MAQ-10306 Introduction Atmosphere


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Excursion (one day)2
Course coordinator(s)dr. IT van der Laan-Luijkx
Lecturer(s)prof. dr. MC Krol
dr. IT van der Laan-Luijkx
dr. ing. BG Heusinkveld
prof. dr. AAM Holtslag
dr. J Vilà-Guerau de Arellano
Examiner(s)prof. dr. MC Krol
prof. dr. AAM Holtslag

Language of instruction:



This is an introductory course dedicated to the systems and cycles in the atmosphere, from the microscale to the global scale. They are approached both in a descriptive manner and in a quantitative manner based on physical and chemical principles. We start with the most important laws on thermodynamics, cloud physics, radiation, chemical transformations and dynamics. Next, we study the atmospheric systems from the global scale to the microscale. The important processes determining the exchange of gases, water vapour and momentum between the atmosphere and the earth's surface form the last step to various applications incorporating air quality problems. In the last part of the course subjects such as climatology and methods of observing the atmosphere will be discussed.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe and explain the structure of weather systems on a broad range of time and length scales;
- calculate the present and future state of quantities using the fundamental physical and chemical atmospheric processes treated in the course;
- explain the exchange processes between the atmosphere and the earth's surface as well as be able to calculate the vertical fluxes of mass, momentum, heat and trace gases which these exchange processes describe;
- name, define and describe a number of air quality issues and their physical, chemical and biological background;
- identify and list the causes of climate change, including the major cycles influencing it.


You are expected to study the theory using the syllabus and the PowerPoint presentations on the website.
A large number of practical exercises and questions have been compiled and can be found on the website.
You are expected to solve a selection of these during the practical sessions, and take the weekly tests.


- there is a test at the end of each week (6 tests in total);
- the average grade of the 4 best test results counts for 20% of the final grade.
The final examination counts for 80% of the final grade.


L.J.M. Kroon; A A. M. Holtslag; M.C. Krol; I.T. van der Laan-Luijkx (2018). Introduction Atmosphere. Wageningen University, 2018. (in English).

Compulsory for: BSWSoil, Water, AtmosphereBSc5MO
Restricted Optional for: WULEABSc Minor Living Earth5MO