AOSC 620

Physics and Chemistry of the Atmosphere I

Text: Physics of the Atmosphere and Climate, second edition, by Murry L. Salby
(Cambridge University Press) 2012.

Chemistry of the Upper and Lower Atmosphere, Finlayson-Pitts and Pitts, 2000.

Recommended: Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, Seinfeld and Pandis, 2006.

A Short Course in Cloud Physics, Third Edition, by R.R. Rogers and M.K. Yau

Professor Russell Dickerson
Room 2413, Computer & Space Sciences Building
Phone 301.405.5364,
TA Phillip Stratton



Course Outline Fall 2017

I. Atmospheric Thermodynamics
II. Chemical Thermodynamics & CC eq.
III. Basic Ocean Chemistry
IV. Thermody. Diagrams
V. Stability and Convection
VI. Mixing and convection
VII. Cloud Physics
VIII. Cloud Properties
IX. Exp. Techniques in Cloud Physics

IV. Tropospheric Ozone
X. Kinetics and Steady State
XII. Spectroscopy and Photochemistry
XIII. Stratospheric Ozone
XIV. Aerosols
XV. Reactive Nitrogen & Climate

Salby Chapters 1-2
Salby Chapter 4
S. Ch. 17; Outside Readings
Salby Ch. 7; R&Y Chapters 3-4
Salby Ch. 4
Salby Ch. 5
Salby Ch. 9
NCAR Tech Notes

F & P Chapters 3&5
F&P Chapt. 3-5
F&P Chapt. 6
F&P Chapt. 12
F&P Chapter 4
F&P Chapt. 7

2 classes
2 classes
1 class
1 class
2 classes
2 classes
1 class
1 class
1 class

3 classes
4 classes
1 class
2 classes
2 class
1 class

Lecture notes
Caveat: For your convenience only - I reserve the right to update the lectures until they are delivered.
For the first day of class please read Salby Chapter 1

Part I. Basic Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Chemistry
Lecture 1, Thermodynamics of Dry Air

Lecture 2, Thermody of Moist air (2016)

Lecture 3, Chem Thermodynamics

Lecture 4, Chem Thermo & CC Eq

Lecture 5, Basic Ocean Chemistry

Lecture CP1, Thermodiagrams

Lecture CP2, Saturated Temp Dfn's 2014

Lecture CP3, Parcel & Boundary Layer Stability

Lecture CP4, Mixing & Convection

Lecture CP5, Dry Parcel Theory

Lecture CP6, Wet Parcel Theory

Lecture CP7, Slice Method

Lecture CP8, Entrainment & moistening

Lecture CP9, Cloud Properties & Experimental Techniques

Lecture CP10 Numerical Simulation of Clouds

Midterm Exam (downloadable example from 2009)

Part II. Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry
Lecture 6, Tropospheric Ozone

Lecture 7, Intro to Kinetics

Lecture 8, Kinetics II

Lecture 8b, Kinetics III

Lecture 9, Steady State Analysis

Lecture 10, Spectroscopy and Photochemistry

Lecture 11, Spectroscopy and Photochemistry II

Lecture 12a, Stratospheric Ozone

Lecture 12b, The Ozone Hole

Lecture 12c, Nitrous Oxide, N2O

Lecture 13, Aerosol Physics & Chemistry

Lecture 14, Aerosol Physics & Chemistry II

Lecture 15, Reactive Nitrogen

Lecture 16, Air Quality and Climate

Optional Lectures
Cloud Nucleation

Droplet Growth

Population Growth

Ice and Snow

Cloud Resolving Models by Ken Pickering


Layers in the Atmosphere, Ozone (covered in AOSC 621)

Reactive Nitrogen by J. Galloway


Black Carbon or Soot

Regular Examination Dates: October 12, November 21, 2017.

Term Paper Due: Thursday, November 30, 2017

Final Examination 2017: Saturday, December 16, 2017, 10:30am-12:30pm,
unless there is 100% agreement to move it.

Course grade will be determined by:

Final Exam
Term Paper




For 2017, there will be options from Salby's book.  

Due 9/14/17 HW #1 Rogers and Yau problems 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.6, (see handouts) and repeat 1.1 for the atmosphere of another planet or moon. You may substitute Salby's problem 1.6 for R&Y 1.1. If you do other problems I will grade them for possible extra credit.

Due 9/28/17 HW #2 Atmospheric and oceanic chemical thermodynamics.

Due 10/10/17 Topic and Bibliography for Term Paper Due.

Due 10/10/17 HW #3 Rogers and Yau problems 2.2, 2.4 (or 2.5); for 2.4 you may use a skew T diagram to estimate the constant and n to test for consistency.

Due 10/26/17 HW #4 Salby problems 5.1 & 5.2. Rogers and Yau problems 4.3, 4.5, & 4.6.

Due 11/16/17 HW #5 HW5 In Progress
See Finlayson and Pitts or the JPL compendium (below) for cross sections and quantum yields.

Useful Information
Old Final Exam

Nice Henry's Law Page from MPI

Chemical Kinetics and Photochemical Data for Use in Atmospheric Studies from NASA/JPL

Ozone Criteria Document from EPA

2002 August 15 00Z sounding doc

2002 August 15 00Z sounding image

Prepared by Russell Dickerson ( ) - Last updated on August 2017