The first version of this book was published in the Hungarian language in 1977. The aim of that edition was to make the elements of air chemistry known to meteorologists, biologists, geochemists and chemists. Until the publication of this book, air chemistry was practically unknown by the Hungarian scientific community except for a very limited group of people. The writer thus wished to summarize its main results and problems in a short and coherent way for those scientists and students who are not familiar with this branch of atmospheric science.

It was a pleasant surprise for the author when the Publishing House of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest and Elsevier Scientific Publishing Company in Amsterdam decided to publish this book jointly in English. Like the original Hungarian version the present English publication is recommended to those readers who wish to become acquainted relatively easily and quickly from one book with the basic results and concepts on the atmospheric part of the biogeochemical cycle of different constituents. The purpose is thus to summarize, without details, our present knowledge of the concentration, sources and sinks of atmospheric gases and aerosol particles, as well as their physical and chemical transformation in the lower atmosphere (troposphere and stratosphere). Since the chemical composition of the Earth's atmosphere is discussed in relation to atmospheric equilibrium and climate, the content of the book is closely related to environmental sciences.

Since the preparation of the Hungarian manuscript was finished (beginning of 1975), new, important results have been published in the literature on various problems of air chemistry. For this reason many parts of the original text have been rewritten and enlarged to some extent. Taking into account the great number of publications in this rapidly growing field, the author had to make some selection in the themes and references. Such a selection is strongly subjective. It is hoped, however, that the author's aim to compile the basic elements of air chemistry in a compact way has at least been achieved to a satisfactory degree.

The English version was reviewed and corrected by Dr. J. P. Lodge (Boulder, Colorado, U.S.A.) who helped the writer to update the manuscript; his kind and invaluable help is gratefully acknowledged. The author is also indebted to Mrs. M. Antal and Mrs. A. Szep (both from Institute for Atmospheric Physics, Budapest, Hungary) who typed the text and prepared the figures, respectively.

E. Meszaros

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