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Chemistry LibreTexts

Atmospheric Chemistry

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  • Atmospheric chemistry is a branch of atmospheric science in which the chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere and that of other planets is studied.

    • Atmosphere
      The atmospheric chemistry studies the chemical composition of the natural atmosphere, the way gases, liquids, and solids in the atmosphere interact with each other and with the earth's surface and associated biota, and how human activities may be changing the chemical and physical characteristics of the atmosphere. It is interesting to note that the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1995 was awarded to the atmospheric scientists P. Crutzen, M. Molina and F. S. Rowland.
    • Carbon Cycle
      A scientist and an engineer may be called upon to solve a particular problem involving coal (carbon), gasoline (hydrocarbon), combustion of carbon or carbon containing fuel, lime stone, sea shells, carbon monoxide, or carbon dioxide. When we formulate a solution, we should be aware of the impact not only of the problem, but also of the solution for such a problem. Otherwise, the solution may result in a problem that is more expensive to solve later. Thus, it is important to know how carbon evolv
    • Carbon Oxides
      Carbon forms two important gases with oxygen: carbon monoxide, CO, and carbon dioxide, CO2. Carbon oxides are important components of the atmosphere, and they are parts of the carbon cycle. Carbon dioxide is naturally produced by respiration and metabolism, and consumed by plants in their photosynthesis. Since the industrial revolution, greater amount of carbon dioxide has been generated for over a hundred years due to increased industrial activities.
    • Ozone
      Most of the ozone in the atmosphere is in the stratosphere of the atmosphere, with about 8% in the lower troposphere. As mentioned there, the ozone is formed due to photo reaction. The ozone level is measured in Dobson Unit (DU), named after G.M.B. Dobson, who investigated the ozone between 1920 and 1960. One Dobson Unit (DU) is defined to be 0.01 mm thickness of ozone at STP when all the ozone in the air column above an area is collected and spread over the entire area.
    • Photosynthesis
      Photosynthesis is the process of converting light energy (E = h v) to chemical energy and storing it in the chemical bonds of sugar-like molecules. This process occurs in plants and some algae (Kingdom Protista). Plants need only light energy, CO2, and H2O to make sugar. The process of photosynthesis takes place in the chloroplasts (chloro = green; plasti = formed, molded), specifically using chlorophyll (phyll = leaf), the green pigment involved in photosynthesis.