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ESCI 317 Atmospheric Science

This course covers the composition, structure, optical and thermal properties, and behavior of the atmosphere, including the flows of energy to, from, and through the atmosphere, the resulting motion of the atmosphere at scales from local to planetary, the impact of human activity on the chemical composition and physical properties of the atmosphere, and the resultant effects of those anthropogenic changes on the built and natural environment (i.e. acid precipitation, ozone destruction, smog, greenhouse effect warming etc). The content and methods of modern atmospheric and environmental science are emphasized. Lab activities will include field investigations, lab experiments, and computer modeling. Intended for students majoring in environmental science and related fields. This course meets the Physical Science Core requirement of the Environmental Science major.


Special information

First day attendance is mandatory.
Note: Enrollment limited to Biology, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Life Science Teaching majors only, except by instructor permission.
5 Undergraduate credits

Effective August 14, 2022 to present

Learning outcomes


  • Recall, explain and apply the concepts, knowledge and vocabulary of atmospheric and environmental science, both theoretical and experimental, at the upper division undergraduate level;
  • Demonstrate and apply quantitative reasoning skills and competency with mathematics at a level appropriate for upper division students of the environmental sciences;
  • Apply foundation knowledge of physics and chemistry to understanding of the planetary air, weather and climate;
  • Analyze complex atmospheric data sets and synthesize reasonable summary from that data;
  • Evaluate competing hypotheses for atmospheric phenomenon, by applying theoretical knowledge to real world data sets;
  • Read and interpret primary scientific literature in atmospheric and environmental science.