AOSC 433/633 Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate

Instructor: Ross Salawitch

Teaching Assistants: Pam Wales

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

Spring 2017: 3 units

Required Text:

            Chemistry in Context: Applying Chemistry to Society

                        7th edition, American Chemical Society




ELMS Course Page


Google Groups Page (class emails)


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

Paris Climate Agreement: Beacon of Hope by Ross J. Salawitch, Timothy P. Canty, Austin P. Hope, Walter R. Tribett, and Brian F. Bennett


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


1) We have decided to use the  7th edition of Chemistry in Context rather than the new 8th edition because of student cost (there are hundreds of used copies of the 7th edition available on Amazon for under $20; there is no used copy market for the 8th edition) and Ross actually helped write the 7th edition.  Students have two options: they can rent a copy of the book from Ross for a deposit of $20, fully refundable upon return of the book at the end of the semester.  Or you may purchase a copy of the 7th 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 this book; as a result we have decided to not place book orders with these street and mortar book sellers.  We do not have enough copies of this book for everyone to obtain via rental; these will be made available on a first come, first served basis, with undergraduates given preference over graduate students if we simply can not fill the demand.


2)  We will use Chapter 1 and a few other, select readings from Paris Climate Agreement: Beacon of Hope that Ross helped write.  This book is available electronically, for free, via open access.  Hard copies can be purchased from various on-line venders for ~$45 to $60.  Students are welcome to use the free electronic version for the class


3) You may find the following web-based resources helpful:

i)  all lectures will be video recorded and posted below

Students are expected to attend lecture!  This resource is provided to assist students with occasional inability to attend class, and to help students review lectures, particularly for exam preparation.  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.

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2. Schedule


Lecture Topic

Required Reading

Admis. Tickets

Lecture Notes

Learning Outcome

Problem Sets*

Additional Readings


Geological Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere



Lecture 1




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, 8, 15 & 18)

Paris Beacon of Hope, Sec 1.2 (1 page)

Click here for entire WMO 2010 QAs

Click here for entire IPCC 2007 FAQ

AT 2

Lecture 2






Kerr, Science, 2007*

Bell et al., EHP, 2006*

Sci American Why is there an ozone hole?  Aug 2007

Naming Convention for CFCs & Halons


Fundamentals of Earth's Atmosphere

Chemistry in Context: Sec 1.0 to 1.2,

1.5 to 1.8, 1.14, 2.1, 3.6 & 3.7 (~28 pgs)

Selected pages, Atmospheric Environment

AT 3

Lecture 3




 Houghton, Ch 2


Climates of the Past

Chemistry in Context, Sec 2.2, 3.0, 3.1, 3.2

Houghton, Ch 4

(pgs 64-71)

Paris Beacon of Hope, Sec 1.1 (7 pages)

AT 4

Lecture 4

 Audio Only 



Chylek & Lohmann, GRL, 2008*


(questions 6.1, 6.2)


Global Carbon Cycle

Chemistry in Context, Sec 3.5, 4.0, 4.1, 6.5

Houghton, Pg 29-42

Paris Beacon of Hope, Sec (8 pages)

AT 5

Lecture 5




IPCC 2007, Section & Box 7.3*


Sci American Ocean Acidification

March 2006


Global Carbon Project


Biogeochemical Cycles of CHand N2O

Chemistry in Context, Sec 3.8 & 6.9

Houghton, Pg 42-44

Paris Beacon of Hope, Sec &

(6 pages)

AT 6  √  

Lecture 6  √




Note: Minor mod. on 13 Feb

Problem Set 1  due today

Kirschke et al., 2013*

Bruhwiler et al., 2014

Kort et al., 2014

02/16 Radiative Forcing

Chemistry in Context, Sec 2.4, 2.5, 3.3 & 3.4

AT 7  Lecture 7  √




Myhre et al., GRL, 1998

Bera et al., JPC, 2009



Problem Set #1 Review

6:00 pm



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

Chemistry in Context, Sec 3.9

Houghton, pg 88-95

Jacobson, Sec 12.4.2 & 12.4.3

AT 8 

Lecture 8




Su et al., GRL, 2006

Houghton, Ch 5 (in its entirety)


 Consequences of Climate Change (brief discussion)

followed by

Review for First Exam

Chemistry in Context,

Sec 3.10

No AT Review A



  Problem Set 2  due today  


Problem Set #2 Review

6:00 pm




First Exam:

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

Note: as stated numerous times, students are responsible for Chapter 1 of Paris Beacon of Hope (minus the Methods section; 34 pages) as well as the other readings




Review of First Exam


Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry

Chemistry in Context,

Sec 2.0, 2.3, & 2.6

No AT Student Survey:



Lecture 9  




Introduction to Photolysis

Chemistry in Context,

Sec 2.6 & 2.7

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

(as best you can)

AT 10


Lecture 10




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)

03/09 Introduction to Chemical Kinetics Chemistry in Context,

Sec 4.6

Yung & DeMore, Ch 3

AT 11  Lecture 11




Bimolecular Rate Constant Table, JPL 2010

Brasseur & Solomon, pgs 12 to 40

03/14 Stay safe, be warm!          

