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PHYS6043 - Environmental Physics

Title:Environmental Physics
Long Title:Environmental Physics
Module Code:PHYS6043
Duration:1 Semester
Credits: 5
NFQ Level:Fundamental
Field of Study: Physics
Valid From: Semester 1 - 2019/20 ( September 2019 )
Module Delivered in 3 programme(s)
Module Coordinator: Donagh OMahony
Module Author: JOSH REYNOLDS
Module Description: This module introduces the student to key concepts of environmental physics. Particular emphasis is placed on applications and case studies. The topics are selected to complement a suite of modules on physics and sustainable technology.
Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this module the learner will be able to:
LO1 Describe and explain the concepts underlying selected topics in environmental physics.
LO2 Compile a case study on an environmental topic.
LO3 Apply mathematical techniques to assess quantitative data on selected environmental topics.
Pre-requisite learning
Module Recommendations

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is strongly recommended before enrolment in this module. You may enrol in this module if you have not acquired the recommended learning but you will have considerable difficulty in passing (i.e. achieving the learning outcomes of) the module. While the prior learning is expressed as named MTU module(s) it also allows for learning (in another module or modules) which is equivalent to the learning specified in the named module(s).

Incompatible Modules
These are modules which have learning outcomes that are too similar to the learning outcomes of this module. You may not earn additional credit for the same learning and therefore you may not enrol in this module if you have successfully completed any modules in the incompatible list.
No incompatible modules listed
Co-requisite Modules
No Co-requisite modules listed

This is prior learning (or a practical skill) that is mandatory before enrolment in this module is allowed. You may not enrol on this module if you have not acquired the learning specified in this section.

No requirements listed

Module Content & Assessment

Indicative Content
Meteorology and Climate Change
Energy transport, the atmosphere, vertical structure and motion, horizontal motion of air over the oceans, typical weather patterns over Ireland, temperature inversion and its link to pollution, natural vs. human induced climate changes, UV radiation, ozone depletion, the role of CO2, environmental spectroscopy.
Transport of Pollutants
Transport physics, diffusion and advection, dispersion in the air, chimney stack emissions, dispersion in surface waters , dispersion by groundwater, Darcy's equation, aquifers. Health effects arising from pollution exposure, steps which can be take to mitigate the effects from pollution. Case study e.g. Haulbowline, Bhopal disaster.
Noise Pollution
Physics of sound, human hearing, reducing sound levels, dBA, regulations, sound level meters. Case study e.g. aircraft and airport noise, use of sound baffles on motorways and at airports.
Nuclear Physics
Nuclear power, fission vs. fusion, nuclear waste issues, food irradiation, medical applications and devices, radiation and health, radon gas. Case study e.g. radon surveys in Ireland, Fukushima.
Assessment Breakdown%
Course Work100.00%
Course Work
Assessment Type Assessment Description Outcome addressed % of total Assessment Date
Short Answer Questions Examination on theory covered in lectures. 1,3 35.0 Week 7
Short Answer Questions Examination on theory covered in lectures. 1,3 35.0 Week 13
Written Report Case Studies. 2,3 30.0 Week 13
No End of Module Formal Examination
Reassessment Requirement
Repeat examination
Reassessment of this module will consist of a repeat examination. It is possible that there will also be a requirement to be reassessed in a coursework element.

The institute reserves the right to alter the nature and timings of assessment


Module Workload

Workload: Full Time
Workload Type Workload Description Hours Frequency Average Weekly Learner Workload
Lecture Course notes 4.0 Every Week 4.00
Independent Learning study lecture material and prepare case studies. 3.0 Every Week 3.00
Total Hours 7.00
Total Weekly Learner Workload 7.00
Total Weekly Contact Hours 4.00
This module has no Part Time workload.

Module Resources

Recommended Book Resources
  • Nigel Mason, Peter Hughes; with Randall McMullan,... [et al.]; with a foreword by Sir John Houghton 2014, Introduction to Environmental Physics: Planet Earth, Life and Climate, 1st Ed., 12, CRC Press [ISBN: 9781482273069]
  • Andy W. Brinkman, 2008, Physics Of The Environment, 11, World Scientific [ISBN: 978-1-84816-1]
  • Egbert Boeker, Rienk van Grondelle 2001, Environmental Science: Physical Principles and Applications, 11, Wiley [ISBN: 9780471495772]
This module does not have any article/paper resources
Other Resources

Module Delivered in

Programme Code Programme Semester Delivery
CR_SESST_8 Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Environmental Science and Sustainable Technology 4 Mandatory
CR_SPHYS_7 Bachelor of Science in Applied Physics and Instrumentation 4 Mandatory
CR_SPHYS_6 Higher Certificate in Science in Applied Physics and Instrumentation 4 Mandatory

Cork Institute of Technology
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Email: help@cit.edu.ie