Iowa state university of Science and Technology (ISU) is a public land-grant and space-grant university located in Ames, Iowa. Until 1959, it was known as Iowa State College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. ISU houses 8 different colleges, 54 different departments, and enrolls 20,440 undergraduate and 4,583 graduate students annually. The College of Liberal Arts combined with the College of Agriculture offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in Environmental, Geological and Atmospheric sciences.
The Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences has implemented an internet-based university course addressing issues of global environmental change. The course provides access to recent scientific literature and structured learning activities on a wide range of global environmental issues. An electronic dialog allows online discussion organized by topic. A web-based laboratory allows students to test hypotheses and conceptual models by accessing and running a research-quality model of soil-vegetation-atmosphere interactions. Each student has a personalized password-protected electronic portfolio for managing all interaction with the course and the laboratory. A global learning resource network has been established to facilitate multi-directional flow of information and ideas from many countries on global change issues.
The authors have compiled pertinent information in the form of summary information, images, and suggested readings. The topics are subdivided into three blocks. The first block, Climate and Agents of Global Change, sets the foundation for understanding global change through observations of global mean temperature and trends in carbon dioxide. The second block, Models and Measurements of Global Change, focuses on climate modeling, the limitations of models and what we can learn from them. Block three, The Biosphere and Human Component of Global Change, addresses the impact by humans through population, deforestation, and desertification. The course objectives are to demonstrate the interconnectedness of the earth's environmental system, and to explore the scientific evidence for changes in the global environment; instill in students the value of peer-reviewed literature on global-change issues; engage students, by means of the internet, in dialog among themselves, with outside experts, and with students from other countries on the scientific, economic, social, political, and ethical implications of these global changes.
For each of the assigned units, members of the group read and discuss online the material and references for that particular unit, and monitor the outline dialog. The group constructs a short document for the entire class that summarizes key points from the Summary Information and from the online dialog.
sEE ALso: Global Warming; Iowa; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
BIBLIoGRAPHY. Iowa State University, www.iastate.edu (cited October 2007); Michael A. Toman and Brent Sohngen, Climate Change (Ashgate Publishing, 2004).
CO2 emissions, 55 percent come from liquid fuels, 34 percent from gaseous fuels, and 7 percent from gas flaring. The low price of gasoline, along with the size and increasing prosperity of the country, has led to widespread use of private automobiles. As a result, there is considerable air pollution in Iran, with nearly 70 percent of it coming from fumes from vehicle exhausts. Also, few cars have catalytic converters, which allow for the worst pollutants to be removed before the fumes come through the exhaust. In recent years, the price of gasoline has risen, and this has helped reduce the increase in automobile use, but transportation still accounts for 24 percent of CO2 emissions, the same percentage as electricity. Residential uses account for 17 percent of emissions, and 21 percent of emissions come from manufacturing and construction.
Fernando Herrera University of California, San Diego
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