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Air Composition and Chemistry.

Air Composition and Chemistry By Peter Brimblecombe. (Cambridge University Press, 32 East 57th Street, New York 10022, 1986. 224 pp.) This book provides an introduction to the composition and structure, as well as the chemical reactions, of the atmosphere. The first three chapters describe respectively the structure and bulk composition, the natural trace gas composition, and the reactions between the natural components of the atmosphere. Aerosols are discussed in the fourth chapter, and clouds and precipitation are covered in the fifth. The sources and effects of air pollutants form the subject matter of the sixth and seventh chapters, which between them make up about 40 percent of the book. The ninth chapter contains a brief description of the chemistry occurring in the stratosphere, including possible effects on the ozone layer due to anthropogenic emissions. The ninth (and last) chapter is unusual in a book of this type, since it covers the composition and evolution of the atmospheres of the other planets of the solar system. The relevance of this topic to the formation of the earth's atmosphere, and to the origins of life on earth are well brought out.

Brimblecombe has produced a book which will be very useful to students, and to persons unfamiliar with the atmospheric sciences. It contains a considerable amount of useful information, including typical concentrations, global fluxes, chemical reaction rates and the like. I detected only one problem, which occurs in a potentially very useful table of factors for the conversion of atmospheric units of concentration, excerpted from Junge's classic work. The user is instructed that c(g m-3) is equal to Fc(ppm). This can mean that a concentration c expressed in micrograms per cubic metre may be converted to parts per million by multiplying by the given factor F, which is incorrect for the way the conversion factors are given. The alternative, and correct, interpretation is that a concentration in micrograms per cubic metre can be obtained by multiplying the concentration in parts per million by the factor.
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Author:Brindle, I.D.; Gibson, M.S.
Publication:Canadian Chemical News
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 1989
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