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


Monitoring Sites

Research Facilities

Providing isolated sites for controlled ecological experiments
Solardomes at the Air Pollution Facility
Researching ozone's effects on vegetation
Moor House carbon catchment
Carbon exchange at the catchment scale
Clatto reservoir on a sunny day
Providing the evidence for water managers to implement lake restoration programmes
A tractor spreading fertiliser. Photo Christopher Elwell/Shutterstock.
25 countries come together to write an 'Ammonia Framework Code'
A DELTA sampler overlooking a lake
Understanding changes in pollutant concentrations at rural sites
High Cloud Photo: Richard Howells CEH
Atmospheric aerosols partially offset global warming