Undergraduate Course: Earth's Atmospheric Composition (EASC10102)
|School||School of Geosciences
||College||College of Science and Engineering
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate)
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||The chemical composition of the atmosphere is important for understanding Earth's climate. We will explore the chemical composition of the atmosphere, with an emphasis on the troposphere that includes the air in which we live and breathe, and the surface processes and atmospheric chemistry and transport that determine its variability. We will cover the fundamentals of atmospheric chemistry (kinetics, photolysis, spectroscopy) so there is no chemistry pre-requisite to this course. The course, as described below, is focused on delivering content using online material, in-class interaction, problem sets and additional reading.
Introduction; atmospheric properties; chemical kinetics
Tropospheric chemistry 1: Electromagnetic spectrum; hydroxyl radical; oxidation of methane and carbon monoxide; and cycling of hydrogen oxides.
Tropospheric chemistry 2: Nitrogen oxides; tropospheric ozone; ozone formation and control strategies.
Tropospheric chemistry 3: Surface emissions and deposition processes.
Tropospheric chemistry 4: Aerosols
Atmospheric chemistry and transport; inverse models
Global carbon cycle; CH4 and N2O bio-geochemical cycles; isotopes
Chemistry-climate interactions; air quality
Reserved for completing research essay
Information for Visiting Students
|Pre-requisites||Students will have passed EMP2 or equivalent mathematical course.
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2017/18, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 20,
Online Activities 10,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
The formal written exam typically takes the form of a mathematical problem, a numerical question, and a short essay-type question.
The course work is a 500-word essay on a research topic.
A detailed description of the essay can be found here: https://sites.google.com/site/palmerteachinglab/atmoscomp/researchessay. The essay will be marked following the common marking scheme.
The essay assignment will be set in week 5 after discussion with the lecturer about topics (typically in week 4), and is due on Wednesday 28th March at 12 noon via online submission.
The formal written exam will be in May 2018.
||Lecturer-student feedback will be provided on the:
500-word essay (online in written form), outlining the strengths and weaknesses of the composition and analysis as per the assessment instructions;
Exam script in written form.
There will be an opportunity to get feedback during class as part of interactive discussions.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||1:30|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand the composition of Earth's atmosphere (and how it compares with other planets)
- Understand the role of atmospheric transport and chemistry, and surface processes, on observed atmospheric composition
- Appreciate how computer models are formulated and applied to further scientific understanding
- Be able to interpret and question quantitatively information reported in the scientific literature
- Be able to digest and reduce information in the scientific literature and write a succinct report
|Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry- Jacob (Recommended)|
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics- Seinfeld and Pandis
The Atmosphere: A Very Short Introduction, Palmer, Oxford University Press (short overview).
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Keywords||Atmospheric chemistry; atmospheric transport; aerosols,inverse methods
|Course organiser||Prof Paul Palmer
Tel: (0131 6)50 7724
|Course secretary||Miss Eilein Fraser
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430