Course Syllabus

Here is an evolving outline.

ATMS 501: Introduction to Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry



Course Outline:


  1. Introduction to Thermodynamics – Basic Laws
    1. Zeroth Law, Equilibrium and the definition of temperature
    2. First Law of Thermodynamics: work
    3. The Second Law of Thermodynamics
    4. The Carnot Cycle and Efficiency
    5. Entropy – Irreversibility
    6. Adiabatic Surfaces and Thermodynamic Potentials
    7. Third Law: Nernst’s Postulate
  2. Introduction to Thermodynamics: Phase Transitions
    1. Van der Waal’s Equation of State
    2. Maxwell’s Construction – Lecture 4
    3. Clausius - Clapeyron Relation
  3. Thermodynamics of Air
    1. Intensive form of Ideal Gas Law for dry air and vapor
    2. Specific humidity
    3. Virtual Temperature
    4. First Law and Specific Heats
    5. First Law with ideal gases
    6. Isothermal, isovolume, isobaric and adiabatic processes
    7. Entropy change in air.
    8. Dry adiabatic processes and potential temperature
    9. Hydrostatic Balance
    10. Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate
  4. Thermodynamics of Water
    1. Amazing physical and chemical properties of water
    2. Gibbs Phase Rule and degrees of freedom
    3. P vs T chart for water
    4. P vs V chart for water
    5. Clausius Clapeyron again – Ice-vapor; Liquid-vapor
    6. Solutions, Raoults’s Law
    7. Vapor pressure depression by solute
  5. Thermodynamics of Moist Air
    1. Relative Humidity
    2. Combined first and second laws with air, vapor, liquid and ice.
    3. Enthalpy with air, vapor, liquid and ice
    4. Adiabatic system with vapor-liquid phase change
    5. Saturated adiabatic lapse rate – derivation
    6. Equivalent Potential Temperature
    7. Moist static energy – and Polar Amplification Explanation
  6. Aerologic Diagrams
    1. Clapeyron Diagram
    2. Tephigram
    3. Emagram (‘energy per unit mass’)
    4. Skew emagram – aka Skew T log p diagram or ‘Skew T’
    5. Stüve diagram – aka Pseudo-Adiabatic Chart
      1. Skew-T Diagram Basics
    6. Dew Point Temperature
  7. Radiative Transfer
    1. Quantitative description of radiation
    2. Blackbody Radiation
    3. Selective absorption by molecules of gas
    4. The greenhouse effect
    5. Physics of scattering
    6. Rayleigh and Mie Scattering
    7. Beer's Law
    8. Schwartzchild's Equation.
    9. Radiative-Convective Equilibrium
    10. Remote Sensing
  8. Atmospheric Chemistry 
    1. Composition of the Atmosphere
    2. Sources, Sinks and residence times
    3. The hydroxyl radical
    4. Nitrogen oxides
    5. Photochemical smog and ozone
    6. Tropospheric chemical cycles
    7. Stratospheric Chemistry
    8. Stratospheric Ozone and the Ozone Hole
  9. C loud Microphysics
    1. Homogeneous nucleation of water droplets
    2. Heterogeneous nucleation of water droplets
    3. Cloud Condensation Nuclei
    4. Cloud liquid water content and entrainment
    5. Droplet growth by Condensation
    6. Growth by collection – fall speed
    7. The gap between growth by collection and coalescence into rainfall
    8. Microphysics of cold clouds
    9. Advertent Cloud Modification






(to be continued)

Course Summary:

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