Introduction to Air Pollutant Dispersion

Air pollutants emitted by point and distributed sources are transported, dispersed, or concentrated by meteorological and topographical conditions. The airborne cycle is initiated with the emission of the pollutants, followed by their transport and diffusion through the atmosphere. The cycle is completed when the pollutants are deposited on vegetation, livestock, soil, water surfaces, and other objects, and when they are washed out of the atmosphere by rain. In some cases the pollutants may be reinserted into the atmosphere by the action of the wind. During the period of time that the pollutants are airborne they may undergo physical and chemical changes. The results of such transformations can be harmful or beneficial.

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