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1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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Atmosphere

CHANGES IN AUSTRALIA'S ATMOSPHERE

Air quality is an important factor in the quality of life in Australia, especially for those living in major cities. Poor air quality has consequences on people's health, and can affect plants and animals. The concentration of fine particles in the atmosphere is a form of air pollution about which many health experts in Australia are most concerned. Human activities that create airborne particles include motor vehicle emissions, industrial processing, and the use of woodheaters. Outside of cities, sulphur dioxide pollution is an issue in some mining/minerals processing centres.

Ozone depletion and fine particles as air pollutants are of concern in Australia. When concentrations are at or above national air quality standards, health issues become a primary concern due to poor air quality.

Climate change has been described as a change in the state of climate that can be identified by changes in the average weather and/or its properties, which persists for an extended period of time (decades or longer). It is an issue which has the potential to threaten our biodiversity and have profound consequences on our economy and society (increasing frequency and severity of floods and rising sea levels, for instance, have the potential to cause significant damage).

The next section looks at greenhouse emissions from the land use, land use change and forestry sector, followed by ozone and smog, and particle concentrations in our three most populous cities - Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. It then tracks changes in the number of ozone depleting substances in the atmosphere, and sulphur dioxide levels around two mining towns (Port Pirie and Mt. Isa). Lastly, we discuss the change in Australia's temperature.

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