AOSC 433/633 & CHEM 433/633 Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate

Instructors: Ross Salawitch and Tim Canty

Teaching Assistant: Allison Ring

Tues-Thurs, 2:00 to 3:15 pm, CSS 2416

Spring 2013: 3 units

Required Text:

            Chemistry in Context: Applying Chemistry to Society

                        6th edition, American Chemical Society




ELMS Course Page


Supplemental Text:


            Global Warming: The Complete Briefing (third edition) by John Houghton


The Atmospheric Environment by Michael B. McElroy


Beyond Oil and Gas: The Methanol Economy by George A. Olah, Alain Goeppert, and G. K. Surya Prakash


Atmospheric Pollution by Mark Z. Jacobson

Readings from Supplemental Text will be assigned via password protected files posted below.  These files are to be used only for this course.


1) This course was taught as AOSC 434/658R and CHEM 434/678A from Spring 2008 to Spring 2011.   Students who  had completed AOSC 434/658R or CHEM 434/678A under Salawitch & Canty can not receive credit for this class, since the material is so similar


2) Student evaluations of AOSC 434, AOSC 658R, CHEM 434, or CHEM 678A for Spring 2008 to Spring 2011 and for AOSC 433, AOSC 633, CHEM 433, and CHEM 633 for Spring 2012 are applicable to this class


3) We have decided to use the  6th edition of Chemistry in Context rather than the new 7th edition because of student cost (there are hundreds of used copies of the 6th edition available on Amazon for under $10; there is no used copy market for the 7th edition) and there are some elements of the 6th edition we prefer compared to the 7th edition.  We ask students to acquire a used copy of the 6th edition of Chemistry in Context  via Amazon or some other on-line vendor.   Local bookstores are required to have a shelf price of ~$100 for the used version of the 6th edition.  As a result, we have decided to not place book orders with these street and mortar book sellers.  Please see an instructor if on-line acquisition of this book poses a burden.


4) We are using two electronic resources that we hope students will find helpful:

i)  all lectures will be video recorded and posted below

We expect students to attend lecture!  This resource will be provided to assist students with occasional inability to attend class.  We reserve the right to suspend video recording if lecture attendance becomes markedly lower than prior years.

ii) all emails sent to the entire class will be archived at the following Google Groups page:

We hope all students will read emails as they are sent in the normal manner.  This URL will provide an archive of all email sent to the entire class during the semester.  We have set up this group so that contents are available to everyone (no need to join the group).


1. Course Description

2. Course Schedule

3. Grade Policy

4. Admission Tickets

5. Additional Readings

6. Collaboration Policy

7. Office Hours

1. Course Description

The effects of human activity on atmospheric composition, focused on global warming, the carbon cycle, air pollution, and the ozone layer. Fundamentals of atmospheric chemistry (spectroscopy, kinetics, isotopic analysis, and biogeochemical cycles) are related to the modern understanding of climate change, air quality, and ozone depletion, based on resources such as satellite missions, field campaigns, and scientific assessments published by international agencies. We also examine how society’s future energy needs could be met in a manner with less impact on atmospheric composition than the present heavy reliance on combustion of fossil fuels.

The course is taught at a level appropriate for upper class undergraduate physical science majors and first year graduate students.

Pre-requisites: CHEM131 or CHEM135 or CHEM146 and MATH 241 or permission of the instructors.

This course was formerly taught as AOSC 434 / CHEM 434 / AOSC 658R / CHEM 678A.  Again, if you have previously received credit for any of these prior course listings under the instruction of Salawitch and Canty, you should not enroll in this course for credit.

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2. Schedule


Lecture Topic


Required Readings

Admis. Tickets

Lecture Notes

Learning Outcome

Problem Sets*

Additional Readings


Geological Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere


 NPR article

(our teaching philosophy!)


