Atmosphere – a thin layer of air that forms a protective covering around the planet
Pollution • Pollution changes the makeup of the gases in the atmosphere • Example: car exhaust • Pollutants mix in with oxygen and other gases in the air. When these gases combine with sunlight, smog is formed (a brown haze). • Carbon dioxide (CO₂) is one of the gases being released into the air by humans because of the burning of fuel.
Solids in the Atmosphere • The atmosphere also contains small, solid particles like dust, salt and pollen. • Dust is picked up off the ground and carried away by wind. • Salt is picked up from ocean spray. • Pollen is picked up from plants.
Liquids in the Atmosphere • The atmosphere also contains small liquid droplets in addition to water droplets in clouds. • These liquids and solids are constantly moving.
What are two things that would be affected if Earth did not have an atmosphere? Explain. • To start, the atmosphere keeps a balance of heat. Without it, nights would be extremely cold and days would be extremely hot. Also, the atmosphere protects living things on Earth from the sun’s strong and harmful rays.