TEP4220 - Understanding and Quantifying Environmental Impacts on Ecosystems
The course addresses environmental impacts and their assessment. The course shall familiarize the students with different tools for quantifying these environmental impacts with a main focus on impact pathways damaging ecosystems. Methodologically, the stress is on Life Cycle Impact Assessment and its methods to assess impacts on ecosystems and human health. The following environmental impacts will be covered: Climate change, toxicity, acidification, eutrophication, particulate matter formation, land and water use. Novel developments within life cycle impact assessment will be discussed. The course will also introduce the student to related methods such as risk assessment and simple multimedia modeling.The spatial differentiation of impacts and the consideration of their uncertainty will be introduced.
The student will gain knowledge and understanding
- of the dominant problems for biodiversity and ecosystems
- in the definition of ecosystem services
- of the differences, strenghts and weaknesses of different impact assessment methodologies
- of a variety of LCIA impact categories (such as toxicity,
acidification, particulate matter emissions, eutrophication and
water use), including the background of the methodological development, the importance of spatial differentiation and uncertainties
At the end of the term, students should:
- Have gained an thorough overview of the major environmental stressors that are affecting ecosystems and biodiversity
- Be familiar with the principles for the development of life cycle impact assessment methodologies for ecosystems with all their strengths and weaknesses.
-Have the ability to set up and solve multimedia mass balance models (steady-state),
-Have the ability to define system boundaries for LCA applications and footprinting
-Have the ability to critically interpret outcomes of LCAs and perform simple LCA assessments
- Have gained knowledge about the background and execution of other assessment approaches (such as risk assessment).
- Be able to judge the limits of different tools such as LCA, risk assessment and footprinting
-Be able to judge the application possibilities of the above-mentioned tools
The main focus will be on impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity, but important impact categories for human health will be included as well.
Learning methods and activities
The course consists of lectures and discussions, as well as exercises. The course includes compulsory reading (mainly from the scientific literature). Lectures and exercises will be in English.
2/3 of the exercises/group work needs to be approved to be allowed to the exam.
The exam will be in English. Students are free to choose Norwegian or English for written assessments.
Further on evaluation
Portofolio assessment is the basis for the grade in the course. The portofolio includes a final written exam (70%) and written midterm exam (30%). The result for the parts are given in %-scores, while the entire portofolio is assigned a letter grade.
If there is a re-sit examination, the examination form may be changed from written to oral.
For at re-take of an examination, all assessments during the course must be re-taken, the mid-term exam has to be taken a second time as well.
Exercises do not need to be handed in a second time.
Exam registration requires that class registration is approved in the same semester. Compulsory activities from previous semester may be approved by the department.
Recommended previous knowledge
University-level mathematics, Life cycle assessment (LCA), e.g. through TEP4223.
Course material, consisting of reports and scientific literature will be posted via Its learning.
Examination arrangement: Portfolio assessment
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- * The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date.