At first glance it seems like a simple and obvious answer. We need air to live and breathe. Air is made up of many gases and compounds and, although oxygen is the best known, the one we need to live and breathe, there are other living beings that need these other compounds to fulfill their vital functions. Although the first answer seems to be the most obvious of the reasons there are many others and that is why in AgroCorrn we are going to discover why air is important for living beings .
- What is the air
- Why is it important for living things
- Why is oxygen important for living things
- Ozone layer
- Water source
- Greenhouse effect
What is the air
Air is a homogeneous gaseous mass composed of different gases. The main gases are:
- Nitrogen (N2) by 78%.
- Oxygen (O2) by 21%.
- Argon (Ar) by 0.93%.
Air also contains water vapor, approximately 0.4% and carbon dioxide 0.035%. In the air there are other gases with very small percentages such as neon, helium, methane, krypton, hydrogen and ammonia.
Air has a density of 1.23 kg / m 3 at a temperature of 15ºC. The air weighs more and exerts more pressure at sea level than at the top of a large mountain, such as Everest. Due to the attraction exerted by gravity, the heavier and denser particles and gases are closer to the Earth’s surface than those that are not so close to space.
In addition, air forms the atmosphere , the gaseous layer that surrounds the Earth. As its origin indicates atmosphere means sphere of steam, since the word derives from the Greek “atmosphere” which means steam and from “sphaira” which means sphere. The atmosphere is about 500 km thick and is divided into troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere and exosphere depending on how close or how far it is from the earth’s surface.
Why is it important for living things
All living things are composed of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen . All these elements are found in the air, either in their natural form or as part of other compounds. Thanks to respiration, metabolic processes and biogeochemical cycles we are able to acquire these elements, incorporate them into our body and return a certain part to the air again. Thanks to the air, animals can breathe , plants can carry out photosynthesis, we can protect ourselves from solar radiation while at the same time we obtain heat, and we have water and wind. Next, we will explain in detail and point by point the importance of air for living beings .
Why is oxygen important for living things
Most living beings breathe to live and for this we need the oxygen that is in the atmosphere. During respiration, we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide . In order to breathe, animals have developed different body structures where this gas exchange occurs, such as gills in fish or lungs in mammals. In turn, our cells also breathe, and they do so in organelles called mitochondria, where oxygen is used to oxidize an organic molecule such as glucose for energy. As a result of this metabolic process, carbon dioxide is also released.
Plants and other photosynthetic organisms use the carbon dioxide present in the air as a source of carbon to create their structures and obtain energy . Thanks to the enzyme RuBisCo (ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase) located in the chloroplasts of plant cells, carbon dioxide molecules can bind. Subsequently, the molecular complex is separated and obtained; the carbon that the plant will use to grow and develop, the energy to carry out other metabolic reactions and the oxygen, which is released into the atmosphere and will be used by other living beings.
The ozone layer or ozonosphere is a layer of the atmosphere that contains ozone (O3) and is located between the troposphere and the stratosphere. The ozonosphere protects us from ultraviolet UV-B and infrared rays . Without this protective shield, life on earth would not be possible due to the intense radiation. Due to air pollution, especially CFC (chlorofluorocarbon gases) pollution , this layer has weakened and the well-known “holes” in the ozone layer have been created. The consequences are terrible, especially on health and vegetation, as they cause skin lesions and cancer and can impede plant development.
In the following article we explain in depth why the ozone layer is so important .
As we have discussed before, air contains a large percentage of water vapor . Water vapor forms clouds. When the clouds rise and cool down due to the decrease in temperature, the water vapor becomes precipitation , falling to the earth’s surface as water, ice or snow. Once precipitation occurs, living beings have liquid water to hydrate themselves , as a means of life in which to grow and reproduce, for their metabolic reactions, and so on. In this way, air plays a crucial role in the water cycle.
Wind is defined as moving air. The wind influences the climate both locally and globally and in coastal areas it is responsible for the swell. The wind is also capable of transporting nutrients and microorganisms to different places. Many plants also depend on the wind for pollination and dispersal of their fruits . Some living beings such as insects, birds or mammals need the wind to be able to fly and migrate to other places in search of territory, food and a mate. For human beings, the wind is a very important economic resource because thanks to this movement of the air we can obtain clean and cheap energy. In the following article we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy .
Finally, it is worth highlighting the greenhouse effect that, although a priori is usually considered as a negative consequence of air pollution, it is actually important for life on Earth . Thanks to gases such as carbon dioxide or methane, a layer of gases is created in the atmosphere that allow the sun’s rays to enter, but not their exit. This makes the Earth have a suitable temperature for liquid water to exist.on its surface which is essential for the development of life. It is a delicate balance since the excessive presence of these gases causes the planet to heat up more than it should and promote global climate change, thus altering the physical and chemical processes that occur on Earth and affecting the species that affect it. inhabit.
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