ATMS449 - Biogeochemical Cycles - Spring '05




Welcome to ATMOS 449: Biogeochemical Cycles.

The study of biogeochemical cycles is one of the key growing research areas in environmental research. Biogeochemical cycles are crucial for the maintenance of life on Earth. The vast and complex array of biological, geological, and chemical processes that comprise these cycles determine the chemical and physical properties of our global environment and the way it changes. Biogeochemical cycles impact climate, and climate change impacts on the biogeochemical cycles. A thorough understanding of the causes of global environmental change and the implication for life on Earth requires an investigation of global biogeochemistry.

This course presents the chemical concepts, relevant features of the Earth system, and key physical, biological, and chemical aspects that are central to understanding the causes of global changes in climate and ozone. This course will particularly focus on an atmospheric science view of the biogeochemical cycles and the role they are playing in concerns about global warming and other global change issues.

Topics to be covered include the most recent information on reservoirs sizes and fluxes for three major cycles (carbon, nitrogen and sulfur); the biogeochemical cycles of CO2 and other important atmospheric greenhouse gases, and their significance to the global and climate change; the development and use of numerical models to study the biogeochemistry on Earth and to evaluate expected changes in CO2 and other important biogenic greenhouse gas concentrations and climatic impacts resulting from historical and assumed future emission scenarios.