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Nick Santa Maria Group

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Atmospheric Chemistry And Physics : From Air Po...


Dr. J. Jason West conducts interdisciplinary research addressing air pollution and climate change by using models of atmospheric chemistry and transport and tools for quantitative policy analysis. His work aims to understand the relationships between air pollution and climate change and their relevance for science and policy on local through global scales.




Atmospheric chemistry and physics : from air po...



We conduct in-situ observations of atmospheric constituents, perform retrievals of gases and aerosols from satellite data, and conduct model simulations of atmospheric chemistry on local, regional, and global scales to better understand natural and human influences on atmospheric composition and air quality.


ATM S 358 Fundamentals of Atmospheric Chemistry (3) NScReview of basic principles of physical chemistry; evolution and chemical composition of earth's atmosphere; half-life, residence and renewal time; sources, transformation, transport and sinks of gases in the troposphere; atmospheric aerosols; chemical cycles; air pollution; stratospheric chemistry. Offered: Sp.View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 358


ATM S 501 Fundamentals of Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere (5)Fundamentals of hydrostatics, thermodynamics, radiation, cloud physics, and atmospheric chemistry. Offered: A.View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 501


ATM S 525 Seminar - Topics in Atmospheric Chemistry (1-3, max. 6)Seminar for atmospheric scientists, chemists, engineers in problems associated with the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Covers wide variety of topics, ranging from the natural system to urban pollution and global atmospheric change. Prerequisite: ATM S 301 or permission of instructor. Offered: jointly with CEWA 553.View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 525


ATM S 532 Atmospheric Radiation: Introductory (3)Fundamentals of radiative transfer; absorption and scattering by atmospheric gases; elementary applications to constraints on the thermal structure, photochemistry, and remote sensing. Prerequisite: PHYS 225 or permission of instructor. Offered: Sp.View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 532


ATM S 534 Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Climate System (3)Satellite systems for sensing the atmosphere and climate system. Recovery of atmospheric and surface information from satellite radiance measurements. Applications to research. Prerequisite: ATM S 532 or ATM S 533.View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 534


ATM S 545 General Circulation of Atmosphere (3)Requirements of the global angular momentum, heat, mass, and energy budgets upon atmospheric motions as deduced from observations. Study of the physical processes through which these budgets are satisfied. Prerequisite: ATM S 509/OCEAN 512 or permission of instructor. Offered: A.View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 545


ATM S 552 Objective Analysis (3)Review of objective analysis techniques commonly applied to atmospheric problems; examples from the meteorological literature and class projects. Superposed epoch analysis, cross-spectrum analysis, filtering, eigenvector analysis, and optimum interpolation techniques. Offered: W.View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 552


ATM S 564 Atmospheric Aerosol and Multiphase Atmospheric Chemistry (3)Physics and chemistry of particles and droplets in the atmosphere. Statistics of size distributions, mechanics, optics, and physical chemistry of atmospheric aerosols. Brownian motion, sedimentation, impaction, condensation, and hydroscopic growth. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 564


ATM S 565 Atmospheric Chemistry Modeling (3)In this course we will discuss the foundations of mathematical models for atmospheric chemistry. Our focus will be on three-dimensional numerical models that simulate transport, chemistry, emissions, and deposition of chemical species in the atmosphere. Prerequisite: ATM S 558View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 565


ATM S 588 The Global Carbon Cycle and Climate (3)Oceanic and terrestrial biogeochemical processes controlling atmospheric CO2 and other greenhouse gases. Records of past changes in the earth's carbon cycle from geological, oceanographic, and terrestrial archives. Anthropogenic perturbations to cycles. Develop simple box models, discuss results of complex models. Offered: jointly with ESS 588/OCEAN 588; W.View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 588


ATM S 597 Directed Discussion and Presentation (1, max. 18)Intensive discussion of reading material and short presentation of atmospheric science topics including climate, atmospheric chemistry, weather, clouds, and data science. Directed by graduate faculty research group leaders. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: AWSpS.View course details in MyPlan: ATM S 597


Atmospheric chemistry is a branch of atmospheric science in which the chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere and that of other planets is studied.[1] It is a multidisciplinary approach of research and draws on environmental chemistry, physics, meteorology, computer modeling, oceanography, geology and volcanology and other disciplines. Research is increasingly connected with other areas of study such as climatology.


