The atmosphere: gases, aerosols and climate change

This course is part of the programme
Bachelor's programme in Environment (first cycle)

Objectives and competences

The objective of the course is to provide students with the knowledge about the composition of the atmosphere and the physical and chemical processes, with the special attention paid to the lowest atmospheric layer – the troposphere. The human impact on air quality at local and regional level is presented. Students get familiar with the circulation of basic elements in the atmosphere, the interaction of gases and aerosols with radiation, and the problem of climate change. Students develop the ability to integrate knowledge from the field of natural sciences, in particular physics, chemistry and meteorology, and the ability to critically evaluate the interactions of anthropogenic influences and changing atmospheric environment.


In order to successfully understand the material requires the prior knowledge of some chapters of chemistry, physics and meteorology.


Layers of the atmosphere

Atmospheric gases


  • aerosol size distribution
  • chemical composition
  • nucleation and dynamics
  • carbonaceous aerosols
  • interaction of aerosols with radiation

Basics of atmospheric chemistry

  • atmospheric radiation and photochemistry
  • chemistry of the troposphere

Meteorology and local air quality

  • microscale meteorology
  • atmospheric diffusion and transport of pollutants

Dry and wet deposition

Global atmosphere and sulfur, nitrogen and carbon cycles

Climate: gases and aerosols

Chemical transport models and statistical models

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:
Students can describe and explain:

  • composition of the atmosphere and basic physical and chemical processes
  • the principles of the basic biogeochemical cycles in the atmosphere
  • the impact of gaseous and particulate emissions on air quality and global climate change
  • the impact of local weather condition on air quality and the transport of air pollutants

Students are familiar with the basics of planning and conducting air quality measurements and approaches in data analyses and interpretation of results.


  • Seinfeld, J. H., and Pandis, S. N.: Atmospheric chemistry and physics, from air pollution to climate change, 3rd ed., John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, New Jersey, 2016. Catalogue E-version
  • IPCC: Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Geneva, Switzerland, 151, 2014. E-version
  • Pöschl, U.: Atmospheric aerosols: composition, transformation, climate and health effects, Angewandte Chemie - International Edition, 44, 7520-7540, 2005.
  • Air quality in Europe - 2016 report, European Environment Agency, Luxemburg, 83, 2016. E-version


Written exam (60%), Seminar (10%), Report from tutorial (30%)

Lecturer's references

Assistant professor habilitated in field of Geophysics at University of Nova Gorica.

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  • GREGORIČ, Asta, VAUPOTIČ, Janja, ŠEBELA, Stanka. The role of cave ventilation in governing cave air temperature and radon levels (Postojna Cave, Slovenia). International journal of climatology, 2014, 34, 5, str. 1488-1500.
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