The chemical and photochemical processes that occur in the atmosphere at different altitudes have profound and fundamental effects on life, and on the planet. This module examines atmospheric structure, circulation, processes and chemistry, inorganic and organic air pollutants and their health effects, and atmospheric evolution and change - culminating in today's "Anthropocene Atmosphere".
Aims and Objectives
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:
- Develop strategies for acquiring, collating, interpreting, evaluating and presenting complex technical information from cutting-edge research publications
- Critically assess the research and policy needs of a current topic in atmospheric sciences.
- Demonstrate a clear understanding of fundamental atmospheric processes and reactions in relation to air pollution and/or climatic change.
- Demonstrate a clear understanding of change in the atmosphere over various timescales, and the role of humans and society in modifying atmospheric composition.
The philosophy underlying this module is to empower students to take charge of their own learning in the area of atmospheric science and climate change. As a consequence the course will make extensive use of directed and peer-assisted self-learning methods, supported by tutorial and lecture sessions.
Lecture sessions will cover various aspects of atmospheric structure, processes and chemistry, inorganic air pollutants (particulates, smogs and acid rain), organic air pollutants and photochemical smogs, the ozone problem, evolution of the atmosphere and the Anthropocene atmospheric system, and health effects of atmospheric pollution.
Students will also research a current topic in atmospheric sciences in depth, and produce a presentation on current understanding of the topic, and a POSTnote assessing research and policy needs, which will form the focus of the module assessment, and will be supported by tutorial and other in-class sessions. Typical research topics (to be selected based on student individual background and topic interest within Natural Sciences and other courses) could include "Asbestos – from wonder material to killer", "Geoengineering the atmosphere – fact vs fantasy", "Global distillation of Hg and persistent organic pollutants", "Nanosolutions to pollution – smart materials for air clean-up", "The shipping forecast – impact of shipping on air pollution in port cities", and "Are electric vehicles the solution to air pollution?".
Learning and Teaching
Teaching and learning methods
The module will consist of a number of ‘traditional' lectures, which will be used to deliver some of the key background knowledge in areas such as basic chemical reactions, atmospheric structure, etc. These lectures will provide the framework for the students' self-learning activities, involving directed self-learning activities, tutorial discussions, an individual oral presentation and production of a POSTnote policy and research brief.
|Preparation for scheduled sessions||10|
|Practical classes and workshops||12|
|Wider reading or practice||30|
|Completion of assessment task||50|
|Total study time||150|
Resources & Reading list
A comprehensive resource pack is provided on Blackboard at the beginning of the course..
The performance of the students will be assessed through:
- an individual oral presentation
- written assignment (a POSTnote on research and policy needs for a specific current topic in the atmospheric sciences).
Students will be assessed for:
- overall understanding of the application of key concepts in atmospheric science
- understanding and critical analysis of the primary literature
- ability to apply knowledge and understanding to real-world contexts
This is how we’ll formally assess what you have learned in this module.
|Individual Oral Presentation||40%|
|Policy Brief or Critical Assessment||60%|
This is how we’ll assess you if you don’t meet the criteria to pass this module.
Repeat type: Internal & External