Atmospheric pollution is the release of a harmful chemical or material into the atmosphere. The consequences can be devastating - carbon dioxide, for example, is one of the major causes of climate change, while nitrogen oxide and sulphur dioxide combine to form harmful acid rain. Not all pollution is directly man-made, however, such as the release of ammonia from livestock. Ammonia is toxic to many aquatic animals and can lead to soil acidification and smog.
Atmospheric pollution is also harmful to human health. It has driven cancer to be the main cause of death in China, the poster country for smog, and more than half of Americans are breathing unacceptable standards of air. In the UK alone it is thought that air pollution causes 29,000 deaths every year.
CEH work on atmospheric pollution
- Whim Bog: long-term experimental site
- Moor House: enabling long-term uplands research
- Auchencorth Moss: an atmospheric observatory