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Chemistry plays an influential role in the behavior of Earth's atmosphere. The various gases in the atmosphere are constantly mixing with and reacting with each other. Gases released by the oceans, emitted by plants, animals, and microbes, and poured into the atmosphere by human activities continually alter the balance of atmospheric chemistry.
The activities of humans play an increasingly important role in atmospheric chemistry. Fossil fuel burning generates sulfur oxides, which create sulfuric acid - a component of acid rain. Exhaust gases from cars and trucks produce nitrogen oxides, which contribute to the formation of smog and of nitric acid - another component of acid rain.
Nature also does its share to alter the chemistry of the atmosphere. Volcanic eruptions, wildfires, lightning, and UV radiation from the Sun all add materials to the atmosphere or chemically alter those already there. The oceans and the biosphere exchange vast quantities of gases with the atmosphere. The Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles play key roles in these processes.
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