Chapter

Emissions and Urban Air

William G. Wilson

in Constructed Climates

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780226901459
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226901473 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226901473.003.0004
Emissions and Urban Air

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This chapter looks at the issues involving air, covering the causes and consequences of contributions from both human and nonhuman organisms. Humans dominate emissions in urban areas. Air quality studies categorize emission sources as either point or nonpoint, roughly corresponding to fixed or moving, respectively. Both types of emissions roughly match maps of population density, at least in the United States. Vegetation and soils also emit chemicals, often as a by-product of evolution in the face of herbivory, competition, and environmental stresses that yielded chemical responses and defenses. These emissions can reduce air quality in urban areas, with some tree species being worse “violators” than others. These emissions feed into, among other pollutants, ozone formation in the hot summer months. For a more complete understanding of urban pollution, the chapter provides an overview of the chemical reactions that link volatile organic compounds (VOCs), reactive nitrogen, sunshine, ozone, and eye-stinging pollutants.

Keywords: vegetation; chemicals; volatile organic compounds; ozone; emissions; urban air

Chapter.  8014 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Biodiversity and Conservation Biology

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