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Table of Contents

1. Course title

Ilmakehän kemian perusteet
Basics of atmospheric chemistry
Basics of atmospheric chemistry

2. Course code


Aikaisemmat leikkaavat opintojaksot 53611 Ilmakehän kemian perusteet, 5 op.

3. Course status: compulsory/optional

-Which degree programme is responsible for the course?
Master's Programme in Atmospheric Sciences

-Which module does the course belong to?
ATM300 Advanced Studies in Atmospheric Sciences
compulsory for

  • Study Track in Atmospheric Chemistry and Analysis

optional for

  • Study Track in Aerosol Physics
  • Study Track in Meteorology

-Is the course available to students from other degree programmes?

4. Course level (first-, second-, third-cycle/EQF levels 6, 7 and 8)

Master’s level, degree programmes in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine = secondcycle
degree/EQF level 7
Doctoral level = third-cycle (doctoral) degree/EQF level 8

-Does the course belong to basic, intermediate or advanced studies (cf. Government Decree
on University Degrees)?
Advanced studies

5. Recommended time/stage of studies for completion

As early as possible in the beginning of Master's studies.

6. Term/teaching period when the course will be offered

The course will be lectured in the II period.

7. Scope of the course in credits

5 cr

8. Teacher coordinating the course


9. Course learning outcomes


-You will learn the basic concepts and unifying features of atmospheric chemistry, including the concept of oxidation and the relationship between

altitude, chemical energy and chemical complexity, as well as the key chemical features of the atmospheric N, C, O, H and S cycles

-You will be able to apply kinetic and thermodynamic tools to solve simple atmospheric chemical problems, including concentration unit conversions,

computing lifetimes using given rate coefficients, and using the pseudo-steady state approximation to simplify reaction rate expressions

-You will understand the main features of stratospheric chemistry (Chapman mechanism, catalytic ozone-depleting cycles) and tropospheric chemistry (formation of oxidants, radical oxidation mechanisms, the role of NOx, and the characteristics of photochemical smog).

10. Course completion methods

-Lectures (non-compulsory), visits to atmospheric chemistry laboratories on campus (compulsory) poster or oral presentation, homework

exercises, and final (open-book) exam

11. Prerequisites

-No formal prerequisites, but high-school level understanding of chemistry or physics highly recommended.

12. Recommended optional studies

-Advanced atmospheric chemistry courses at the physics and chemistry departments are recommended for those interested in the subject: ATM358 Atmospheric photochemistry and reaction kinetics, and ATM307 Atmospheric and aerosol chemistry.

13. Course content

-Unifying and common concepts in atmospheric chemistry

-Atmospheric composition, and concentration unit conversions

-Thermodynamic and kinetic tools needed in atmospheric chemistry

-Elemental cycles of N, C, O, H and S

-Key features of stratospheric (ozone) chemistry

-Key features of tropospheric (radical oxidation) chemistry, including air pollution

14. Recommended and required literature

There is no official coursebook. Lecture notes will be distributed via Moodle.

 For deeper understanding, any of the following books could be useful. Jacob’s book is freely available online (though a bit old by now). Holloway & Wayne especially recommended as a relatively cheap and modern introductory book.

• D. J. Jacob: Introduction to atmospheric chemistry, Princetown Univ. Press, 1999. (Available online:

• J. H. Seinfeld & S.N. Pandis: Atmospheric chemistry and physics, 2nd/3rd ed, Wiley, 2006/2016

• R. P. Wayne: Chemistry of atmospheres, 3rd ed., Oxford University Press, 2000

• A. M. Holloway, R. P. Wayne: Atmospheric Chemistry, RSC Publishing, 2010

15. Activities and teaching methods in support of learning


  • Weekly lectures and exercises (individual work, with some pair or group work during lectures)
  • presentation (group work)
  • laboratory visits (group work)
  • Exercise and poster workshops once or twice during the course to support students

16. Assessment practices and criteria, grading scale

  • Final grade is based on exercises (38%), attending visits (2%), presentation (30%) and open-book exam (30%).  The presentation grading is partly based on peer assessment. 45% of total points needed to pass.

17. Teaching language

-English whenever necessary