Aerosol pollution causes
Natural causes of aerosol pollution
Most aerosols released into the atmosphere are naturally generated - about 90% according to NASA.
Volcanic activity emits massive volumes of ash into the atmosphere along with a cocktail of gases including sulphur dioxide. Volcanic aerosols have been a feature of the planet's ecosystem for billions of years.
In the world's aquatic systems, some types of microalgae produce a sulfurous gas that can be converted into sulphates in the atmopshere. Sulphates increase the acidity of the atmosphere and form acid rain.
Forest fires contribute large quantities of organic carbon and dust from sandstorms and sea salt from ocean spray also provide a continual supply of aerosols into the atmosphere.
Some types of vegetation create gases which react with other airborne elements to create aerosols.
Man-made causes of aerosol pollution
Man-made activity contributes to aerosol pollution through fossil fuel combustion, agricultural sources, the release of by-products from industrial processes and interactions with the natural surface of the earth through activities such as construction and mining.
Fossil fuel combustion produces sulfur dioxide in large quantities whilst biomass burning, a method used to clear land, releases organic carbon and black carbon.
Forest fires are a natural cause of aerosol release but up to 90% of all forest fires are thought to be started by humans.
Automotive vehicles, smelters, incinerators and power plants produce sulphates, carbon, nitrates and numerous less well known particles on a large scale.
Within a domestic setting, fireplaces, cookers, cigarettes and candles will all produce an aerosol footprint.