Chemistry » The Earth’s Atmosphere

The Earth's Atmosphere

This page covers:

Atomosphere, greenhouse gases, climate change, atmospheric pollutants

Key Words

Phase 1 - the first billion years. The volcanoes erupted and realeased gases which formed our early atmosphere. It contained mostly carbon dioxide.

Phase 2 - water vapour formed oceans which dissolved most of the carbon dioxide. .

Phase 3 - green plants and algae absorbed carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. They produced oxygen and over time more complex life (animals) could evolve.

Greenhouse gases - gases in the atmosphere which help keep the warm energy in.

Global Warming - when the Earth heats up because of the increasing levels of greenhouse gases.

Climate change - the Earth weather patterns change and remain in place for an extended period of time.

Deforestation - the clearing of forests. Can cause:

  • More CO2 in the atmosphere which can lead to global warming.
  • More CO2 is released from the burning of trees.
  • Less biodiversity, species becoming extinct when their homes are destroyed.

Carbon footprint - a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is released over the full life cycle of something or doing something.

Fossil fuels - natural resources that from underground over millions of years.

Also see Energy resources, Biodiversity


KS3 - The Earth recap

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BBC Bitesize - Earth and the environment