Methods of Atmospheric Analysis

By Douglas Hamilton


School of Chemistry


The Earth’s atmosphere serves to protect the chemical processes that occur on this planet, i.e. life, from the harsh radiation of the sun. Consisting mainly of nitrogen, the atmosphere is of the order of tens of kilometres thick, which may seem large but considering the Earth is 13000 kilometres in diameter, if the Earth was likened to an apple the atmosphere would be as thick as the skin.


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The climate is changing due to changes in the atmosphere. To monitor the causes of this change it is necessary to measure the composition of the atmosphere. Traces of volatile organic compounds and greenhouse gases give clues as to how the atmosphere is affecting the climate.


This is done in various ways:

Studying Ice Cores

Sampling from the Air

Remote Measurements


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