What are two positive feedback loops operating in the Arctic that have an effect on climate change?
- Melting of sea ice, decreases albedo effect, more ice melts
- Melting of permafrost, releases co2, increases temperature, increases more co2
What is ‘’precautionary principle’’ in risk assessment? Name 1 advantage and 1 disadvantage
- It’s the idea of ‘’guilty before proven innocent’’ concept; so it assumes the substance is
hazardous or dangerous until it’s specifically proven to be harmless.
- Advantage: identifies dangerous toxicants BEFORE they are released
- Disadvantage: can slow down the pace of technological advance
What are two sources of biomass for biopower?
- Crop and wood
What is one advantage of nuclear power over coal-fired plants? What is one advantage that coal-fired
power plants have over nuclear power?
- 1) Nuclear power is much safer. 2) Coal-fired power plants are cheaper.
What are two specific environmental problems with conventional dams for hydro power?
- Habitat fragmentation/destruction and thermal pollution can kill fish
What is peak oil?
- Prediction that U.S. oil production will peak at one point of time.
What are two abatement/mitigation strategies that can be used to combat global climate change?
- (1) Reduction of emissions of carbon dioxide gases and (2) carbon tax
What is a source of internal radiative forcing? External radiative forcing?
- Internal radiative: GHGs. External radiative: solar energy
What are two reasons why some critical air contaminants have been declining over time?
- (1) Cleaner-burning vehicle and (2) Improve federal policies
What is thermal inversion? How does it contribute to air pollution?
- Thermal inversion: where a layer of cool air is trapped beneath warm air
- Normally, vertical mixing occurs where warm air rises, but now denser, cooler air is at the
bottom of the layer and it resists the mixing which can worsen air pollution. Where is the ozone ‘’hole’’ the greatest? How do CFCs contribute to the ozone hole?
- South Pole. CFCs deplete the ozone because a single chlorine atom can recycle to break down
many thousands of ozone molecules.
What is an atmospheric ‘’blind’’? How and where does O3 function as a blind?
- Atmospheric blind is where solar radiation is absorbed.
- The O3 functions as a blind because it strongly absorbs radiation in the shortest UV
One potential problem with exploration stage and refining/smelting stage.
- Exploration stage causes habitat disturbance. Smelting stage causes emission of smoke with bad
Give 2 reasons why global fish catches remain stable even though fisheries are in decline.
- (1) Improved technologies (2) we took far too much for population to recover.
What are the 2 characteristics of an El Nino event that are different from normal conditions?
- (1) Trade winds weaken and (2) Upwelling fails.
What are 2 specific environmental services performed by wetlands?
- (1) Filter pollutants and (2) recharge aquifers for drinking water!
Give 2 reasons why coral reefs are in worldwide decline
- (1) Eutrophication and (2) blast fishing
What is ‘’fishing down the food chain’’ and why does it cause a problem?
- