Joel A. Thornton
ATM S 358
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.
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.
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).