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PHAS4312/SPCEG011(SS4): Planetary Atmospheres

View of Jupiter and its Red Spot


This course looks at the diverse atmospheres in our solar system, including our own planet. As well as the underlying theory we look at results from the limits of humankind's exploration and research so far in addressing the following questions:

  • What determines whether a solar system body retains or loses its atmosphere and what is its vertical structure?
  • What are the sources and sinks of energy in the atmosphere?
  • What are the sources of the volatile components and the mechanisms by which they may also be lost?
  • What is the origin of the planetary atmospheres and what are their main evolutionary processes?
  • What were the special features of the Earth's atmosphere which fostered the development of life, and how has the presence of life modified its atmosphere?
  • Why were global warming and ozone so significant for the development of the Earth's atmosphere and why do these processes now present potential problems which are difficult to analyse and predict?
  • How and what did we find out about the atmospheres of other planets?

Page last modified on 07 sep 11 12:50