AOSC / CHEM 433 & AOSC 633 Atmospheric Chemistry & Climate

Instructor: Ross Salawitch

Teaching Assistant: Walt Tribett

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

Spring 2019: 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  (5th edition) by John Houghton

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

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

Green Chemistry: An Inclusive Approach, edited by Béla Török and Timothy Dransfield (graduate students will be assigned two chapters)


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 will use the  7th edition of Chemistry in Context rather than the latest (9th 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).  In addition, Ross actually helped write the 7th edition, as noted on page xiv of the Preface.  Students have two options.  You 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 can 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 have enough copies of this book for everyone to obtain via rental, so only need to purchase on line if you'd like a permanent copy of the book.


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


Campus closed at 2 pm:

enjoy your rain day


01/31 Geological Evolution of Earth's Atmosphere     Lecture 1




Overview of Global Warming, Air Quality, & Ozone Depletion


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

(11 pages)

EPA AQI Brochure

(11 pages)

WMO 2014 20 QAs (Q1, 2, 3, 8, & 15)

(12 pages)

Paris Beacon of Hope Sec 1.2.2 (3 pages)

AT 2


Lecture 2




Kerr, Science, 2007 *

Bell et al., EHP, 2006 *

Sci American Why is there an ozone hole?  Aug 2007

Montzka et al., Nature, 2018

Naming Convention for CFCs & Halons

Click here for entire WMO 2014 QAs

Click here for entire IPCC 2007 FAQ


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)

McElroy, Effective Temperature & The Concept of Geostrophy

(4 pages)

AT 3

Lecture 3




McElroy, Adiabatic Motion in the Vertical*

 Houghton, Ch 2



Climates of the Past

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

(14 pages)

Houghton, Ch 4

(pgs 77-84)

Paris Beacon of Hope Sec 1.1 (7 pages)

AT 4

Lecture 4




Chylek & Lohmann, GRL, 2008 *


(questions 6.1, 6.2)


Parrenin et al., Science, 2013


Global Carbon Cycle

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

(8 pages)

Houghton, Pg 33-46

Paris Beacon of Hope Sec (8 pages)

AT 5

Lecture 5




IPCC 2007, Section & Box 7.3*


Doney, Ocean Acidification, Scientific American, March 2006


Global Carbon Project


Biogeochemical Cycles of CHand N2O

Chemistry in Context, Sec 3.8

(4 pages)

Houghton, Pg 46-50

Paris Beacon of Hope Sec (entire section) & (to bottom of page 28)

(4 pages)

AT 6


Lecture 6



Problem Set 1  due today

(modified 14 Feb 2019)

Chemistry in Context, Sec 6.9

Paris Beacon of Hope Sec (top of page 29 to end of section)

Kirschke et al., 2013*

Bruhwiler et al., 2014

Kort et al., 2014

02/21 Radiative Forcing

Chemistry in Context, Sec 2.4, 2.5, 2.6, 3.3

& 3.4

(14 pages)

Paris Beacon of Hope Sec 1.2, 1.2.1, &

(8 pages)

AT 7

Lecture 7



Chapter 3.4, The Greenhouse Effect, Aerosols, and Climate Change (Sections to provide a nice, mathematical complement to the lecture material)


Myhre et al., GRL, 1998


Bera et al., JPC, 2009



Problem Set #1 Review

ATL 2428, 5 pm



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

Chemistry in Context, Sec 3.9

(6 pages)

Houghton, pg 105-116

AT 8

Lecture 8




Su et al., GRL, 2006


Consequences of Climate Change (brief overview) followed by

 Review for First Exam

Chemistry in Context,

Sec 3.10

(5 pages)


Forbes Article



Review A



No Learning Outcome Quiz Problem Set 2  due today



(modified 25 Feb 2019)

Union of Concerned Scientists

Climate Reality Project

Climate Change and Disease



Problem Set #2 Review

ATL 2428, 5 pm




First Exam:

Will cover first 8 Lectures and first 2 Problem Sets


In class, closed book

433 students are responsible for Chapter 1 of Paris Beacon of Hope (minus Section and the Methods section; 31 pages) as well as the other readings from Chemistry in Context and Houghton noted above

        633 students are responsible for all of the 433 readings, plus the 6 items marked above with an asterisk



Review of First Exam


Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry

Chemistry in Context,

Sec 2.0, 2.1, 2.3, & 2.6

(10 pages)


 Please consider completing the student survey

Lecture 9




Introduction to Photolysis

Chemistry in Context,

Sec 2.7

(5 pages)

WMO 2014 20 QAs (Q17)

(3 pages)

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

(16 pages. Challenging material that will be tough sledding for some; read as best you can)

AT 10

Lecture 10




03/14 Introduction to Chemical Kinetics Chemistry in Context,

Sec 4.6

(4 pages)

Yung & DeMore, Photochemistry of Planetary Atmospheres,Ch 3

(please read up to start of Section 3.7; 18 pages. Again, challenging material; read as best you can).


AT 11 Lecture 11




JPL 2015 Compendium

Spring Break: be safe and enjoy !

