atmospheric chemistry © Nicole Mölders

Unit 14

Basic concepts of atmospheric chemistry

In the discussion of the first and second laws of thermodynamics we left discussing the chemical potential out. We also left out discussing the chemical aspects of thermodynamics of irreversible processes. The book chapter that we start to work on now will introduce us the atmospheric chemistry and biogeochemical cycles and hydrochemical processes which are important the interactions between the water, energy and trace species cycles, and for the Earth-system at-large.

odd oxygen
Odd oxygen. From: Mölders and Kramm (2014)

Learning goal

Discuss the fate of gases in terms of lifetime and chemical equations.

After this unit students can

  • Explain the basic terminology of atmospheric chemistry
  • Balance, produce and solve chemical reaction equations
  • Explain the link between radiation and atmospheric chemistry, photolysis and absorption
  • Apply the thermodynamic concepts of enthalpy and Gibbs free energy and the radiation concepts to solve atmospheric chemistry problems

Students’ Tasks

    1. Review the the sections on enthalpy and Gibbs free energy in the thermodynamics and the sections on absorption in the atmospheric radiation chapter. Be aware that this unit builds on knowing and understanding those concepts.
    2. Watch this video on the material
    3. Read chapters 5. to (included) of Lectures in Meteorology and take notes.
    4. Watch this video of a worked problem on NO2 photolysis and radiation in the video below.

    5. Create an equation and constant sheet in the form we did this for earlier units. You should have developed a good grasp by now to recognize the key equations. Hint: Among others, put the “recipe” formulas on your equation sheet.
    6. Watch this video of a worked problem on NO2 dissociation.

    7. Answer the questionnaire
    8. Solve the task assigned at your class level in this work sheet by Thursday 2359 Alaska time.

    Supplemental material

    You can find the powerpoint presentation used in the movie at the link.


    Q: How do I balance equations?

    A: This video shows on how to balance equations

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