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The Winter 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist includes a variety of educational resources, ranging from astronomy to glaciers. Check out the other publications and classroom materials in our online store.

Air Pollution Sources

Air pollution comes from many sources. Some natural sources affect air quality. Volcanoes produce sulfur, chlorine, and ash. Wildfires make smoke and carbon monoxide. Cattle and other animals release methane as part of their digestive process. Even pine trees make volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

People make many types of air pollution. Factories, power plants and cars make nitrogen oxides, VOCs, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and particulates. In most megacities, such as Mexico City and Los Angeles, cars are the biggest source of air pollution. Even farmers burning their crop waste make carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and particulates.

One important thing to remember about air pollution is that it doesn't stay in one place. Winds and weather play an important part in moving pollution around. Pollution can move all around the world, changing everything it touches.

Last modified February 6, 2008 by Travis Metcalfe.

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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earthís ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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