MIT1_018JF09_Term_Project

MIT1_018JF09_Term_Project - 1.018/7.30J Term Project on...

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------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ 1.018/7.30J Term Project on Geoengineering, Fall 2009 Research proposal describing a pilot project for assessing an Earth system-scale geoengineering technology I Term Project II Term Papers: Proposal III Resources, Additional Information, and Tips for Research & Writing IV Oral Presentations V Grading for Term Project I Term Project Overview: Over the semester, you will research, design, and propose an experiment to test the unintended consequences of a geoengineering topic of your choosing. Your work will culminate in two products. 1) You will write a 10-15 page research proposal. The proposal will be turned in and evaluated by the technical and communication staff in five stages (see II Term Paper: Proposal for the due dates of each stage and for a detailed description of the requirements for each section of the proposal). 2) You will also give a 5-minute presentation on your proposal at the end of the term (see IV Oral Presentation for details). Audience: Consider the audience for your proposal (paper and presentation) as a “board” that will decide whether to fund your project for assessing a particular geoengineering technology. As in “real life,” this board would consist of technical people (such as the course Profs, TAs, and your colleagues) as well as non-technical people (such as project managers, philanthropic funders, venture capitalists, etc.). Grading: The paper and presentation together make up your term project, which is 40% of your grade for the course (see V Grading for Term Project for details). Instruction: Instruction and help with your research, writing, content, experimental design, presentations, etc. will take place during regular course time and during Recitations (see Syllabus, particularly for library sessions and for CI topics). For extra help, become familiar early on with the variety of resources available to you (see III Resources ). Additional handouts will be distributed in class. What is Geoengineering? It is now widely accepted that in the last 200 years humans have fundamentally changed the way the Earth system functions. We have changed the composition of our atmosphere and our oceans, and have transformed the hydrology and biology of the terrestrial biosphere. These effects have not been by design but are the result of cumulative, scaled-up consequences of human population growth. Recently, proposals have emerged to reverse the undesirable dimensions of these trends through large- scale engineering approaches. Potential technologies proposed to mitigate global-scale anthropogenic effects range from plans to increase the reflectivity of clouds to fertilizing the oceans to draw down CO 2 from the atmosphere. Geoengineering is not remediation. It is not waste management, but precisely defining it can be difficult. Part of your challenge in this assignment is to define geoengineering in a robust way. The consensus is that geoengineering is deliberate and large-scale (ultimately planetary- 1
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MIT1_018JF09_Term_Project - 1.018/7.30J Term Project on...

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