Chemistry 697A Chemistry in the Earth's Atmosphere

Instructor: C. Peter Lillya
Office: LGRT 1538
Phone: 545-0081
Office hours (provisional): M 1-2:30 PM, TH 1:30-2:30 PM


Chemistry in the earth's atmosphere affects the environment we live in in profound ways. For example, without the atmosphere's warming effect the average temperature on the earth's surface would be much lower, about 254K ( -2 deg. F); and ozone in the stratosphere protects us from incoming short wavelength UV radiation. Both of these phenomena are affected profoundly by chemistry involving trace gases in the atmosphere. An outline of the course appears below.

Class meetings will involve a combination of lecture and discussion. You should begin by building your background knowledge by reading the first three chapters of Brimblecombe's "Air Composition and Chemistry". The 1st and 2nd editions are on reserve in the Physical Sciences Library; both are satisfactory. Readings on stratospheric ozone are Brimblecombe's chapter on The Upper Atmosphere (#8 in the 2nd edition) followed by either "Changes in Stratospheric Ozone", R. J. Cicerone, Science, 1987, 237, 35-42 or "Changing Composition of the Global Stratosphere", M. B. McElroy and R. J. Salawitch, Science, 1989, 243, 763-770 (on reserve).

At the first class meeting we will discuss the timing of the course. It is now scheduled to meet three times per week from W 30 January through F 1 March. I suggest that we make a schedule to suit ourselves that comprises 12 meetings plus time for oral presentations at the MWF 9:05 AM time but which could spread these meetings over a longer time period than the currently scheduled one month.

Reference materials

Additional materials can be found by using the link below to access a bibliography which includes LC call numbers. I have chosen not to put books, other than Brimblecombe, on reserve to avoid restricting the way you use them. I ask that you share with classmates bibliography items you have checked out out. Please check out no more than one item from each major topic of the bibliography at one time and notify me when you check out and return bibliography items. I will annotate the bibliography to show who is holding items. This will allow you to find an item held by a classmate.


The bibloigraphy is in pdf format. To view it you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader plugin which can be downloaded free from the Adobe website.

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