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Atmospheric Chemistry

CSU is home to a large and active atmospheric chemistry community. There are currently five faculty members specializing in atmospheric chemistry within the Department of Atmospheric Science. Ongoing collaborations exist with many departments across campus including Chemistry, Environmental and Radiological Health Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Soil & Crop Sciences.

Current atmospheric chemistry research at CSU spans a range of topics.

Aerosols and their role in the atmosphere:

Extensive research activities span many aspects of aerosol research, with a focus on the impacts of aerosols on air quality, climate, visibility, and health.

Ozone, organics, and reactive nitrogen:

A second theme across the atmospheric chemistry community is a focus on reactive nitrogen, volatile organics, and tropospheric ozone.

Observational and modeling projects are underway to better understand the transport, deposition and implications for atmospheric oxidant distributions and their impacts on air quality, climate, and ozone layer changes.  The connections of volatile organics and atmospheric chemical transformation processes are studied to examine levels of various relevant atmospheric chemicals.

Extensive work is ongoing to characterize deposition of both oxidized and reduced nitrogen, especially in pristine ecosystems, including National Parks.

Unconventional air pollution sources:

Stratospheric chemistry:

There is significant work on stratospheric processes among the faculty in the department. Interested readers are referred to the pages of Profs. Thompson, Birner, and Ravishankara.

In addition to theoretical studies and mathematical analyses of datasets, we apply the following tools and approaches in our research:

Field Programs
Numerical Modeling


Sample Coursework During First Two Years of Graduate Program

Fall, Year 1

ATS 540: Daily Weather Laboratory I
ATS 601: Atmospheric Dynamics I
ATS 620: Thermodynamics and Cloud Physics
ATS 621: Atmospheric Chemistry

Spring, Year 1

ATS 622: Atmospheric Radiation
ATS 631: Atmospheric Aerosols
ATS 715: Atmospheric Oxidation Processes

Fall, Year 2

ATS 606: Introduction to Climate
ATS 560: Air Pollution Measurement

Spring, Year 2

ATS 762: Biosphere-Chemistry-Climate Interactions

Other classes of interest

ATS 607: Computational Methods for Atmospheric Science
ATS 652: Atmospheric Remote Sensing
ATS 655: Objective Analysis
ATS 716: Air Quality Characterization
ATS 760: Global Carbon Cycle
ATS 772: Aerosol Physics and Chemistry