ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Ever Wonder What is in the Air We Breathe?

Updated on February 18, 2014
Water and air as a necessity of life.
Water and air as a necessity of life.
Atmosphere, Weather and Climate
Atmosphere, Weather and Climate

This is for those of you who would like to know more and need to have the most up to date information.

 

Take a deep breath and let it out. Now, I am sure you are wondering what it is that you are breathing in. The air we breathe is essential to life; however, the composition of that air is not the same every where. Pollutants are more prevalent near larger cities; dust is more common in deserts; water vapor, in the form of humidity in some areas, is more present in coastal areas; and, yet, the elements in air remain similar throughout the world. Most people take for granted that the air they are breathing is the same as the air someone else is breathing miles away. This is not necessarily true. There are many factors that determine the composition of the atmosphere.

Earth's Atmosphere

Earth's Atmosphere is made of four layers: the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere, pictured below. This hub will only cover some atmospheric facts on the troposphere because it is closest to the Earth and, therefore, it is the atmospheric layer that people, plants, and animals live in.

Earth's atmospheric layers
Earth's atmospheric layers
View of a city from a mountain top.
View of a city from a mountain top.

Elements of Air

The air we, as people, breathe is composed mostly of oxygen, nitrogen gas, and argon. These 3 elements account for 99.9% of the elements in air. These 3 elements make life on Earth possible and, furthermore, make it possible for people to breathe. In addition, ozone near the surface of the Earth, in the troposphere, is bad for air quality but does exist in relatively large quantities in certain areas around the globe because it does not mix well with elements in the troposphere.

A windy day in the desert.
A windy day in the desert.

Tiny Particles in Air

Aerosols are commonly found in the air and it is no surprise that they are more abundant near factories, cities, and windy places. Smog and other tiny particles like carbon dioxide are more prevalent in urban areas. The Earth also has natural aerosols, such as volcanic ash, smoke, organic matter, sea salt spray, and wind blown dust. Different aerosols have various effects on Earth's atmosphere. For example, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were once used in most products stored in aerosol cans, like hairspray and freon in car air conditioning systems, but it was found that they react with the ozone in the stratosphere and decrease the planet's ability to deflect harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Basically, a planet without ozone is like a person out in the sun all day without sunscreen. Ouch! Carbon dioxide, another harmful aerosol, is responsible for the controversial global warming theory. Aerosols play big roles in the way the Earth system works because they mostly cool the Earth's temperature but also cause pollution and other harmful side effects. If they are not controlled, they may cause unknown effects on the planet and planets and animals, including humans.

Water in a lake as a liquid.
Water in a lake as a liquid.

Water Vapor in Air

Water is one of the most important compounds, if not the most important compound found on Earth. It is essential for life not only in its liquid form but also in its gaseous and sold form as well. Above it was mentioned that oxygen, nitrogen gas, and argon make up 99.9% of the atmosphere. This is variable throughout the Earth. Some places may have more oxygen or less oxygen and the same is true with nitrogen gas and argon. For this reason, water in the form of gas makes up anywhere from 0%-4% of the Earth's atmospheric composition. This is why places like the desert have no humidity and places like Florida and other tropical regions have more humidity.

A power plant in an otherwise serene setting.
A power plant in an otherwise serene setting.

The next time you take a breath in a town, a city, an airport, a car, a field, or any other place you may find yourself you will know that it is different from the air you were breathing at home or in the office. It is important to know the elements and compounds in air because the health of people, plants, and animals depends on the air we all breathe. People breathe harmful toxins in daily because they do not know they are in the air. These toxins cause a wide variety of health problems, including cancer. Paying more attention to the harmful things put in the air could save the planet, or in the very least yourself.

Atmosphere, Weather and Climate
Atmosphere, Weather and Climate

This is the most recent edition of this book and it holds many answers to more in depth questions.

 

© 2012 morningstar18

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)