The composition and chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere is of importance for several reasons, but primarily because of the interactions between the atmosphere and living organisms. The composition of the Earth's atmosphere changes as result of natural processes such as volcano emissions, lightning and bombardment by solar particles from corona. It has also been changed by human activity and some of these changes are harmful to human health, crops and ecosystems. Examples of problems which have been addressed by atmospheric chemistry include acid rain, ozone depletion, photochemical smog, greenhouse gases and global warming. Atmospheric chemists seek to understand the causes of these problems, and by obtaining a theoretical understanding of them, allow possible solutions to be tested and the effects of changes in government policy evaluated.


In the late 19th and early 20th centuries interest shifted towards trace constituents with very small concentrations. One particularly important discovery for atmospheric chemistry was the discovery of ozone by Christian Friedrich Schönbein in 1840.


In the 20th century atmospheric science moved on from studying the composition of air to a consideration of how the concentrations of trace gases in the atmosphere have changed over time and the chemical processes which create and destroy compounds in the air. Two particularly important examples of this were the explanation by Sydney Chapman and Gordon Dobson of how the ozone layer is created and maintained, and the explanation of photochemical smog by Arie Jan Haagen-Smit. Further studies on ozone issues led to the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry award shared between Paul Crutzen, Mario Molina and Frank Sherwood Rowland.[6]


In the 21st century the focus is now shifting again. Atmospheric chemistry is increasingly studied as one part of the Earth system. Instead of concentrating on atmospheric chemistry in isolation the focus is now on seeing it as one part of a single system with the rest of the atmosphere, biosphere and geosphere. An especially important driver for this is the links between chemistry and climate such as the effects of changing climate on the recovery of the ozone hole and vice versa but also interaction of the composition of the atmosphere with the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems.


Observations, lab measurements, and modeling are the three central elements in atmospheric chemistry. Progress in atmospheric chemistry is often driven by the interactions between these components and they form an integrated whole. For example, observations may tell us that more of a chemical compound exists than previously thought possible. This will stimulate new modelling and laboratory studies which will increase our scientific understanding to a point where the observations can be explained.


Observations of atmospheric chemistry are essential to our understanding. Routine observations of chemical composition tell us about changes in atmospheric composition over time. One important example of this is the Keeling Curve - a series of measurements from 1958 to today which show a steady rise in of the concentration of carbon dioxide (see also ongoing measurements of atmospheric CO2). Observations of atmospheric chemistry are made in observatories such as that on Mauna Loa and on mobile platforms such as aircraft (e.g. the UK's Facility for Airborne Atmospheric Measurements), ships and balloons. Observations of atmospheric composition are increasingly made by satellites with important instruments such as GOME and MOPITT giving a global picture of air pollution and chemistry. Surface observations have the advantage that they provide long term records at high time resolution but are limited in the vertical and horizontal space they provide observations from. Some surface based instruments e.g. LIDAR can provide concentration profiles of chemical compounds and aerosol but are still restricted in the horizontal region they can cover. Many observations are available on line in Atmospheric Chemistry Observational Databases.


Measurements made in the laboratory are essential to our understanding of the sources and sinks of pollutants and naturally occurring compounds. These experiments are performed in controlled environments that allow for the individual evaluation of specific chemical reactions or the assessment of properties of a particular atmospheric constituent.[10] Types of analysis that are of interest includes both those on gas-phase reactions, as well as heterogeneous reactions that are relevant to the formation and growth of aerosols. Also of high importance is the study of atmospheric photochemistry which quantifies how the rate in which molecules are split apart by sunlight and what resulting products are. In addition, thermodynamic data such as Henry's law coefficients can also be obtained. 041b061a72


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