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smog(smŏg) [smoke+fog], dense, visible air pollutionair pollution,
contamination of the air by noxious gases and minute particles of solid and liquid matter (particulates) in concentrations that endanger health. The major sources of air pollution are transportation engines, power and heat generation, industrial processes, and the
..... Click the link for more information. . Smog is commonly of two types. The gray smog of older industrial cities like London and New York derives from the massive combustion of coal and fuel oil in or near the city, releasing tons of ashes, soot, and sulfur compounds into the air. The brown smog characteristic of Los Angeles and Denver in the late 20th cent. is caused by automobiles. Nitric oxide from automobile exhaust combines with oxygen in the air to form the brown gas nitrogen dioxide. Also, when hydrocarbons and nitrous oxides from auto emissions are exposed to sunlight, a photochemical reaction takes place that results in the formation of ozone and other irritating compounds. In some instances, atmospheric pollutants accumulate and become concentrated when air movement is stopped by a temperature inversiontemperature inversion,
condition in which the temperature of the atmosphere increases with altitude in contrast to the normal decrease with altitude. When temperature inversion occurs, cold air underlies warmer air at higher altitudes.
..... Click the link for more information. : Usually the air is warmer at the earth's surface and colder above; in a temperature inversion a layer of warm air forms above and holds down a layer of cool air at the ground. Smog usually results in reduced visibility, irritation of the eyes and respiratory system, and damage to paint, metal, rubber, and other materials. Prolonged smogs (generally caused by temperature inversions) are often lethal to persons with respiratory ailments. As the result of an unremitting smog in 1948 in Donora, Pa., more than 5,000 persons were reported ill and the deaths of 20 persons were recorded. In London, smog accounted for the deaths of more than 4,000 persons in 1952 and 106 persons in 1962.
the severe air pollution over large cities and industrial centers. There are two types of smog. One is a thick fog that contains smoke or gaseous industrial wastes as, for example, in London; the other is a pall of corrosive gases and aerosols in high concentrations (without fog). The latter type arises under the effect of ultraviolet solar radiation in the atmosphere as a result of photochemical reactions occurring in the exhausts of motor vehicles and the gaseous wastes of chemical plants as, for example, in Los Angeles. Smog is usually observed when there is low atmospheric turbulence and, consequently, an even distribution of air temperature with height, especially in temperature inversions during a calm or a slight wind.
Smog, which reduces visibility and accelerates the corrosion of metals and man-made structures, is also harmful to human health. Intense and prolonged smog can be a cause of increased morbidity and mortality.