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Notes for 1st Reading Ahrens txt pages 3-7, 329-332,

Natural Science
Course Code
NATS 1780
Ian Lumb

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Lecture 2 Reading
Reading: Pgs. 3-7
Overview of the Earth’s Atmosphere
o Composition of the Atmosphere
Occupies about 78% of total volume of dry air
Occupies about 21% of total volume of dry air
If all other gases were removed, these percentages would hold
constant until an elevation of approximately 80km
At the surface, there is a balance of output and input
Destruction and production of these two gases
o Nitrogen removed from atmosphere by
biological processes involving soil bacteria
Taken out by ocean-dwelling plankton
o Returned from decaying plant and animal matter
o Oxygen is removed from the atmosphere when
organic matter decays and when it combines
with other substances
Producing oxides
o Oxygen is also taken from the atmosphere during
o Oxygen is returned to the atmosphere during
photosynthesis in plants
Concentration of water vapor varies greatly from place to place
Carbon dioxide
0.038% of the total volume of dry air
Enters atmosphere through the decay of vegetation and
also from volcanic eruptions, exaltation of animals, and
the burning of fossil fuels and from deforestation
Removal of carbon dioxide takes place through
photosynthesis in plants
Important greenhouse gas
o Traps outgoing energy
Reading: Pgs. 329-332
Types and Sources of Air Pollutants
o Human-induced air pollutants enter the atmosphere from fixed
sources and mobile sources
Fixed sources
Industrial complexes
Power plants
Office buildings
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