When we breathe it’s not only oxygen that goes into our lungs. Oxygen is only 21% of air. Much of what we breathe, in fact, is nitrogen (78%), plus other gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, and argon. One thing is certain, though: we all die without air.

Air movement explained

The air moves because of pressure and temperature differences. We experience this as wind. When pressure changes between two regions on Earth’s surface, it results in a so-called pressure gradient.  But air doesn’t move in a straight line. Experts note that when air moves the direction it takes is from high to low pressure, going in a spiral pattern.

 Why Does Air Move

Another explanation that is widely accepted is the movement of planet Earth underneath the moving air. During this process wind is pushed back to the northern hemisphere, and to the left of the southern hemisphere.  Wind draws away because of what scientists call a Coriolis force. At a low pressure center, air moves in reverse clockwise direction and clockwise at a high pressure region in the northern hemisphere. The opposite happens in the southern hemisphere.

The role of temperature

Temperature influences the wind’s movement. This process is called convection. Convection moves heat energy from hot regions to cold regions on the Earth’s surface. This further leads to the formation of land sea breezes.

Meanwhile, on the ground level, air temperature is higher because of the sun. When you go up higher in the atmosphere the temperature drops lower and lower. This difference between ground and high altitude temperature creates an “uplift of air.” The sun’s heat expands the air molecules and causes them to vibrate and float higher. And when air goes higher we have rain clouds and sooner, rain.

The dangers of air pollution

Air pollution is one the world’s most serious problem today. Most times air pollution is man-made. The most pervasive air pollutants known to man is carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides,, and other particulate matter. They can be found in dense concentration in our atmosphere today, especially in big cities like Seoul and Los Angeles. Air pollution poses great danger to our health, and its ill effects are fatal.

Carbon dioxide manly comes from burning fossil fuel. The countries with the biggest carbon dioxide emission are the USA, Russia, and China.

With air pollution comes smog. Industrial smog, like carbon dioxide, hangs over big cities like a gigantic black cloud. This is a picture that we see every day and it looks like the picture gets darker and darker.  Unless something’s done to correct this, our ozone layer is going to deplete faster that we can imagine.

How to stop air pollution

Because of the ill effects of air pollution, the same countries mentioned above are making a move to stop it. In your own little way, you can pitch in by doing these easy tips:

  • If you can walk to your workplace, leave your car behind. Better yet use a bicycle or take public transportation.
  • Plant trees in your backyard or just about anywhere you can. Plants make the world cooler by absorbing air pollutants.
  • Quite smoking for good. It’s good for your health, your neighbor’s, and the world’s.

On a larger scale, fossil fuel use should be lessened if not stopped altogether. There’s enough time left. The question is: when do you start?

Categories: General

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