Office of Academic Affairs
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Bhopal

Earth and Environmental Sciences

EES 305: Atmospheric Sciences (3)

Prerequisites (Desirable): MTH, PHY and CHM 100 level courses and EES 100 and 200 level courses

Learning Objectives:

This course is designed as a first level course for undergraduate students; upon the completion of this course, the student will be able to understand the evolution of the Earth’s atmosphere, tools to observe it, and its properties. Additionally the students will learn to formulate and apply equations to solve problems on atmospheric dynamics, radiation and thermodynamics. Finally the sub-disciplines of atmospheric science and their inter-relationships will be discussed.

Course Contents:

Significance of studying atmospheric sciences in the regional and global contexts, prediction of weather and climate change, identification and remediation of environmental threats; Recent trends and emerging frontiers.

Earth’s Atmosphere:
Sun and its origin, evolution of the Earth and its atmosphere - elements and compounds, spectrum of radiation of the sun and Earth, Sun Earth relationships - seasons, heat budget, latitudinal heat budget.

Atmospheric Observations:
Overview of meteorological observations, measurement of temperature, humidity, pressure, wind and precipitation, high altitude observations, weather RADAR and satellites, vertical structure and composition of the atmosphere.

Atmospheric Motion:
Wind systems and the atmosphere, forces that drive the winds - pressure gradient; Coriolis, centrifugal, friction, scales of atmospheric motion; Global circulation of single cell and three cell models - observed distribution of pressure and winds, monsoons, westerlies and waves in the westerlies.

Atmospheric Radiation:
Quantitative description of radiation, blackbody radiation, Planck’s function, local thermodynamic equilibrium, budget of solar radiation, terrestrial radiation, absorption and emission by atmospheric gases, scattering by air molecules and particles, absorption by particles, Beer-Lambert’s law, radiative energy balance, simplified models of the greenhouse effect.

Atmospheric Thermodynamics:
Basic definitions, gas laws, hydrostatic balance; First law of thermodynamics, moisture in the atmosphere, measure and description of moist air, isobaric cooling, adiabatic and pseudo adiabatic processes, hydrodynamic stability - air parcel and slice methods, vertical mixing, vertical stability in the atmosphere, stability analysis and conditions, Second law of thermodynamics, Carnot cycle and Clausius Clapeyron equation.

Atmospheric Chemistry:
Chemical structure, reactivity, and lifetime of chemicals; Overview of tropospheric and stratospheric chemistry - Ozone depletion.

Suggested Readings :

  1. Wallace, J. M., and Hobbs, P. V., 2006, Atmospheric Science: An introductory Survey, Academic Press.
  2. Ahrens, C. D., 2015, Essentials of Meteorology: An Invitation to the Atmosphere, Stamford Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.
  3. Frederic, J., 2008, Principles of Atmospheric Science, Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
  4. Seinfeld, J., and Pandis, S N., 2006, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics: From Air Pollution to Climate Change (2nd Edition), Wiley-Interscience.

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