Lecture 1


Lecture 1 QuizEgg  

Sci American CH4 Mars & Titan May 2007

Hopes linger for Mars methane


Overview of Global Warming, Air Quality, & Ozone Depletion



(questions 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, & 3.1)

EPA AQI Brochure

(entire document; only 11 pgs)

WMO 2010 20 QAs

(questions 1, 2, 3, 10, 15 & 18)

Click here for entire WMO 2010 QAs

Click here for entire IPCC 2007 FAQ

AT 2

Lecture 2  





Lecture 2 QuizEgg


Sci American Why is there an ozone hole?  Aug 2007

Kerr, Science, 2007

Bell et al., EHP, 2006

Naming Convention for CFCs & Halons


Fundamentals of Earth’s Atmosphere


Chemistry in Context, Sections 1.1, 1.2, and 1.5


pg 50-64

AT 3

Lecture 3


Lecture 3 QuizEgg


 Houghton, Ch 2


Climates of the Past


Chemistry in Context, pgs 100-110

Houghton, Ch 4

(pgs 64-71)


(questions 6.1, 6.2)

AT 4  

Lecture 4


Lecture 4 QuizEgg


Chylek & Lohmann, GRL, 2008


Global Carbon Cycle


Chemistry in Context, Ch 3 (pg 118-126)

Houghton, Pg 29-42

Note: above links contain reading material for Lectures 5 & 6

 AT 5

Lecture 5


Lecture 5 QuizEgg


IPCC 2007, Section & Box 7.3


Sci American Ocean Acidification

March 2006


Biogeochemical Cycles of CH4     and N2O


Chemistry in Context, Ch 3 (pg 126-129)

Houghton, Pg 42-44

Note: above links point to same material used for Lecture 5


Pg 45-47 &

Pg 70-71

  AT 6

Lecture 6


Lecture 6 QuizEgg


Problem Set 1  due today


Commentary on CH4 release from fracking

Commentary on recent CH4 trend



Sci American CH4 From Plants

Feb 2007 (hypothesis)

New Phytologist CH4 From Plants

July 2007



Radiative Forcing


Chemistry in Context, Ch 3 (pg 110-118)

 AT 7

Lecture 7


Lecture 7 QuizEgg


Myhre et al., GRL, 1998

Bera et al., JPC, 2009

02/18 Problem Set #1 Review

CSS 2416, 6 pm





Modeling Earth’s Climate: Water Vapor, Aerosol, Cloud, & Albedo Feedbacks


Houghton, pg 88-95


Pg 337 to 341

 AT 8

Lecture 8


Lecture 8 QuizEgg


Su et al., GRL, 2006


Houghton, Ch 5 (in its entirety)

02/21 Review Discussion for First Exam RJS & TC   No AT Review A



  Problem Set 2  due today

Revised 21 Feb

02/25 Problem Set #2 Review

CSS 2416, 6 pm




First Exam:

Focus on first 8 Lectures and first 2 Problem Sets (in class, closed book)

02/28 Review of First Exam


Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry

RJS Chemistry in Context, Ch 2:

Intro, Sections 2.1, 2.3, and 2.6

No AT Student Survey:



Lecture 9


Lecture 9 QuizEgg   Chemistry in Context, Ch 2:

Sections 2.2, 2.4, and 2.5



Introduction to Photolysis


Section 2.4 and 2.5 of Warneck, Chemistry of the Natural Atmosphere

AT 10




Lecture 10 QuizEgg


Brasseur and Solomon, pages 40 to 48 (section 2.6), pages 218 and 219 section 4.7.1), and pages 246 and 247 (section 4.7.3)


Introduction to Chemical Kinetics


Yung & DeMore,  Ch 3

AT 11



Lecture 11 QuizEgg 


Bimolecular Rate Constant Table, JPL 2010

Brasseur & Solomon, pgs 12 to 40


Pollution of Earth’s Troposphere:

   Surface Ozone


Chemistry in Context, Ch 1

(focus on Sections 1.3, 1.4, 1.9, 1.10, 1.11, and 1.12)

AT 12



Lecture 12 QuizEgg


Salawitch, Atmospheric Ozone Review


Pollution of Earth’s Troposphere:

   Acid Rain & Aerosols


Chemistry in Context, Ch 6 (pg 246 to 270)

Jacobson (pg 118 to 128)

AT 13 Lecture13



Lecture 13 QuizEgg


Spring Break: enjoy !


