Undergraduate Course: Earth's Atmospheric Composition (EASC10127)
|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||We will explore the chemical composition of the atmosphere, with an emphasis on the troposphere (lowest 10-15 km of the atmosphere) where we live and breathe. We will study the surface processes and atmospheric chemistry and transport that determine observed variations in regional and global tropospheric chemical composition. We will cover the fundamentals of atmospheric chemistry (e.g., kinetics, photolysis) so there is no chemistry pre-requisite to this course. The course content, as described below, will be delivered using online material, online class interaction, problem sets and additional reading.
Introduction; basic atmospheric properties; simple models
Stratospheric chemistry and the ozone layer
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: atmospheric particles
Air quality and human health
Atmospheric chemistry and transport
Reserved for office hours
Further Course Information
Lecturer-maintained website: https://sites.google.com/view/palmerteachinglab/home/atmoscomp
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2021/22, Available to all students (SV1)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Written Exam: 50%, Course Work: 50%
The formal written exam will take the form of two numerical questions.
The course work includes two computer labs, each including a directed 300-word literature survey. Both directed literature surveys will include pre-assigned papers to review and summarise.
The literature surveys will be marked following the common marking scheme.
Assessed computer labs, including directed literature surveys, will be set in Weeks 5 and 8 of semester 1 and due on the Wednesday of Weeks 6 and 9 of semester 1, respectively, at 12 noon via online submission. The formal written exam will be sat in the May exam diet.
Assessed Computer Lab 1 - Due Wednesday Week 6, 12noon via Turnitin
Assessed Computer Lab 2 - Due Wednesday Week 9, 12noon via Turnitin
Assessment and Feedback information
https://www.ed.ac.uk/academic-services/policies-regulations/regulations/assessment All details related to extensions procedures and late penalties can be found in the Course Handbook 2019/20
||Lecturer-student feedback will be provided on the:
- responses to the two assessed computer labs in Weeks 5 and 8
- two 300-word literature surveys that accompany the two assessed computer labs, 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.
Tutor-student feedback will be provided via targeted revision classes throughout the semester. These sessions will support the learning outcomes of the class activities.
||Hours & Minutes
|Main Exam Diet S2 (April/May)||1:00|
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Understand the composition of Earth's atmosphere
- 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)|
The Atmosphere: A Very Short Introduction, Palmer, Oxford University Press (Recommended as a short, accessible overview)
Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Seinfeld and Pandis (A secondary in-depth resource)
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Keywords||Atmospheric chemistry,atmospheric transport,aerosols,inverse methods
|Course organiser||Prof Paul Palmer
Tel: (0131 6)50 7724
|Course secretary||Ms Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)50 5430