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ATM S 212, Winter 2011
Air Pollution: From Urban Smog to the Ozone Hole

Instructor: Becky Alexander

Phone: (206) 543-0164                                                                                                                                        

Email: beckya@u.washington.edu (Only email me for personal reasons (e.g. illness).  Please use the message board for questions about course material.)
Office: Room 306 in ATG building
Office hours: Tuesday 3:30-4:30 or by appointment

Class Meeting Times: Daily (M-F) 12:30-1:20 pm.

Class Meeting Locations: Johnson Hall Room 111


The presentation schedule for the week of March 7 is posted here (scroll down to the bottom of the page).

Final project papers and posters are due on Monday, March 7.

Extra credit opportunity: Attend one of the seminars on "Geoengineering: Science, Policy, Ethics" and write a one page (single-spaced) summary of what you learned.  You can earn up to 100 points (10% of your grade) by going to 5 seminars (20 points, or 2% of your grade for each seminar).  Info can be found here

Reading and homework assignments

Reading assignment for Week 9: Ch. 12 (p. 365-397)

Reading assignment for Week 8: Ch. 11 (p. 320-342, 349-359)

Reading assignment for Week 7: Ch. 13 (p. 437-451), plus health risks of diesel exhaust and PM (for Thursday guest lecture)

Reading assignment for Week 6: Ch. 13 (p. 407-437)

Important dates

In class exams: Fridays Jan. 14, Jan. 28, Feb. 11, and Mar. 4.

Final project papers and posters are due on Monday, March 7.

"W" papers (if you are taking this class as a "W" class): First draft is due on Friday, March 4; final draft due on Friday, March 11.

There is no class on Monday, Jan. 17 (MLK day) or Monday, Feb. 21 (President's day).

Course Description

This course is an introduction to air pollution on local, regional and global scales. We will focus on the sources, transformation, and dispersion of pollutants responsible for urban smog, acid rain, climate change and the stratospheric ozone hole. We will examine the health and environmental effects of air pollutants, as well as technological solutions and policy regulations. The class will be divided into three parts:

1. Introduction to air pollution (Weeks 1-2).

2. Local and regional pollution issues (Weeks 3-7).

3. Global scale pollution issues (Weeks 8-10).

This course is intended for non-science, liberal arts majors and fulfills 5 credits of the Natural World (NW) distribution requirement. The course is also designated as a "W" course. This course has no prerequisites and is open to all undergraduates.

Download Syllabus


Required textbook
"Earth Under Siege" by Richard P. Turco, Oxford University Press 2002


Student learning goals

  • Understand what factors determine air pollution levels in a given area
  • Explain the basic chemical and physical mechanisms behind ozone depletion, air pollution and acid rain
  • Develop skills to critically evaluate discussions of air pollution and climate change based on scientific evidence and organized knowledge