Preface to the First Edition

During the 1980s and 1990s environmental issues have attracted a great deal of scientific, political and media attention. Global and regional-scale issues have received much attention, for example, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions linked with global warming, and the depletion of stratospheric ozone by chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Local issues, however, have been treated no less seriously, because their effects are more obvious and immediate. The contamination of water supplies by landfill leachate and the build up of radon gas in domestic dwellings are no longer the property of a few idiosyncratic specialists but the concern of a wide spectrum of the population. It is noteworthy that many of these issues involve understanding chemical reactions and this makes environmental chemistry a particularly important and topical discipline.

We decided the time was right for a new elementary text on environmental chemistry, mainly for students and other readers with little or no previous chemical background. Our aim has been to introduce some of the fundamental chemical principles which are used in studies of environmental chemistry and to illustrate how these apply in various cases, ranging from the global to the local scale. We see no clear boundary between the environmental chemistry of human issues (CO2 emissions, CFCs, etc.) and the environmental geochemistry of the Earth. A strong theme of this book is the importance of understanding how natural geochemical processes operate and have operated over a variety of timescales. Such an understanding provides baseline information against which the effects of human perturbations of chemical processes can be quantified. We have not attempted to be exhaustive in our coverage but have chosen themes which highlight underlying chemical principles.

We have some experience of teaching environmental chemistry to both chemists and non-chemists through our first-year course in Environmental

Chemistry, part of our undergraduate degree in Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia. For 14 years we used the text by R.W. Raiswell, P. Brimblecombe, D.L. Dent and P.S. Liss, Environmental Chemistry, an earlier University of East Anglia collaborative effort published by Edward Arnold in 1980. The book has served well but is now dated, in part because of the many recent exciting discoveries in environmental chemistry and also partly because the emphasis of the subject has swung toward human concerns and timescales. We have, however, styled parts of the new book on its 'older cousin', particularly where the previous book worked well for our students.

In places the coverage of the present book goes beyond our first-year course and leads on towards honours-year courses. We hope that the material covered will be suitable for other introductory university and college courses in environmental science, earth sciences and geography. It may also be suitable for some courses in life and chemical sciences.

Julian Andrews, Peter Brimblecombe, Tim Jickells and Peter Liss University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

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