Review of Lectures 9 to 13


No reading




No Quiz



Pollution of Earth’s Stratosphere:

   Mid-Latitude Ozone Depletion


McElroy, Chapter 13

(pgs 175-178 & 183-187)



Chapter 14

AT 15



  Lecture 15 QuizEgg

Problem Set 3 due today

Revised 22 Mar

WMO 2010 20 QAs

(questions 4, 6 to 9, 13 to 17)

04/01 Problem Set #3 Review

CSS 2416, 6 pm





Pollution of Earth’s Stratosphere:

   Polar Ozone Depletion


Chemistry in Context, Ch 2 (pg 79 to 94)

WMO 2010 20 QAs

(quest. 9-12)

AT 16





McElroy, Chapter 15

Rex et al., 2006

Manney et al., 2011


Pollution of Earth’s Stratosphere:

   Ozone Recovery and Chemistry/Climate   



WMO 2006 20 QAs

(quest. 19 & 20)



AT 17





Yang et al. 2008

Yang et al. 2006

Revell et al., 2012

04/09 Review Discussion for Second Exam RJS   No AT Review B


  Problem Set 4 due today  
04/10 Problem Set #4 Review

CSS 2416, 6 pm

Allison     Video      


Second Exam:

Focus on Lectures 9 to 17 & Problem Sets 3 and 4 (in class, closed book)







Review of Second Exam as well as

World Energy Needs and Fossil Fuel Reserves


Chemistry in Context, Section 4.3 to 4.7

Peak Oil Wikipedia

AT 18






The Kyoto Protocol and the Science of CO2 Stabilization


Chemistry in Context, Section 3.10 to 3.12 (pgs 134-143)

IPCC 2007 FAQ (question 10.3)

EPA GHG Endangerment Finding

AT 19





Raupach et al. 2007

Houghton, Ch 10


Renewable Energy I: Solar, Geothermal, Hydro, & Wind


Chemistry in Context,

Section 8.9 and 8.10

(pgs 353-362)

Olah, pgs 84-101

AT 20




Wind: NREL

Hydro: Grand Coulee Dam

 Solar: Univ Park Community Solar


Renewable Energy II: Biofuels, Ethanol, Methanol, and Algae


Chemistry in Context, Ch 4, Section 4.10

(pg 178-183)


McElroy, The Ethanol Illusion

AT 21




Olah, various pages on Biofuels and Methanol

Wigmosta et al., WRR, 2011

04/30 Fracking RJS Economist Debate on Fracking:    Intro by Simon Wright as well as comments by Amy Myers Jaffe & Michael Brune

AT 22



    SEAB Shale Gas Production Report

Wigley et al., Clim. Change, 2011


Nuclear Energy & The Hydrogen Economy


Chemistry in Context, Sections 7.3, 7.4, 7.6, and 7.8 to 7.10

Olah, Ch 8, pages 111-119 (bottom)

Olah, Ch 9, pages 140-154 (top)


AT 23

  Problem Set 5 due today

Chemistry in Context,

rest of Ch 7


Olah, rest of Ch 8


Olah, rest of Ch 9



Problem Set #5 Review

CSS 2416, 6 pm



05/07 Geo-engineering of Climate RJS & TC

Crutzen GeoEng Essay

IEEE GeoEng Overview

GeoTimes GeoEng Debate

AT 24




Problem Set 6 due today

Assigned only to students enrolled in 433

Tilmes et al., 2008

Canty et al., 2013



Project Presentations

CSS 2416, 6 pm



  Paper due for students enrolled in 633  
05/09 Class Review: Preparation for Final Exam RJS   No AT Review C





Final Exam

CSS 2416: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm


*  Problem sets due on the date listed

× Denotes hyperlink, hard-wired ahead of time to make the webmaster's life easier, is not yet working

  Denotes active hyperlink

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3. Grade Policy

The final grades will be based on problems sets (30%), admission tickets (10%), in-class exams (40%), and final exam (20%).  In addition, students enrolled in AOSC or CHEM 633 (presumably graduate students) are required to write a research paper (8 pages single spaced) on a topic of their choosing related to the material covered in class.  These students will make a brief oral presentation of their research paper during either a special evening session or the AOSC student seminar series; the grade on the paper/presentation will be factored into their overall grade at a proportion equal to the weight of each exam.  Students enrolled in 633 will have an extra question on some problem sets.

