© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.

Environmental Chemistry Introduction

In A Nutshell

Where there are atoms, there is chemistry. This guide will discuss a small fraction of the chemical processes that make everyday life function. These reactions are what environmental chemistry is all about.

Environmental chemistry answers a lot of questions that kids might ask. Questions like: Why is the Earth this temperature? What's in rain? Why is ozone the worst? What are those crazy lights near the North Pole? We'll leave the chicken or the egg question for another day.

In addition to answering burning questions, environmental chemistry is like a scientific decathlon without the sweat. It's a little bit of biology, a little bit of physics, a little bit of environmental science, a little bit chemistry, and a little bit rock and roll. Environmental chemistry uses a lot of the stuff you learned in chemistry. Oxidation reactions explain atmospheric chemistry, dissociation reactions explain the chemistry of rain and ions help explain everything.

Environmental chemistry is just as tough as any chemistry topic, so there will be equations, there will be stoichiometry, and there will be tears. Well, maybe not tears, but definitely equations. In this chapter, we will have to apply many of the skills that we learned in all of the other chemistry topics we've discussed.

Topics touched on in this chapter include the Jekyll and Hyde nature of ozone, the tendencies of aerosols to cause problems wherever they go, and the super-villains of the greenhouse effect. Hint: It's not just carbon dioxide. Most of the reactions that take place on earth are multi-stepped and complicated. What else is new?

Environmental chemistry is a big picture science. This chapter will provide us with all the necessary details to help understand the unsung heroes of every day life: super complicated, hundred-step chemical reactions. This chapter might have some moments of reaction overload, but we can still understand the process basics.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...