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Chapter 15

Earth's Changing Atmosphere

TermDefinition
atmosphere the outer layer of gases of a large body in space, such as a planet or star; the mixture of gases that surrounds the solid Earth; one of the four parts of the Earth system
altitude the distance above sea level
density a property of matter representing the mass per unit volume
cycle a series of events or actions that repeat themselves regularly; a physical and/or chemical process in which one material continually changes locations and/or forms to move through a repeating series of events or actions
radiation energy that travels across distances as certain types of waves
conduction the transfer of heat energy from one substance to another through direct contact without obvious motion
convention the transfer of energy from place to place by the motion of heated gas or liquid
ultraviolet radiation radiation of higher frequencies that visible light, which can cause sunburn and other types of damage
infrared radiation radiation of lower frequencies than visible light
ozone a gas molecule that consists of three oxygen molecule atoms
greenhouse effect the process by which certain gases in a planet's atmosphere absorb and emit infrared radiation, resulting in an increase in surface temperature
greenhouse gases Gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, that absorb and give off infrared radiation as part of the greenhouse effect
air pollution harmful materials added to the air that can cause damage to living things and the environment
particulates tiny particles or droplets, such as dust, dirt, and pollen, that are mixed in with the air
fossil fuels fuels formed from the remains of prehistoric organisms that are burned for energy
smog the combination of smoke and fog; a type of air pollution that occurs when sunlight causes unburnt fuels, fumes, and other gases to react chemically, often seen as a brownish haze
Created by: avaught