Department:Lancaster Environment Centre
Level:Postgraduate (Masters level)
Course Convenor:Professor WJ Davies
back to top
Curriculum Design: Outline Syllabusback to top
Week 1 Climate change: science and politics
In this combination of an introductory lectures and workshops, you will have the opportunity to assess data on global warming and its effects on matters of day to day concern. We will also assess treatment of this topic by politicians and the media. The course work assessment will also be introduced this week.
Climate change effects on human health: impacts, adaptation and mitigation
Week 2 Air pollutants: plants as our garbage chutes.
Atmospheric deposition processes of gaseous pollutants and mediation of their uptake into leaves by plants
Week 3 Tropospheric air pollutants and effects on biological systems
These lectures will consider air pollutants in the lower atmosphere (troposphere), notably ozone pollution. Tropospheric ozone remains a major element of local and regional pollution, reducing air quality with wide-ranging ecological consequences.
Week 4 Interacting effects of ozone and other abiotic stresses
a) Plants. These lectures will deal with the interacting effects of different stresses within a changing climate. Impacts of these effects on global food security will be the focus of this section of the course. A case study on the Indo-Gangetic plain will illustrate how both science and social science are needed to help ameliorate the effects of climate on food supply for the region
b) Human Health. Effects of major air pollutants and particulate matter on cardiovascular disease, respiratory problems, skin effects, cancer and artherosclerosis.
Week 5 Acidifying pollutants: it's crystal clear, isn't it? Effects of acidifying pollutants on vegetation and ecosystems
Educational Aims: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
The biological impacts of gaseous air pollutants and other aspects of global environmental change will be discussed, the principal focus being on ecosystems, forests and crops. A certain amount of background information on atmospheric chemistry and deposition processes will be provided to support the understanding of pollutant uptake by organisms, which precedes most physiological effects on biota. Selected effects of exposure to air pollution, elevated UV-B levels and climate change at the biochemical, physiological, organismal and ecosystem level will be considered in detail. The subsequent assignment will provide experience of providing a comprehensible written expression of the scientific complexities surrounding an issue of significant public concern.
You will acquire some understanding of several aspects of the history of anthropogenic air pollution, and of current issues concerning damage to biological systems. There will be an opportunity to try to explain to non-scientists the extent of, and the limitations to, our current understanding of these issues.
Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific: Knowledge, Understanding and Skillsback to top
You will obtain a balanced knowledge of the current state of knowledge concerning key elements of global change and the ability to critically assess the data and less formal information relating to the subject. You will gain experience of preparing concise reports that present complex information in a style accessible to a non-specialist audience.
Assessment: Details of Assessmentback to top
Assessment: CWA 50% Exam 50%
Details of CWA. There will be one piece of course work, in which a topic of the student's choice will be presented in the style of a concise briefing document. A balance is required between effective use of the primary literature and communication in an accessible style, and obtaining this balance forms part of the learning process.
Curriculum Design: Select Bibliographyback to top
Recommended learning resources. For the most part reference will be made to the primary literature and, in some cases, published reviews. All sources will be provided in lectures and materials will be available online or as hard-copies.