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: 208B Keyes (x5755)Home: 873-6154
Cell: 207-649-9674

Texts:James E. Girard, Principles of Environmental Chemistry, 2nd, Jones and Bartlett 2010


Broecker, W. S.,  How to Build a Habitable Planet, ELDGO Press, 1985

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

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

Approximate Lecture and Exam Schedule




2/4 Chapter 10 Energy Flow
2/11 Chapter 1 Geosphere
2/18 Chapter 2, 5 Atmosphere
2/25 Chapter 3 Climate
3/4 Chapter 4 Tropospheric Chemistry
3/11 Chapter 6 Acid Rain and Smog  (exam I 3/14)
3/18 Chapter 7 Water
4/1 Chapter 8, 9 Geochemistry
4/8 Chapter 13 Geochemistry II
4/15 Chapter 9 Redox and Water Treatment
4/22 Chapter 14 Organic Chemicals (exam II 4/25)
4/29 Chapter 15 Insecticides and Herbicides
5/6 Chapter 16 Toxicology
exam 16

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.