Geography 311

The Atmosphere


  • To understand how the Earth and its atmosphere have evolved historically
  • To understand the structure and composition of the atmosphere
  • To understand contemporary environmental issues arising from atmospheric change

Spring 2011 Syllabus


Watch these animations:

          Fun video of our place in the universe (Eric Idle)

          Earth’s place in universe (size of suns, planets)

          End of World


Recommended texts:

Earth Under Siege, R. P. Turco, © 1997 Oxford University Press, Inc. (Comprehensive coverage of entire course)

The Changing Earth, J. S. Monroe and R. Wicander, © 2006 Thomson Learning, Inc. (First part of course)

Meteorology Today, C. Donald Ahrens, © 2003 Brooks/Cole, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. (Second half of course)

Understanding Weather and Climate, E. Aguado and J. E. Burt, © 2004 Pearson Education, Inc. (Second half of course)

+ any meteorology text used for Geography 103: Weather (Second half of course)


References (articles and links):

An Ice Record of Greenhouse Gases

Earth's Early Atmosphere

Atmospheres of the Terrestrial Planets

Global Carbon Dioxide Budget

Ozone Depletion - Twenty Questions

Ozone Depletion - Summary

Smog and Inversion Layers


Study Guides:

Summary I:  Composition and Structure, Energy Balance, Seasons and Climate

Global Warming:  Summary of Global Warming

Summary II:  Moisture, Stability, Precipitation and the Ozone Hole

Summary III:  Air pressure, Winds, Ocean Currents and El Nino

Summary IV:  Early History of the Solar System and the Earth

Summary V:  Climate Change




Air pollution and Inversion Layers



Taken from the summit of Josephine Peak in the Angeles National Forest on July 23, 2004 at 5:15 p.m. (Anna Huber)


Helen Cox, Jan. 24, 2003

last updated, Jan 7, 2009.