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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Joel A. Thornton
ATM S 358
Seattle Campus

Fundamentals of Atmospheric Chemistry

Review of basic principles of physical chemistry; evolution and chemical composition of earth's atmosphere; half-life, residence and renewal time; sources, transformation, transport and sinks of gases in the troposphere; atmospheric aerosols; chemical cycles; air pollution; stratospheric chemistry. Recommended: CHEM 142; MATH 126; PHYS 123. Offered: Sp.

Class description

This course considers the processes that control the chemical composition of the atmosphere. A major theme will be the impact of human activities in this regard and the environmental consequences. We will focus on the following: stratospheric ozone depletion, global pollution of the troposphere, urban air pollution, acid rain, and the role of chemistry in the climate system.

Student learning goals

Describe the workings of the atmosphere as a chemical reactor

Explain several important atmospheric phenomena from the molecular to the global scale

Critically evaluate discussions of atmospheric pollution and climate change in the press

General method of instruction

The course is based on 3 lectures a week by the professor. Each lecture explores a concept or phenomenon with engagement by the students through participation in questions posed throughout the lecture.

Recommended preparation

The course is aimed at science majors. It is strongly recommended that students have taken Math 126, Physics 123, and Chem 142 (or the equivalents).

Class assignments and grading

Problem Sets (weekly) 2 Midterm Exams 1 Final Exam

Grades are determined from the total number of points obtained relative to the course mean. The course mean is typically set at 2.8 - 2.9 (B- to B).


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Joel A. Thornton
Date: 04/05/2007