Atmosphere >> Introduction

“The Air is Everywhere” is a song title from the 1967 play, Hair. The song begins by describing an all-too-familiar situation: “Hello sulfur dioxide, hello carbon monoxide......the air, the air, the air is everywhere”. We all breath in and out countless times every day without concern for just what it is that we are actually taking into our lungs and processing. The atmosphere contains 20% oxygen, 76% nitrogen, 0.2% carbon dioxide, and numerous anthropogenic substances, some of which can be seen in the photograph on the lower left. These latter substances can detract significantly from our state of well being.

Clean Air Act
of 1963

Los Angeles, California
Before the Clean Air Act was enacted.

City-dweller joke: “I don't trust air I can't see.”




Los Angeles, California
Ten years after the Clean Air Act was enacted.

Notice the San Gabriel and San Bernadino Mountains. (“On a clear day you can see forever.”)

There are many worldwide problems that involve alterations in the atmosphere (e.g. atmospheric warming, acid rain, temperature inversions (some enriched with sulphur-containing pollutants) over urban centers, particulates from industrial sources and automobile emissions, and El Niño events, to name but a few. Of these, the health hazards related to ozone depletion will be illuminated.

The Nobel Prize acceptance speeches given in 1995 for the discovery of the agents responsible for ozone depletion will bring into focus the problem as it exists today and suggestions as to how to solve the problem.

Formation and Prevention of the Annual Antarctic Ozone Hole
(from Science Magazine)




Click here to access NASA Ozone Site

Click on the Earth to access the NASA Ozone Site