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4. Admission Tickets

To encourage completion of the reading assignments prior to class, there is an admission ticket due at the start of each class (with the exception of the first lecture). The admission ticket is a short question (or set of questions) drawn from the readings.  Each ticket will be graded in a prompt manner and typically returned at the start of the next class.  The lowest three scores will be dropped, and a final overall admission ticket grade will be determined, based on overall  percentage of available points achieved. This allows for uniform grading of admission tickets with a variety of assigned points.  The overall admission ticket grade counts 10% towards the final course grade.

In many cases, the answer(s) to the admission ticket question(s) will be worked into the lecture.    Hence, the requirement that admission ticket solutions be turned in at the start of lectureIf you can not make a lecture, you are welcome to email us your solution prior to class or have a classmate turn in your solution.  Late submissions of admission ticket solutions are generally not accepted.  Since the three lowest scores are dropped and  admission tickets constitute only 10% of the overall grade, we are rather strict about not accepting late admission ticket solutions.  Again, these questions are designed to motivate completion of the assigned reading prior to lecture, which is an important component of learning.

Admission tickets will be posted on this website at least 24 hours prior to the start of each lectureIf an admission ticket for a particular lecture is not posted by 2 pm the day prior to a particular lecture, there will be no admission ticket for that class.  Also, if an item other than an admission ticket link appears in the admission ticket column for a particular lecture (i.e., lectures 1, 9, and 14), there will no admission ticket for that class meeting.

We may administer an occasional, in class “pop quiz”.  This will be done if it is apparent that a majority of students are not completing the readings prior to class (e.g., if the admission ticket answers seem, in aggregate, to be based on Google searches of key phrases rather than reading of the assigned material).  If one or more “pop quiz” is given, the results will be factored into the “admission ticket” portion of the grade.

Please remember to hit the “refresh” button to see the latest version of this website each time you visit, as we intend to update the website file frequently during the course (if the symbol × is changed to the symbol , this may not be apparent unless the page is refreshed).

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5. Additional Readings

Additional readings are provided for many lectures.  This material is provided to allow interested students to read further about a particular topic.  The material in these additional readings will not form the sole basis of any exam question, nor will this material be of purposeful advantage for the successful completion of the problem sets.  The course will be enhanced for those with time to explore the additional readings.

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6. Collaboration Policy

For completion of the Admission Tickets and Problem Sets, you may consult any text or website you desire.  While we encourage reliance on the assigned reading and discourage use of search engines for the completion of the Admission Tickets, we also understand the utility of search engines and understand they could provide a useful resource on occasion. Regardless, the material you turn in for Admission Tickets and Problem Sets should reflect your understanding of the material and only your work.  We encourage discussion among classmates of general course concepts, but specific details of how to answer particular admission ticket questions and solve problem set questions should not be discussed with classmates.  Rather, we strongly encourage you to interact with a course instructor for answering Admission Tickets or solving Problem Sets.  After material has been returned, you are welcome to discuss solutions with other students.  Also, it is fine to prepare for the examinations by discussing any of the class material with other students.  We take care to change questions every year, in part to keep material fresh but also to discourage any benefit to students who have access to material passed down from prior years.

Simply put: it is not permissible to copy solutions for Admission Tickets and Problem Sets from other students or from files for this class maintained by prior students.  Exam questions for this class will not be a repeat of questions from prior exams.

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7. Office Hours

Office Hours:

Ross and Tim: Monday, 2:30 to 3:30 pm  & by appointment

Allison: Wednesday, 4:00 to 5:00 pm  & by appointment


Office Locations:

Ross   CSS (bldg 224), room 2403  phone: 5-5396

Tim      CSS (bldg 224), room 2411  phone: 5-5360

Allison  Jull (bldg 227), room 2108  (please contact using email)

After class often works although the AOSC seminar is held Thurs at 3:30 pm

Just prior to class is generally not a good time, particularly for the person lecturing that day, because this person will typically be focused on preparing for lecture.

We strive to be accessible throughout the semester.  Please either drop by (one of us is usually around) or contact us via email to set up a time to meet.

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Website last updated on Thursday, 09 May 2013