ATM S 558 A Wi 19: Atmospheric Chemistry

ATM S 558 A Wi 19: Atmospheric Chemistry

ATMS 558 Atmospheric Chemistry:

Winter 2019


Link to class schedule + notes --> Here

Class Meeting Times and Location: Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:00-10:20 am in Room 310 in the Atmospheric Sciences Building.

Course Description: Graduate course providing an introduction to the physical and chemical processes determining the composition of the atmosphere and its implications for climate, ecosystems, and human welfare. We will look at the role of atmospheric chemistry behind several important global environmental problems: Stratospheric ozone depletion, tropospheric ozone and photochemical smog, oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere, acid rain, mercury biogeochemical cycling, global warming.

Instructor: Lyatt Jaeglé (; 685-2679; Office: ATG 302)

Office hours: After class or e-mail me to set up a time.

Prerequisites: ATM S 501 or permission of instructor.

Grading policy: Homework, 60%; Project paper and presentation, 30%; Class participation, 10%.


  • Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry, by D.J. Jacob, Princeton University Press, 1999. The lectures will largely follow this textbook. Each week the students will be required to read material of direct relevance to the class. Textbook + Errata available online:

 Topics covered:

1) Introduction and Fundamentals. Photochemistry; Theory of gas-phase reaction rates; Multiphase chemistry; Analysis of reaction mechanisms; Timescales; Box models.

2) Stratospheric chemistry. Stratospheric ozone and the Chapman mechanism; Catalytic loss cycles (HOx, NOy and halogen chemistry); Polar and mid-latitude ozone depletion; Role of aerosol chemistry in the stratosphere.  

3) Tropospheric Chemistry. Oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere; Tropospheric ozone; Tropospheric NOx and hydrocarbons; Air pollution and ozone smog; Tropospheric Sulfur and tropospheric aerosols.

4) Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate. Global warming and atmospheric chemistry: direct and indirect effects. Chemistry-climate feedbacks.

Other useful textbooks:

“Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Change”, G.P. Brasseur, J.J. Orlando, and G.S. Tyndall (eds.), Oxford University Press, 1999.

“Chemistry of the Lower and Upper Atmosphere” Finlayson-Pitts and Pitts, Academic Press, 1999.

“Chemistry of the Natural Atmosphere” P. Warneck, Academic Press, 1999.

“Atmospheric Change” T.E. Graedel & P.J. Crutzen, Freeman, 1992.

“Chemistry of Atmospheres: An Introduction to the Chemistry of the Atmospheres of Earth, the Planets, and their Satellites” R.P. Wayne, Oxford University Press, 2000.

Final Project:

Students will write a paper and give a 10-minute presentation during the last week of class. A list of possible topics is included below, or students can pick a topic of their own choosing. The paper should be at least 5 pages long (but no more than 10 pages) using ~1.5 line spacing and include at least 10 references in the peer-reviewed literature, as well as figures to illustrate your points. To find relevant papers, a search on the Web of Science is an excellent starting point.

Topics chosen:

  • Volcanoes and atmospheric chemistry - Ajda
  • Sea salt aerosol - Ben
  • Effects of aerosols on tropospheric ozone - Daniel
  • Cloud chemistry - Sami
  • Recent trends in CH4 - Mingcheng
  • Primary biological aerosol particles - Yakelyn
  • Glacial-interglacial variations of CH4 - Greta
  • Asian monsoon transport of pollution - Lindsey
  • The carbonyl sulfide cycle and its use a proxy for photosynthesis - Claire
  • Influence of biomass burning on ozone in the Tropics - Phil
  • Stratosphere-troposphere exchange (tropical cyclones?) - Edo
  • Geoengineering with stratospheric aerosols - Andrew

Potential topics.

  • The effects of global warming on the recovery of the stratospheric ozone
  • Air pollution in mega-cities
  • Air pollution and health
  • Intercontinental transport of pollutants
  • Composition of polar stratospheric clouds
  • Biomass burning, and its effect on tropospheric ozone levels in tropical regions
  • Biogenic emissions of VOCs
  • Halogen chemistry in the marine boundary layer
  • Ozone depletion events in the arctic boundary layer
  • Is the global oxidizing capacity of the atmosphere changing?
  • Satellite observations of tropospheric composition
  • Satellite observations of stratospheric composition
  • Lightning and the global NOx budget
  • Sources and chemistry of DMS
  • Recent trends in CH4
  • Glacial-interglacial variations of CH4
  • Planetary photochemistry
  • Effects of aerosols on tropospheric ozone
  • Secondary organic aerosol formation
  • Geoengineering with stratospheric aerosols
  • Volcanoes and atmospheric chemistry
  • Cloud chemistry
  • Formation of the stratospheric ozone layer in Earth's early atmosphere

Course Summary:

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