Pollution of Earth's Troposphere:

   Surface Ozone

Chemistry in Context, Sec 1.3, 1.4, 1.5, 1.9, 1.10, 1.11, 1.12, 1.15 (Conc.), and 4.3

(26 pages)

AT 12 Lecture 12





Chapter 3.2, Air Pollution and Air Quality, Green Chemistry (all but Sections 3.2.4 & 3.2.5)*


Pollution of Earth's Troposphere:

   Acid Rain & Aerosols

Chemistry in Context, Sec 6.0, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.6, 6.7, 6.10, 6.11, 6.12, 6.13, 6.14 (Conc.)

(27 pages)

AT 13


Lecture 13


Quiz   Chapter 3.2, Air Pollution and Air Quality, Green Chemistry (Sections 3.2.4 & 3.2.5)*


Pollution of Earth's Stratosphere:

   Mid-Latitude Ozone Depletion

Chemistry in Context, Sec 2.8, 2.9

(7 pages)

WMO 2014 20 QAs    (Q4, 6 to 9, 13 to 16)

(29 pgs; note, Q8 & Q15 had also been assigned for Lec 02, so 22 pgs of new material)

AT 14

Lecture 14




Chapter 3.3, Stratospheric Ozone Depletion and Recovery (Sections 3.3.1, 3.3.2, 3.3.3, and 3.3.5)*

Click here for entire WMO 2014 QAs


Pollution of Earth's Stratosphere:

   Polar Ozone Depletion

Chemistry in Context, Sec 2.10, 2.11, 2.12 &

2.13 (Conc) (9pages)

WMO 2014 20 QAs   (Q10, 11, &12)

(12 pages)

AT 15

Lecture 15



Chapter 3.3, Stratospheric Ozone Depletion and Recovery (Section 3.3.4)*

Rex et al., 2006

Manney et al., 2011


Pollution of Earth's Stratosphere:

   Ozone Recovery and Chemistry/Climate   


WMO 2014 20 QAs       (Q 20) (6 pages)


Paper Description

Lecture 16



Chapter 3.3, Stratospheric Ozone Depletion and Recovery (Section 3.3.6)*

Oman et al., 2010

Revell et al., 2012

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



No Quiz Problem Set 3 is now due on 11 April  


Problem Set #3 Review

ATL 2428, 5 pm



Second Exam:

Focus on Lectures 19 to 17 & 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

(21 pages)

Work Energy Outook Sumary for Policy Makers, 2018

AT 17

Lecture 17



Peak Oil Wikipedia


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

Chemistry in Context, Sec 3.11, 4.11 & 4.12 (Conc)

(10 pages)

Paris Beacon of Hope Sec 3.1, 4.1, and 4.2

(14 pages)

AT 18 

Lecture 18



EPA Endangerment Finding

Pacala & Socolow 2004

Raupach et al. 2007

IPCC 2007 FAQ (question 10.3)

CAFE Standard Update


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

Chemistry in Context,

Sec 8.7, 8.8 & 8.9 (Conc) (11 pages)

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

(7 pages)


Olah, Sec 8.6

(13 pages)


McElroy, The Ethanol Illusion

(4 pages)

AT 20

Lecture 20



Wigmosta et al., WRR, 2011

05/02 Fracking Fracking Debate: Please read main page plus at least one "no" and one "yes" position statement in response to "is fracking a good idea?"

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) as well as Section 8.6

Olah, Sec 9.3 to 9.6

AT 22

Lecture 22


Quiz Problem Set 4 due today

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


Quiz Energy Plan Assigned to 433 Students Only

Tilmes et al., 2008

GeoTimes GeoEng Debate



633 Project Presentations

ATL 3400, 2:00 pm

        Paper due for students enrolled in 633  


Problem Set #4 Review

ATL 2428, 6:30 pm

05/14 Class Review: Preparation for Final Exam   No AT Review C




Final Exam

ATL 2416

10:30 am to 12:30 pm


  Problem sets due on the date listed

* Reading strongly suggested for students enrolled in AOSC 633

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3. Grade Policy

The overall grades will be based on problems sets (30%), admission tickets (20%), two in-class exams (33.3%), and the final exam (16.7%). 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 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 may also have an extra question on various problem sets.

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4. Admission Tickets

To encourage completion of the reading assignments prior to class, there is an admission ticket to be completed on ELMS prior to the the start of each class (with the exception of the first lecture). The admission ticket (AT) is a short series of questions drawn from the reading. Each ticket will be graded in a prompt manner. The lowest three AT scores will be dropped. The overall AT grade counts 20% towards the final course grade.  The ATs require a considerable amount of effort, reflected in the 20% weight towards the final 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 complete in prior to the start of lecture. Late submissions of admission ticket solutions are  not accepted, unless there is an exceptional circumstance. 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 and 16, plus the exam review meetings), 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, in a manner to be determined by Ross.

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.

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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 of the course material will be enhanced for those with time to complete the additional readings.

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6. Collaboration Policy

We encourage reliance on the assigned reading and discourage use of search engines for the completion of the Admission Ticket questions.  At the same time, 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. W e encourage discussion among classmates of general course concepts, but details of how to answer particular admission ticket or problem set questions is not meant to be a group effort among classmates. Rather, you are strongly encouraged to interact with Ross for help in 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 exams by discussing class material with other students. We take care to change admission ticket, problem set, and exam 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 (ATL 2403): Mon 2 to 3 pm & 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.

Ross strives to be accessible throughout the semester. Please either drop by his office (most afternoons are A-OK) or email him to set up a time to meet.

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Website last updated on Tuesday, 14 May 2019