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Week 4 Homework: Fundaments of our atmosphere and air quality regulations. Answer the following questions.

(1) Carbon dioxide and water combined typically make up 1-3% of our atmosphere, and yet, we are constantly monitoring the atmospheric content of CO2 and H2O.  Why?  Explain why they vary from hour to hour and why they are such important gases in our atmosphere despite the fact that they are not the top three gases in our atmosphere.

(2) With one exception, the relative concentrations of atmospheric gases do not change with height.  Indicate this exception, its concentration patterns, and reasons why this is the case.

(3) The atmosphere is in constant motion.  Why?  What is the general pattern of airflow?  Explain why there is this general pattern of airflow and why atmospheric gases don’t simply flow into outer space.

(4) The composition of the Earth’s atmosphere has changed in the past 200 years.  What are/were the major changes in our atmospheric composition?

(5) Name the top ten air pollutants we presently regulate. Is there a common source for these top ten pollutants? If so, what is it? What percentage of our atmospheric gases do these top ten regulated gases make up?

(6) Identify the sinks for the following molecules and the transformation of the molecules due to the sink.

(7) Identify two factors that affect the lifetime of pollutants in the atmosphere, and explain how these two factors affect pollutant lifetime. Why should you be aware of

(8) When fossil fuel is burned, many different types of carbon-based molecules can be emitted.  Of all carbon-based emissions, carbon dioxide is the best-case scenario given what will occur to the other carbon-based emissions. Explain why you agree or disagree with the previous statement and the consequence of this fact.

(9) The CAA dealt with both stratospheric and tropospheric ozone issues.  Explain what emissions the CAA limited to address these two issues.  It would be helpful to fill in the following table:

(10) A colleague comments to you that the ozone hole must be getting worse since we are having so many ozone alert days.  How would you gently correct this misconception of your colleague in relating ozone alert days with the ozone hole? 

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