10 Interesting Facts About Air: A Look into a Major Component of Climate

Last Updated: May 27, 2023

10 Interesting Facts About Air: A Look into a Major Component of Climate

For decades, scientists have tried to understand how and why oxygen appeared in the first place; the suspicion is that life itself was responsible. More precisely, cyanobacteria.

When oxygen formed, Earth was already around 2 billion years old and was inhabited by unicellular organisms whose photosynthesis process could have given rise to the air as it is now.

During the first half of our planet's history, there was no oxygen in the atmosphere; this element appeared around 2.4 billion years ago in an event known as the Great Oxidation or the oxygen revolution.

This event gave rise to the air as we know it; without it, the plants and animals that bring life to Earth would not have been able to emerge, and human beings would never have seen the light of day.

What is the air?

Air is a mixture of gases, primarily nitrogen and oxygen, that has no smell or taste and is necessary for living beings to survive.

It is important to consider the quality of the air we breathe because it affects our good health, the proper functioning and activity of our bodies, adequate blood circulation, the proper functioning of the brain, and, in summary, a longer and better quality of life. The air we breathe is composed of a mixture of the following gases: nitrogen (N2) 78%, oxygen (O2) 20%, noble gases 1%, carbon dioxide (CO2) 0.03%, and water (H2O) 0.97%.

Role of Plants in Creating Air

Plants and trees play an essential role as they absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis to release or expel the oxygen needed by animals and humans, who, in turn, do the opposite: they absorb oxygen and release carbon dioxide. So, the benefit is mutual for plants and animals.

92% of the planet's residents do not breathe clean air

Nine out of ten people in the world inhale polluted air. Every year, seven million people die prematurely as a result. The dark smog engulfing cities like Beijing and New Delhi, as well as Bogota, Santiago de Chile, and Mexico City, poses a threat to the health, social well-being, and economic progress of nations. This toxic combination is one of the most significant challenges facing the planet.

Composition of Air

Under normal conditions, one liter of air weighs 1.29 grams. It is odorless and colorless, which is why we tend to ignore it. However, it is vital for life because it provides the essential oxygen we need to breathe.

Air and Earth’s Climate

The atmosphere is the layer that surrounds the Earth, and it is one of the most important components of the Earth's climate. Life on the planet is concentrated in the lower layer, called the troposphere.

Air and Human Respiration

Every day, humans breathe around 20,000 times. An adult inhale approximately 13,000 to 15,000 liters of air per day.

Air Constituents

Pure air is composed of a mixture of gases, including nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, argon, neon, helium, krypton, xenon, hydrogen, methane, nitrous oxide, water vapor, ozone, and particles.

Air Pollution and Human Activities

The majority of particulate and gaseous pollutants in the air are produced by human activity and mainly originate from urban and industrial centers.

Plants are Significant Contributor

Though often underestimated by humans, plants are a major contributor for oxygen in Air. Almost 30% of oxygen in our atmosphere is generated by plants.

Trees cool the Air

Trees cool the air through the process of transpiration, helping to improve the environment. They can also serve as sound barriers, regulating another form of air pollution known as acoustic pollution.

Air and the heat

Hot air is lighter than cold air, causing it to naturally ascend. To keep a balloon afloat, the air inside it must remain warm.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the three main things in air?

Nitrogen (78%), Oxygen (21%), Argon (1%), Carbon-di-oxide (0.03%) and water vapor.

How much air is on Earth?

About 5.5 quadrillion tons of air is on Earth.

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