growth, produce mottled leaves and needles, suppress flower and bud formation, and make plants more vulnerable to fungal infections. View image

Smog over Los Angeles
Smog over Los Angeles
Geography, climate, and a high concentration of pollution sources create endemic air pollution problems in the Los Angeles basin. View image

Graphic(s)

Acid tolerance ranges of common freshwater organisms
Acid tolerance ranges of common freshwater organisms
Aquatic species have varying levels of tolerance for acidification, but few survive below pH values of about 5.0. View image

Antarctic ozone hole, October 4, 2004
Antarctic ozone hole, October 4, 2004
Reactions that produce ozone-destroying free chlorine atoms take place on frozen crystals in polar stratospheric clouds. View image

Chlorine-catalyzed ozone depletion mechanism
Chlorine-catalyzed ozone depletion mechanism
One chlorine atom can destroy more than 100,000 ozone molecules before it is removed from the stratosphere. View image

Climate forcings (W/m2): 1850-2000
Climate forcings (W/m2): 1850-2000
Net climate forcing is the product of positive and negative forcing by many greenhouse gases, aerosols, and other contributing factors. View image

Conceptual biogeochemical mercury cycle
Conceptual biogeochemical mercury cycle
Fish consumption is one of the main routes by which humans can be exposed to high levels of environmental mercury. View image

Hydrogen ion concentration, 2005
Hydrogen ion concentration, 2005
Acid rain is most severe in the midwestern and northeastern United States because the Midwest has a large number of coal-burning power plants that send SO2 and NOx emissions eastward. View image

Impact of acid rain on forest nutrient cycles
Impact of acid rain on forest nutrient cycles
Long-term exposure to acid rain leaches nutrients from soil and makes plants vulnerable to nutrient deficiencies. View image

Mercury in sediment profiles from straits south of Norway
Mercury in sediment profiles from straits south of Norway
Environmental mercury levels have increased dramatically since the start of the Industrial Revolution. View image

Nonattainment and maintenance areas in the U.S. 8-hour ozone standard
Nonattainment and maintenance areas in the U.S. 8-hour ozone standard
Prevailing winds in North America blow from west to east. Many areas downwind of large cities suffer from high ozone pollution. View image

Ozone Production
Ozone Production
Ozone is produced in the upper stratosphere by intense ultraviolet radiation, which breaks oxygen molecules into oxygen atoms that react with oxygen molecules to form ozone molecules. View image

Processes related to atmospheric composition
Processes related to atmospheric composition
A range of gases and particulate materials are constantly mixing and interacting in the atmosphere. Some effects from these pollutants are felt at the local level, while others are regional or global. View image

Satellite observations of tropospheric NO<sub>2</sub>, 2006
Satellite observations of tropospheric NO2, 2006
Global NOx emissions are increasing, driven by rising demand for energy and transportation. NOx contributes to many air pollution problems, including ground-level ozone, smog, acid rain, and climate change. View image

Size comparisons for aerosol pollution
Size comparisons for aerosol pollution
Some particles are large enough to see with the naked eye, while others can only be viewed under an electron microscope. View image

Total ozone mapping spectrometer (TOMS) aerosol index of smoke and dust absorption, 2004
Total ozone mapping spectrometer (TOMS) aerosol index of smoke and dust absorption, 2004
Major fine aerosol sources include fossil fuel and biomass combustion and high-temperature industrial processes. Industrialization in Asia is producing high levels of aerosol pollution. View image

U.S. Economic Growth and Criteria Pollutant Emissions, 1970-2006
U.S. Economic Growth and Criteria Pollutant Emissions, 1970-2006
Major pollutant emissions have trended downward on the whole in most industrialized nations since national governments began to adopt controls in the 1970s. View image

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