Course Syllabus


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Class Meeting Times: Tuesdays, Thursdays 8:30 am to 10:20 am. Fridays 8:30-9:20am.

Class Meeting Location: Atmospheric Sciences Geophysics (ATG) room 310.

Instructor: Professor Lyatt Jaeglé
Phone: (206) 685-2679
Office: Room 302 in ATG building

Teaching Assistant: Kelsey Larson

Office hours:

  • Tuesdays 10:20-11:30 am in ATG 302 (Jaeglé) or email to set up an appointment
  • Wednesdays 1-2 pm in ATG 402 (Larson) or email to set up an appointment

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 current (or potential) technological solutions and policy regulations.

The class will be divided in three parts:

  • Introduction to air pollution (weeks 1-3). We will define air pollution and present a brief history of current regional and global air pollution problems. We will discuss the factors controlling the natural composition of the atmosphere.
  • Local and regional pollution issues (weeks 4-6). In this part of the class we will discuss the sources and fate of pollutants focusing on specific local/regional air pollution issues: urban smog, aerosols and acid rain, visibility, and indoor air pollution. For each of these issues we will discuss the health and environmental effects, technological solutions, as well as current national and international regulations. 
  • Global scale pollution issues (weeks 7-10).  We will examine the causes and effects of two major global air pollution issues: stratospheric ozone depletion and climate change.  We will discuss projections of future air quality in the U.S. an around the world. Will the future be cleaner? What choices will we make? We will also discuss mercury pollution in the atmosphere and oceans.

The 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.

Student learning goals

  • Understand how emissions, transport, chemistry and deposition impact air pollution.
  • Explain the 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.

None. Open to all undergraduates.

Required textbook: “Air  Pollution and Global Warming” by Mark Z. Jacobson, Cambridge University Press, 2002.

Grading policy
Your grade will be based on exams (two midterms and one final exam), assignments, a research project, and class participation: 

    Assignments 25% 
    Exams (2) 40% 
    Comprehensive final exam 25% 
    Quizzes, class participation 10% 

You are expected to attend lectures and participate in class.  There will be no make-up exams except in extreme circumstances, in which case you must contact the instructors at least 24 hours in advance. All make up exams will be in the form of oral exams.  Assignments are due by the deadline, no late assignments will be accepted as the answers are published immediately after the deadline.

Homework assignments and practice problems solving sessions
We will have a group problem solving session in class each week.  Tentative dates are indicated in the schedule, but are subject to change depending on the pace of the class.  These problem sets will not be graded; however, some of the questions will be similar to exam questions.  It is strongly recommended that each student attend and participate as these sessions will provide valuable problem-solving practice for the exams.
Homework assignments will be in the form of multiple choice questions on Canvas.  Homework assignments are intended to guide your reading of the textbook and guide studying for exams.  Assignments are due by the deadline, no late assignments will be accepted as the answers are published immediately after the deadline.  If you forget to hit the submit button on Canvas, that means that your assignment will not be submitted.

Information for the optional “W” credit
This assignment is only required for students wishing to earn a “W” credit. Students taking ATMS 212 as a "W" course will be required to submit a 10-15 page (minimum of 2500 word) paper which they will have the opportunity to edit in response to suggestions from the instructor. Students will research the details of some aspect of air pollution.  This is an opportunity for you to explore something of particular interest to you in more detail than we may cover in class.  The instructor will suggest some topics.  Whatever topic you choose, you must check with the instructor to make sure the topic is appropriate and of reasonable scope.  You must discuss your topic with the instructor by Friday April 27.  Your grade on the project will be based on a written report, which will need to be revised once.  The first draft of your paper is due on Monday May 21 and the final draft is due on Friday June 1.  More information on how to earn a “W” credit can be found on the class web page "W credit".


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