76030 - Environmental and Climate Change Chemistry

Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Good health and well-being Affordable and clean energy Climate Action Life on land

Academic Year 2019/2020

Learning outcomes

At the end of the course, the student will be aware of the concept of 'background levels' of natural chemical species, will recognize the compositional alterations detectable in the various environmental compartments as a result of introduction of xenobiotic substances or substances naturally existing where the level of concentration is altered by human activities within the framework of the concept of 'biogeochemical cycle' determining the environmental fate of chemicals.

Course contents

Program shared between the classes of Environmental Chemistry and  Environmental Photochemistry:
Earth as a biogeochemical reactor - Chemistry of natural and anthropogenic perturbations - Vertical structure of the atmosphere - Chemical composition of the atmosphere: compositional evolution from its origins up to today - recent changes (trends and periodical fluctuations) and its links with human activities - Sources and sinks of trace gases - residence time - electromagnetic spectrum of incoming and outgoing radiation : photochemical filters in the atmosphere - energy balance of the planet and the current imbalances - IR interaction and the greenhouse effect, global warming and the scientific evidence - The atmospheric  reactor: photochemistry of the natural and polluted atmosphere - Production, properties and role of OH radical -  daytime/nighttime chemistry - control of the accumulation of toxic (CO) and climate-active (CH4) species in the troposphere -  photochemical oxidation of SO2, NOx, Hydrocarbons - The role of photochemistry in the production of secondary aerosol - Good ozone and bad ozone - stratospheric ozone (ozone depletion - ozone hole)

Additional Section of the program for the course of Environmental Chemistry.
Integrated biogeochemical cycles (atmosphere / geosphere / hydrosphere / biosphere / anthroposphere) - environmental fate of natural and anthropogenic chemicals - pollutants sinks (where do pollutants accumulate? - the relationship between reactivity / physico-chemical properties of substances and environmental processes
Traditional and current pollutants (including nanoparticles)
Analytical basis for a correct approach to environmental investigations


  • Air Pollution: Measurement, Modelling and Mitigation, Abhishek Tiwary , Jeremy Colls Routledge, 2010 - 501 pages
  • Up-to-date reviews and articles from international scientific literature

Teaching methods

frontal lessons and individual study

Assessment methods

The oral examination consists of a discussion of a topic chosen by the candidate among those included in the program. Thereafter the candidate will discuss 2 further questions on the program carried out in order to approximate the full range of topics treated.
The final grade reflects the comprehensive exposure assessment of the candidate.

Teaching tools

Class lessons based upon PowerPoint slides

Office hours

See the website of Laura Tositti