Atmospheric Science - An Introductory Survey, 2 Edition


Oct 27, 2013 (3 years and 10 months ago)


Physics 335

Introduction to Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry

Instructor: L. Remer


Physics Room 431

Office hours: M 11
2; W 2
3:30, or by appointment

Atmospheric Science


Introductory Survey, 2

, by Wallace and

This is a basic Atmospheric Science text that provides a fundamental overview of
atmospheric physics and chemistry, and includes both descriptive and quantitative
approaches to the subject. To cove
r all material in the text would take two or more
semesters. We will address only a subset of topics and skip some of the details even
in the topics that we cover. The text will be supplemented with lecture notes that
will some times follow the text, and

some times deviate. There will be some
jumping around between different chapters, but I will attempt to link the lecture
notes to specific pages in the book.

The first third of the course will cover the composition and structure of the
atmosphere, radia
tion and energy balance, and global warming. Also the first third
of the course will include a good look at atmospheric chemistry including topical
issues such as the ozone hole and air pollution. This part of the course will have
both quantitative and d
escriptive elements. The math will include differential and
integral calculus. The remaining two
thirds of the course will be an introduction to
the thermodynamics and dynamics of the atmosphere that explore quantitatively
the forces that initiate atmosp
heric motion and create our weather. I hope to have
time during the second 2/3 of the course to pay attention to daily weather
conditions and forecasts, with the goal of linking the topics under study with the
weather forecasts in the media and what we se
e outside.

Grading: Weekly homework assignments: 45%

2 midterms: each 15%

Comprehensive final: 25%

Communication will be in class or via email. I will not be using blackboard. Feel
free to email me or call

Homework assignments may be done individually or cooperatively. If working
cooperatively, the final write up of any assignment must be in your own words and
you must give credit when taking ideas from others. Using someone’s ideas without
g the source of those ideas is dishonest. The three exams must be your own
individual effort with no help from others.

Course schedule

30 Jan. to 8 Feb.

Structure of the atmosphere

Lapse rates

Radiation, radiance, irradiance

Blackbody radiati
on, Stefan
Boltzmann law, Wien law

Radiative energy balance, greenhouse effect

Scattering, extinction

Human perturbation to the energy balance

Geometry, seasons

11 to 25 Feb.

Atmospheric chemistry

Chemistry in the stratosphere

ozone sources and

Ozone hole

Composition and chemistry in the troposphere

Air pollution and acid rain

27 Feb.

Midterm #1

1 Mar. to 15 Mar.


Gas law

Hydrostatic approximation


law of thermodynamics

Adiabatic processes, dry adia
batic lapse rates

Humidity parameters

Moist adiabatic lapse rates

16 to 24 Mar.

Spring Break

25 to 3 Apr.

Static stability

Static stability unsaturated air

Convective and conditional static stability

Cloud formation

5 Apr.


8 to 22 Apr


Pressure gradient, frictional forces

Apparent forces

Horizontal equation of motion

Scales of motion

Balanced flow

Horizontal temperature gradients

Vorticity and divergence

Continuity equation

General cir
culation of the atmosphere

24 Apr to 13 May

Application to weather phenomena

Weather maps and charts

Extratropical cyclones

Deep convection, tornados, derechos

Tropical cyclones and hurricanes

Practical weather forecasting

17 May

Final ex