Assignment 10

Submitted by Karena A. McKinney (inactive) on Wednesday, 5/5/2010, at 9:20 PM

For Friday, Apr. 30: Please read "The Darkening Sea", by E. Kolbert, posted in E-reserves. From the linked page, click on "Read the full text of this article in the digital edition" to access the full article.

For Monday, May 3: Please read "Arsenic Crisis in Bangladesh," by A. Mushtaque and R. Chowdhury, and "Bangladesh mass poisoning mystery solved," by F. Pearce, both posted in E-Reserves.

For Wednesday, May 5: Please read "How Green are Green Plastics?" by T. Gerngross and S. Slater, posted in E-reserves.

For Friday, May 7: The two articles by D. Biello posted in E-reserves, "What Is Geoengineering and Why Is It Considered a Climate Change Solution?" and "Grappling with the Anthropocene: Scientists Identify Safe Limits for Human Impacts on Planet" are strongly recommended.

Assignment 9

Submitted by Karena A. McKinney (inactive) on Thursday, 4/22/2010, at 3:38 PM

The article mentioned in class on Monday on energy use in China, "China's Energy Paradox," is posted in E-reserves. It is recommended only, and there is no due date, so it is posted at the top of the list. 

For Monday, Apr. 19: Please review the article from earlier this semester, "The Case of the Missing Carbon," by Tim Appenzeller, in the E-reserves section for our discussion with Prof. Wofsy on Monday. Please bring with you to our afternoon discussion 2 to 3 questions for Prof. Wofsy.

Also, from your textbook, please read Chapter 8, Intro thru Section 8.4 (pp. 356 - 376) and the part of Section 8.6 on "Odd Electron Molecules" (pp. 385 bottom - 388 top).

Project plans are due in class on Monday.

For Wednesday, Apr. 21: Please read Sections 10.2 (pp. 472 - 476) and 10.5 (pp. 481 - 482 only) in your textbook. 

For Monday, Apr. 26: Please read Section 10.3 in the textbook and complete the following problems: Chapter 8, #8.32, 36, 38, 42, 54, 56, 72, 100, 102, Chapter 10, #10.24, 40, 55, 63.

Assignment 8

Submitted by Karena A. McKinney (inactive) on Wednesday, 4/14/2010, at 4:05 PM

We have spent the last few weeks learning about the composition and chemistry of the atmosphere. In the process, we have also learned about the complex interrelationships between different environmental threats, such as ozone loss and the greenhouse effect, and between the atmosphere and other components of the Earth system. This week, we will further explore this theme by investigating the causes of smog, which also have implications for everything from water and soil chemistry to decreasing biodiversity and global warming.

For Friday, Apr. 9: Please read the following two short articles, posted in E-reserves: Pearce, "Dark Future," and "Where is America's smog coming from?." Also posted is the scientific article from Nature on which the second of these  is based, "Increasing springtime ozone mixing ratios in the free troposphere over western North America." Please read the abstract of the Nature article, and look at the color figures included in the main body. Of course, you are welcome to read the entire paper if you wish. 

For Monday, Apr. 12: We will finish discussing the articles from Friday on smog production, and begin investigating the global nitrogen cycle more generally. Please read Townsend and Howarth, "Fixing the Global Nitrogen Problem," in E-reserves.

For Wednesday, Apr. 14: The problem posted below will be due in class. Please try to start on it before discussion on Monday so that if you have any questions we can discuss them then.

For Friday, Apr. 16: Please read pp. 282 - 283 in your textbook, "Nitrogen: Feeding Plants and Inflating Air Bags."

Assignment 7

Submitted by Karena A. McKinney (inactive) on Friday, 4/2/2010, at 3:15 PM

For Wednesday, Mar. 31: Your summary of the ozone hole activity from Monday is due in class.

For Friday, Apr. 2: We will spend some time talking about the final project. For these projects, you will research a campus, community-based, or global-scale environmental problem for which you will collect data, develop hypotheses, design experiments, and develop recommendations. Topics will be chosen by you after discussion with me. Some ideas for projects might be to assess the campus greenhouse gas inventory or determine the impact of air pollution generated by commuters to campus. Once a topic is chosen, each group will submit a project plan and meet with me to discuss it. After conducting the research, each group will write a final report and make a short presentation of their findings to the rest of the class. For Friday's class, begin to think about some ideas for projects you might be interested in working on.

No new reading for Friday. We will finish our discussion of the ozone hole.

For Monday, Apr. 5: Please read Pain, “The Man Who Discovered Greenhouse Gases,” Hansen, “Defusing the Global Warming Time Bomb,” and Brahic, “Flat-Screen TVs Turn Up the Heat on Climate,” posted in E-reserves (two of these are quite short).

Say you were the manufacturer of a newly developed gas with industrial applications. Little is known about this gas. In a 1-2 pages, discuss the information that you would need to know about this compound in order to determine whether it would contribute significantly to the greenhouse effect. How would you go about determining its effects? What determines whether a gas should be regulated under the Kyoto protocol or a similar framework?

Assignment 6

Submitted by Karena A. McKinney (inactive) on Saturday, 3/20/2010, at 4:04 PM

The atmosphere is a sensitive indicator of human perturbations to the environment. In the last 30 years, global environmental catastrophes such as the ozone hole, smog, and global warming have affected our ability to live in and breathe the air around us. To understand the atmosphere and changes to it, we first investigate the properties of gases. We have already discussed changes in atmospheric composition due to increases in man-made emissions of species such as greenhouse gases. It is also possible, however, to change the composition of the atmosphere by changing its chemistry. We will next investigate the nature of these changes and how they lead to such problems as the ozone hole and smog.

For Monday, Mar. 22: Begin reading the articles assigned for Wednesday. Review Sections 6.3 - 6.6 (pp. 246 - 270) in your textbook and begin the problems assigned for Wednesday. We will review similar problems in discussion on Monday. Examples can include Chapter 6, #6.3, 6.5, 6.13, 6.31, 6.35, 6.40, 6.44, 6.46, 6.59, 6.69, 6.79, 6.83, 6.85, 6.89, 6.94, 6.96, 6.99, 6.103, 6.107. It will be helpful if you have looked over these problems and identified the ones you have difficulty solving.

For Wednesday, Mar. 24: Please read Morell, “Ahead in the Clouds,” and Grossman, “Laughing Gas is Biggest Threat to Ozone Layer,” both posted in E-reserves.

Complete the following problems from your textbook: Chapter 6, #6.4, 6.12, 6.32, 6.36, 6.43, 6.60, 6.70, 6.80, 6.88, 6.90, 6.100, 6.104, 6.108.

For Friday, Mar. 1: There will be no class held on Friday because I have a schedule conflict.