Trace gas

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A trace gas is a gas which makes up less than 1% by volume of the Earth's atmosphere, and it includes all gases except nitrogen (78.1%) and oxygen (20.9%). The most abundant trace gas at 0.934% is argon. Water vapor also occurs in the atmosphere with highly variable abundance.

Several atmospheric trace gases such as ozone O
, sulfur dioxide SO
and nitrogen oxides NO
are anthropogenic, chemically reactive factors of air quality at a regional level. Others such as carbon dioxide CO
and methane CH
are important greenhouse gases[1] and are produced anthropogenically but mainly by plants, microorganisms and from natural geothermal sources.[2][3]


  1. ^ R.K. Monson & E.A. Holland (2001). "Biospheric trace gas fluxes and their control over tropospheric chemistry". Ann. Rev. Ecol. Sys. 32: 547–576. doi:10.1146/annurev.ecolsys.32.081501.114136. 
  2. ^ S.J. Hall, P.A. Matson & P.M. Roth (1996). "NOX emissions from soil: Implications for air quality modeling in agricultural regions". Ann. Rev. Energy Env. 21: 311–346. doi:10.1146/ 
  3. ^ R.K. Monson (2002). "Volatile organic compound emissions from terrestrial ecosystems: A primary biological control over atmospheric chemistry". Israel J. Chem. 42: 29–42. doi:10.1560/0JJC-XQAA-JX0G-FXJG. 

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