ATM S 212: Air Pollution
From Urban Smog to the Ozone Hole

Class Description

This course is an introduction to air pollution on local, regional, and global scales.  We will focus on the sources, transformation, and dispersion of pollutants responsible for urban smog, acid rain, climate change and the stratospheric ozone hole.  We will examine the health and environmental effects of air pollutants, as well as current (or potential) technological solutions and international policy regulations.  The class will be divided into three parts:

* Introduction to air pollution. We will define air pollution and present a brief history of current regional and global air pollution problems. We will discuss the factors controlling the natural composition of the atmosphere.

* Local and regional pollution issues.  In this part of the class we will discuss the sources and fate of pollutants focusing on specific local/regional air pollution issues: urban smog, aerosols and acid rain, visibility, and indoor air pollution. For each of these issues we will discuss the health and environmental effects, technological solutions, as well as current national and international regulations. 

* Global scale pollution issues.  We will examine the causes and effects of two major global air pollution issues: stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change.  We will discuss projections of future air quality in the U.S. an around the world. Will the future be cleaner? What choices will we make?

Course Goals

(1) Learn about the causes and sources of air pollution.
(2) Learn about the health effects of air pollution.
(3) Discuss air pollution regulation and its impacts in the United States and abroad.  Learn about pollution control technologies and what we can do to reduce our emissions.


None. Open to all undergraduates. A working knowledge of high-school algebra and physical sciences will be useful; however, the basic tools used by scientists will be reviewed and practiced as they arise during the course.


“Earth Under Siege” by Richard P. Turco, Oxford University Press, 2002.

Sign up for ATM S 212

Check the current University Time Schedule to see if ATM S 212 is being offered this quarter.