Course Details and Policies

CH217: Environmental Chemistry

Students in Environmental Chemistry will develop an understanding of how physical, chemical and biological processes in the environment create and define the natural world.   As a chemistry course the focus is on the fundamental equilibrium and kinetic processes that control the global systems of the Earth including the composition of the atmosphere, ocean, and biosphere.   Building on the concept of residence time and chemical reactivity students learn how to evaluate the impact of anthropogenic modifications to the environment over a range of spatial and temporal scales. Current topics such as acid deposition, global warming, atmospheric ozone loss, and the fate and toxicity of heavy metals are discussed in the context of natural environmental processes.  Lectures and homework focus on problem solving skills that provide solutions to new environmental problems based on fundamental chemical principles and constants.

Professor:  Whitney King
Office: 211 Keyes (x5755)
Home:  873-6154
Cell: 207-649-9674

How to Build a Habitable Planet: The Story of Earth from the Big Bang to Humankind
Charles H. Langmuir & Wally Broecker (2012)
ISBN: 9780691140063

How to Build a habitable Planet – Text Resources

Bunce, Nigel J., Environmental Chemistry 2nd. Ed., Wuerz Publishing, 1994
Howard. Aquatic Environmental Chemistry. Oxford Chemistry Primers. 1998
vanLoon and Duffy, Environmental Chemistry: a global perspective, Oxford, 2005
Spiro and Stigliani. Chemistry of the Environment. 2nd edition 2003
Jacob, Introduction to Atmospheric Chemistry, 1999

Homework/Quizes                25%
Hour Exams                            25%
Class Participation                20%
Final                                         30%

Office Hours:  10-12 on Mondays or by appointment.   Feel free to add meetings to my Google Calendar.

Homework will be assigned regularly throughout the semester with details posted to the course homepage.  All homework will be graded.

Attendance and Exam Policy:  We will follow the exam and attendance policy posted on the Department of Chemistry Web page.

Date Topic Notes
2/2 Big Bang
2/7 Elements and the Earth
2/14 Water and the Atmosphere
2/21 Stratosphere
2/28 Climate Change
3/7 Troposphere First hour exam 3/9
3/14 Acid Deposition
3/28 Water and the Oceans
4/4 Geochemistry I
4/11 Geochemistry  and Redox
4/18 Lakes as coupled biogeochemical Systems
4/25 Energy for a modern world Second hour exam 4/20