Ever Wonder What is in the Air We Breathe?
Hubs with Fun Facts
- Controlling Nature?
Several examples of failed attempts to control nature are given to illustrate that people are the mercy of the elements.
- Do You Know What Else Crude Oil Makes?
If the first thing you think of when you think crude oil is gasoline for your car, you might want to consider that crude oil is a crucial component in making these far more essential products. Simply reading the paragraph titles will give you a bette
- You Are Currently Moving at about 1,000 mph!
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 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.
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.
Hubs on "The Control of Nature"
- Cooling the Lava: The Battle to Save Heimaey
Read about the terrifying ordeal of waking up to an active volcano erupting just outside your front door and how a town was sacrificed.
- Controlling Nature?
A look at John McPhee's several examples of failed attempts to control nature in "The Control of Nature." They are given to illustrate that people are the mercy of the elements.
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 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.
Examples of How Air Can Affect People
- Climate During and After the Native American Migration to North America
A research paper on how Native Americans migrated through the Bering Strait to the Americas several thousand years ago.
- Predicting Future Sea-Level Change
Predicting future sea-level change by looking at ways present sea-level is monitored. Understanding and predicting future sea-level change is important because Earth’s climate is also changing.
- Effects on Indigenous People
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.
© 2012 morningstar18