Atmospheric Physics

Lecture content:

This course together with the courses on oceanic and terrestrial Environmental Physics forms the basis for the education in Environmental Physics. All other more specialised topics will build on this basis.

The course starts with a description of the Earth atmosphere and its evolution. Next the present atmosphere and key processes will be discussed which drive not only the "weather machine" but also determine the global atmospheric temperature structure and the distribution of trace gases such as stratospheric ozone. This includes a discussion on the role of water and its thermodynamic properties in the atmosphere, global circulation pattern, and also covers issues like the microphysics of cloud formation.

Closely related to the atmosphere is climate, after all the green house effect is responsible for a mean temperature suitable for the biosphere to develop into its present state. A very basic introduction to climate and climate change will be given. This naturally leads to questions discussed which will be discussed in detail only in the courses Environmental Physics (Ocean) and Environmental Physics (Terrestrial), such as the role of the ocean and ocean dynamics and the effects of land surfaces on global climate


"Atmospheric Science, an Introductory Survey", J. M. Wallace and P. V. Hobbs, Academic Press, 1977

"Earth under Siege, from Air Pollution to Global Change", R.P. Turco, Oxford University Press, 1997