Pollution of Earth's Troposphere:

   Surface Ozone

Chemistry in Context, Sec 1.3, 1.4, 1.9, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12, 1.15, 4.3, 6.10, 6.14

AT 12 Lecture 12





Chemistry in Context, Sec 4.7

Spring Break: enjoy !

Pollution of Earth's Troposphere:

   Acid Rain & Aerosols

Chemistry in Context, Sec 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.6, 6.7, 6.11, 6.12, 6.13

 AT 13 Lecture 13




  Chemistry in Context, Sec 6.4


Pollution of Earth's Stratosphere:

   Mid-Latitude Ozone Depletion

Chemistry in Context, Sec 2.8, 2.9

WMO 2010 20 QAs

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

AT 14 

Lecture 14




McElroy, Chapter 13*

(pgs 175-178 & 183-187)



Chapter 14*


Pollution of Earth's Stratosphere:

   Polar Ozone Depletion

Chemistry in Context, Sec 2.10, 2.11, 2.12 & 2.13

WMO 2010 20 QAs

(quest. 9-12)

AT 15

Lecture 15



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)


Lecture 16


Quiz Problem Set 3 due today

Oman et al., 2010

Revell et al., 2012*



Problem Set #3 Review

CSS 2416, 6:00 pm

04/11 Review Discussion for Second Exam   No AT Review B


No Quiz    


Second Exam:

Focus on Lectures 9 to 16 & Problem Set 3 (in class, closed book)






Review of Second Exam as well as

World Energy Needs and Fossil Fuel Reserves

Chemistry in Context, Sec 4.2, 4.4 & 4.5

Work Energy Outook Sumary for Policy Makers, 2016

No AT;  please try to  complete readings

Lecture 17



Peak Oil Wikipedia


World Energy Outlook Summary for Policy Makers, 2014


The Paris Climate Agreement, The Kyoto Protocol, and the Science of CO2 Stabilization

Chemistry in Context, Sec 3.11, 4.8, 4.11 & 4.12

Houghton, Ch 10

EPA GHG  Endangerment Finding

AT 18  

Lecture 18



Pacala & Socolow 2004

Raupach et al. 2007

IPCC 2007 FAQ (question 10.3)


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

Chemistry in Context,

Sec 8.7, 8.8 & 8.9

Olah, Sec 8.1 to 8.5

AT 19  

Lecture 19



Wind: NREL

Hydro: Grand Coulee Dam

 Solar: Univ Park Community Solar


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

Chemistry in Context, Sec 4.9, 4.10


Olah, Sec 8.6

AT 20




McElroy, The Ethanol Illusion

Wigmosta et al., WRR, 2011

05/02 Fracking Fracking Debate: Please read main page, plus at least one "no" & one "yes" argument

Howarth, 2014

please read section entitled "How Much Methane is Emitted by Natural Gas Systems"

AT 21

Lecture 21



Howarth, 2014*

(633 students please read rest of this paper)

Allen et al., 2013

Schneising et al., 2014


Nuclear Energy & The Hydrogen Economy

Chemistry in Context, Chapter 7 (except for Secs 7.2 & 7.6)

Olah, Sec 9.3 to 9.6

AT 22

Lecture 22



Chemistry in Context,

Sec 7.2 & 7.6


Olah, Sec 8.8 (Intro), 8.8.1 & 8.8.2

05/09 Geo-engineering of Climate

Crutzen GeoEng Essay

IEEE GeoEng Overview

AT 23

Lecture 23



P Set 4 433 due today

P Set 4 633 due today

Tilmes et al., 2008

Canty et al., 2013

GeoTimes GeoEng Debate



Problem Set #3 Review

CSS 3400, 6:15 pm



633 Project Presentations

CSS 3400, 7:00 pm

    Video   Paper due for students enrolled in 633  
05/11 Class Review: Preparation for Final Exam   No AT Review C




Final Exam

CSS 2416

10:30 am  12:30 pm


  Problem sets due on the date listed

* Reading strongly suggested for students enrolled in AOSC 633

x 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 overall grades will be based on problems sets (30%), admission tickets (10%), two in-class exams (40%), and the final exam (20%). In addition, students enrolled in AOSC 633 are required to write a research paper that is 6 to 8 pages long (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; 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 also have an extra question on each problem set.

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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 lecture. If 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 lecture. If 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 x 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. Learning the course material will be enhanced for those with time to complete 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 provide a useful resource. 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 details of how to answer particular admission ticket problem set questions should not be discussed with classmates. Rather, you are strongly encouraged to interact with the course instructor for answering Admission Ticket or Problem Set questions. 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 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 in student files.

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 (CSS 2403): Mon 2 to 3 pm & by appointment

Pam (Jull 2106): Wed 10 to 11 am & by appointment



Ross: 5-5396

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 for interacting with Ross, because he is typically focused on preparing for that day's lecture.

We strive to be accessible throughout the semester. Please either drop by or contact us via email to set up a time to meet.

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Website last updated on Monday, 15 May 2017