What is air chemistry?
Atmospheric Chemistry Research Objectives:
- To collect profiles and concentration levels of chemical species. Such as:
- Ozone (O3)
- Nitrogen Oxides (NOx)
- Carbon Oxide (COx)
- Methane (CH4)
- Water Vapor (H2O)
- To understand chemical reactions that occur in the atmosphere.
- To understand human effects on the atomosphere in which we live.
Air, or atmospheric chemistry is a division of atmospheric science that studies the composition of chemical species that make up the atmosphere.
The composition and chemistry of the atmosphere is critical to understand for many reasons, most importantly to understand the interaction between the atmosphere and all living orgainsms. The Earth's atmosphere has been altered by human activity, mostly from the beginning of the industrial revolution to the present day, and some of these changes are harmful to human health, agriculture and ecosystems.
There are a number of critical environmental issues associated with a changing atmosphere, including:
- Photochemical smog
- Global climate change
- Toxic air pollutants
- Acidic deposition
- Stratospheric ozone depletion
Why do we conduct field studies on air chemistry?
The chemicals that now make up our atmosphere can have harmful effects on both human health and ecosystems. The more we understand about the gases and aerosols that are in the atmosphere, where they are, where they are coming from and their concentrations, the better we can plan for the future health of all living organisms and the Earth on which we live.
Studies of the chemical composition of the Earth's atmosphere seek to understand the causes of these problems, and by obtaining a theoretical understanding of them, allow possible solutions to be tested and the effects of changes in government policy evaluated.
EOL field projects studying atmospheric chemistry:
Do you still have questions about air chemistry?
If you still have a few more questions about atmospheric chemistry, feel free to ask a scientist! You can find a scientist who specializes in your particular question. Click on their name to send them an email, or click on some on some of the other provided links to learn more about their specialty!