Chemistry of the Environment / Edition 1

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"I very much congratulate the authors. This is by far the best environmental chemistry text that I have read." —Professor John Perona, University of California at Santa Barbara

"The authors provide clear and concise explanations and do a good job of integrating calculations throughout the book. This book is useful both for students learning to apply chemical concepts to understand the environment and for instructors seeking a distinct perspective and important data on the environment." —Professor Keith Kuwata, Macalester College

"No other text in environmental chemistry so nicely balances breadth, depth and readability." —Professor A.D. Anbar, Arizona State University

Chemistry of the Environment, 3rd Edition, is a concise, clear and current account of today's environmental issues and the science one needs to understand them. This intermediate-level text, which recommends General Chemistry as a prerequisite, systematically lays out themes of sustainability, atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere and biospheres, while stressing the interconnectedness of environmental problems and solutions. The completely revised third edition explains the natural chemical cycles, and how humans affect them. It also analyzes strategies for ameliorating human impacts. This stimulating new text uses concise, straightforward language and an accessible narrative style to inform quantitative thinking.

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Editorial Reviews

From The Critics
New edition of a text that tells the environmental story in chemical language, addressing the flows of chemicals and energy through nature and the industrial civilization of our time. The five chapters cover topics such as energy flows, supplies, fossil fuel, nuclear and renewable energy, and energy utilization; the greenhouse effect; climate modeling; chemistry of the ozone layer; air pollution; redox potential and water pollution; toxic chemicals; and acid rain. Suitable for a one or two term course for students who have taken or are taking general chemistry. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
A user-friendly treatment of environmental chemistry for students who have taken general chemistry, combining coverage of chemical principles with environmental issues. Sections on energy; the atmosphere; the hydrosphere; and the biosphere contain summaries and problem sets, and discuss subjects such as nuclear energy, oxygen chemistry, and toxic chemicals. Includes explanatory appendices on units of energy; exponential growth and decay; and redox reactions. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780024152619
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall Professional Technical Reference
  • Publication date: 3/19/1996
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 356
  • Product dimensions: 7.20 (w) x 9.58 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Thomas G. Spiro is Professor of Chemistry at the University of Washington. He received the B. S. from UCLA and the Ph.D. from MIT, and did postdoctoral work in Copenhagen. He joined the faculty of Princeton University in 1963, and served as chair of the chemistry department from 1980 to 1989, relocating to the University of Washington in 2007. He is the recipient of the ICPP Eraldo Antonini Lifetime Achievment Award (2010), the ACS Award for Distinguished Service in the Advancement of Inorganic Chemistry (2004), Biophysical Society Founders Award (2004), the Wellcome Visiting Professorship in the Basic Medical Sciences, at the University of British Columbia (1999) in1999, and the Bomem-Michelson Award in Molecular Spectroscopy (1986).

Kathleen Purvis-Roberts is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the Joint Science Department of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges. She earned her B.S. from Westmont College and her Ph.D. from Princeton University, where she worked with Steven Bernasek. From there, she did her postdoctoral work at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado. She joined the faculty of Claremont McKenna, Pitzer, and Scripps Colleges in 2001.

William M. Stigliani is Professor of Chemistry, and develops curricula and teaches sustainability courses at the University of Northern Iowa.

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Table of Contents

Pt. I Energy 1
Ch. 1 Energy Flows and Supplies 3
Ch. 2 Fossil Fuels 19
Ch. 3 Nuclear Energy 44
Ch. 4 Renewable Energy 74
Ch. 5 Energy Utilization 98
Pt. II Atmosphere 143
Ch. 6 Climate 145
Ch. 7 Oxygen Chemistry 180
Ch. 8 Stratospheric Ozone 194
Ch. 9 Air Pollution 216
Pt. III Hydrosphere/Lithosphere 251
Ch. 10 Water Resources 253
Ch. 11 From Clouds to Runoff: Water as Solvent 266
Ch. 12 Water and the Lithosphere 282
Ch. 13 Oxygen and Life 307
Ch. 14 Water Pollution and Water Treatment 333
Pt. IV Biosphere 355
Ch. 15 Nitrogen and Food Production 357
Ch. 16 Pest Control 382
Ch. 17 Toxic Chemicals 407
App Organic Structures 461
Index 471
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This book is about environmental issues and the chemistry behind them. It is not a methods book, nor is it a catalog of pollutants and remediation options. It aims to deepen knowledge of chemistry and of the environment and to show the power of chemistry as a tool to help us comprehend the changing world around us.

In the six years since the first edition of Chemistry of the Environment was published, the frontiers of environmental science have advanced rapidly, and the debates on environmental issues have shifted ground. In this new edition, we have updated the various strands of our environmental story by integrating new facts and figures in the text, tables, and diagrams. Recognizing that no book on environmental themes can stay current for long, we plan to post further updates on our website. Some of the new material e.g., ocean chemistry and the inorganic carbon cycle (pp. 284-288), or the evolution of the oxygen atmosphere (pp. 316-319) might have been included earlier, but some topics had not surfaced six years ago. These include genetically modified crops (pp. 401-406), carbon sequestration as a strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (pp. 423, 288), and contamination of drinking water by the gasoline additive MTBE (pp. 260, 271, 344).

Chemistry of the Environment can be used in a one- or two-term environmental chemistry course. The instructor in a one-term course will want to pick a limited set of the book's topics for special emphasis; in a two-term course there would be time to address other topics and to explore the underlying chemical principles in more detail. The new edition is also suitable for basic environmental sciencecourses. Readers will find that the biggest change from the first edition is improved accessibility through reorganization and expansion of the basic chemistry. We have separated background material relevant to the understanding of the topic under discussion into boxes marked Fundamentals. We have also added additional basic material, to help those readers without exposure to college chemistry, and to refresh the memories of those who have had such exposure. In addition, we have included worked problems in other boxes, and have added more end-of-chapter problems. A periodic table is now included, as is an Appendix that gives a brief introduction to organic chemical structures. Some of the Fundamentals boxes contain non-chemical background information e.g., how to relate reservoirs and flows in environmental chemical cycles, p. 285-286.

In addition, we have separated the more advanced or specialized technical information into other boxes called Strategies, which readers can read or skip at their discretion. In this way, the environmental story line is unimpeded by background or technical information. We hope that these changes will make the book easier to read, and also more useful as a textbook.

We are indebted to a number of colleagues for reviewing parts of the manuscript, and/or providing new material: Drs. Michael Bender, Andrew Bocarsly, Harold Feiveson, Robert Goldston, Peter Jaffe, Hiram Levy, Francois Morel, Steve Pacala, Lynn Russel, Jorge Sarmiento, Daniel Sigman, Robert Socolow, Valerie Thomas (all from Princeton University); Trace Jordan (New York University); Bibudhendra Sarkar (University of Toronto); David Walker (University of British Columbia); and Chris Weber (student assistant, University of Iowa). Helen Spiro provided encouragement throughout the writing, and key editorial advice. Thanks also to Marie Stigliani—her companionship on bicycle trails along the Cedar River provided balance to long days at the office.


Instructor's Solutions Manual—(0-13-017843-8) Contains the full solution to all end-of-chapter problems and is available to instructors upon adoption.

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