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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Geosciences : Earth Science

Undergraduate Course: Earth's Atmospheric Composition (EASC10102)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Geosciences CollegeCollege of Science and Engineering
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 4 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe 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.
Course description Week 1:
Introduction; atmospheric properties; chemical kinetics

Week 2:
Stratospheric chemistry

Week 3:
Tropospheric chemistry 1; Electromagnetic spectrum; hydroxyl radical; oxidation of methane and carbon monoxide; and cycling of hydrogen oxides.

Week 4:
Tropospheric chemistry 2; Nitrogen oxides; tropospheric ozone; ozone formation and control strategies

Week 5:
Tropospheric chemistry 3; surface emission and deposition processes

Week 6:
Tropospheric chemistry 4; aerosols

Week 7:
Atmospheric chemistry and transport; inverse methods

Week 8:
Global carbon cycle; CH4 and N2O biogeochemical cycles; isotopes

Week 9:
Chemistry-climate interactions; air quality

Week 10:
Reserved for completing research essay

Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Students MUST have passed: Earth Modelling and Prediction 2 (EASC08018) OR Mathematics for Physics 2 (PHYS08036)
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements This course is available to Physics/Geography students.
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesStudents will have passed EMP2 or equivalent mathematical course.
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the composition of Earth's atmosphere
  2. Understand the role of atmospheric transport and chemistry, and surface processes, on observed atmospheric composition
  3. Appreciate how computer models are formulated and applied to further scientific understanding
  4. Be able to interpret and question quantitatively information reported in the scientific literature
  5. Be able to digest and reduce information in the scientific literature and write a succinct report
Reading List
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)
Additional Information
Course URL
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsAtmospheric chemistry; atmospheric transport; aerosols,inverse methods
Course organiserProf Paul Palmer
Tel: (0131 6)50 7724
Course secretaryMs Katerina Sykioti
Tel: (0131 6)51 5251
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