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PHSI243 Environmental Physics

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Basic physical processes of the Sun, the atmosphere, the oceans and the Earth. The green-house effect and the role of energy processes. Opportunities for mitigation including new energy technologies.

The aim of this paper is to understand environmental processes by the application of quantitative methods and basic physical ideas. A key focus is on the atmosphere and global warming. Lectures, practical laboratory sessions, assignments and a research essay have been designed to develop analytical and critical-thinking skills through an examination of the peer-reviewed science about climate change.

Paper title Environmental Physics
Paper code PHSI243
Subject Physics
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 1 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

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One of PHSI 110, 131, 132, 191
Pre or Corequisite
MATH 160 or MATH 170
Schedule C

Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Annika Seppälä
Dr Inga Smith


Textbooks are not required for this paper.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
After completing this paper students will be able to:
  1. Use basic physical principles to understand environmental processes with emphasis on the atmosphere and climate change
  2. Sketch graphs and diagrams that illustrate fundamental physical phenomena
  3. Perform calculations of fundamental physical phenomena
  4. Communicate technical information clearly, both in written form and verbally
  5. Work cooperatively and productively in a team situation in a laboratory and tutorial setting
  6. Develop analytical and critical-thinking skills through an examination of the peer-reviewed science about climate change

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Semester 1

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-16, 18-22
Tuesday 11:00-11:50 9-13, 15-22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Wednesday 14:00-17:50 9-13, 15-22
A2 Thursday 14:00-17:50 9-13, 15-22
A3 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 10, 12, 16, 18, 20, 22


Stream Days Times Weeks
Attend one stream from
A1 Tuesday 14:00-14:50 11, 13, 15, 17, 19
A2 Wednesday 14:00-14:50 11, 13, 15, 17, 19
A3 Thursday 14:00-14:50 11, 13, 15, 17, 19