ATM OCN 121, Fall 2009

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					                            ATM OCN 121, Fall 2009
               (Also cross-listed as IES 121 and Geography 121)
                      Atmospheric Environment and Society
                                    (2 credits)

Instructor: Prof. Pao Wang
Room 1525, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences Building
Phone: 263-6479
Office Hours: M 10-11:30 AM and by appointment

TA: Jacob Beitlich
Room 1521, Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences Building
Phone: 264-2475
Office Hours: Wed Fri 9-11 AM and by appointment

Time and Place

Lec: 1:20- MW
Rm 113 Psychology


No textbook required. All lectures will be presented in form of PowerPoint slides.
Lecture materials will be posted on . You will need to
contact Great River Technologies at the above web site to purchase an access card.

Class Web Site

Important announcements will be posted at


Grading will be based on two mid-terms (30% each) and one final (40%). The exams will
be in multiple choice format. Main emphasis of the exams will be to test your
understanding of the subjects. The course grade is determined by the distribution of the
final total scores (not the average of the three exam grades).

Honor Credit

Those who signed up for the one honor credit will do a project to earn it. You will receive
emails from Prof. Wang for details about the project. Note that the honor credit cannot be
converted to a regular credit.
Course Description

       In this course, we will explore the changing interactions between human society
and the atmospheric environment. It is broadly divided into 4 parts:

     1. The first part is an overview of the fundamental facts of our atmosphere – its
        physical and chemical structure, how it has evolved from the beginning to the
        present state, and basic atmospheric processes – mainly winds and cloud

     2. The second part will be the impacts of the atmospheric environment on us –
        weather and climate and how they influence our daily life. Subjects such as
        aviation meteorology, thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes will be

     3. The third part is the ―reverse impact‖ – how human beings influence our
        atmospheric environment. Specific environmental issues such as global warming,
        ozone depletion, photochemical smog, acid rain and other human-caused
        atmospheric environmental changes are among the topics to be addressed.

     4. The fourth part is a summary of what we have learned from the above and what
        possible atmospheric future scenarios will be waiting for us.

                                     Course Outline
                              (Tentative, subject to change)
Week        Topic
1           The Earth System and Atmosphere
2           Physicochemical Structure of Atmosphere/Ocean
3           Evolution of the Atmosphere/Ocean
4           The Sun and Its Influences on the Earth System
5           Seasons and Climates, General Circulations
6           1st Midterm (date TBA, in class)
7           The Weather Machine—Winds, Clouds, Rain, Snow, etc.
8           Thunderstorms and Tornados
9           Hurricanes
10          Photochemical Smog and Urban Air Pollution
11          Ozone Hole
12          2nd Midterm (date TBA, in class)
13          Global Warming
14          Acid Rain
15          Global Climatic Change and Human Influences
16          Biodiversity; Sustainable Future of the World (if time allows)
17          Final Exam (10:05 A.M. Tuesday, December 22)
ecember 22)