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The University of Southampton

CHEM3036 Atmospheric Chemistry: An Experimental and Computational Approach

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

The course aims to provide: an understanding of the structure and chemistry of the Earth’s atmosphere. how it evolved, and the importance of the interplay between the atmosphere and other parts of the biosphere; an overview of the physical chemistry underpinning both natural and pollution based aspects of the atmosphere; an understanding of key environmental issues such as stratospheric ozone depletion, acid rain, tropospheric smog, and global warming; and an appreciation of the links and feedback between these issues.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • be able to use fundamental chemistry to explain and model the important atmospheric process; predict the impact of chemical species on the atmosphere;
  • to use simple models to predict and explain the role of atmospheric processes;
  • appreciate the links between the atmosphere and the other regions of the biosphere;
  • to assess to potential impact of proposed changes to what is or can be release to the atmosphere on the key atmospheric pollution problems.


• The evolution and structure of the atmosphere comparison with other planets • The importance of chemical cycles and of trace species in the atmosphere. • Review of fundamental kinetics, thermodynamics and spectroscopy relevant to atmospheric chemistry • Models used to simulate atmospheric processes; computational simulation approaches for kinetics and photochemistry of the atmosphere • Modern quantum chemistry techniques for chemical reactions • Chemistry of the Stratosphere: The Ozone Layer, “Spray Cans” and Ozone depletion and the Ozone Hole. Computational determination of reactants, products and transition states using quantum chemistry • e.g. why is Br is more reactive than Cl • Chemistry of the Natural and Polluted Troposphere: Cars, Smog, Acid Rain • Transport through the atmosphere: From Aerosols to Metals • Climate Change and global warming.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures, Workshops, Course Book and Web materials

Preparation for scheduled sessions10
Practical classes and workshops6
Follow-up work30
Wider reading or practice60
Completion of assessment task
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Grant Richie. Atmospheric Chemistry: From Surface to Stratosphere. 

A.M.Holloway and R.P.Wayne. Atmospheric Chemistry. 

P.W.Atkins and Paula. Atkins’ Physical Chemistry. 



Online test


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (2 hours) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: CHEM2012 AND CHEM2013

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