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Air Quality Revision. The Atmosphere. The Earth is surrounded by an atmosphere made up of: 78% Nitrogen 21% Oxygen 1% Argon Plus Carbon Dioxide and water vapour. Pollutants. Human activity adds CO, CO 2 , carbon, NO x and SO 2 to the atmosphere.

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Air Quality Revision

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Presentation Transcript
the atmosphere
The Atmosphere
  • The Earth is surrounded by an atmosphere made up of:
    • 78% Nitrogen
    • 21% Oxygen
    • 1% Argon
    • Plus Carbon Dioxide and water vapour
  • Human activity adds CO, CO2, carbon, NOx and SO2 to the atmosphere.
  • Some of these are harmful to humans or harmful to the environment.
combustion reactions
Combustion Reactions
  • When fuels burn carbon and hydrogen in the fuel react with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water.




combustion reactions5
Combustion Reactions
  • Burning fossil fuels also produces;
    • Carbon Monoxide CO

(from incomplete oxidation of carbon)

    • Sulfur Dioxide SO2

(from sulfur in the fuel)

    • Nitrogen Monoxide NO
    • Nitrogen Dioxide NO2

(from nitrogen in the air inside an engine)

  • Remember that the number of atoms before and after the reaction must be the same.
  • This means that the tonnes of fuel we burn end up in the atmosphere.
where do pollutants go
Where do pollutants go?
  • Particulate carbon is deposited on surfaces making them dirty.
  • Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide react with water and oxygen to make acid rain.
  • Carbon dioxide is used by plants in photosynthesis.
  • Carbon dioxide dissolves in rain water and sea water.
reducing pollution
Reducing Pollution

Power Stations

  • Use less electricity.
  • Remove the sulfur from gas and oil.
  • Remove SO2 and carbon power station flues.


  • Lean burn engines.
  • Low sulfur fuels.
  • Catalytic Converters.
  • Emissions testing and legal limits.
  • Public Transport.
analysing data
Analysing Data
  • Understand that individual cases do not provide convincing evidence.
  • Understand why it is necessary to repeat a study to confirm it.
  • Understand that a change in one factor at the same time as another is a ‘correlation’.
  • However, a correlation does not mean one factor changing causes the other to change.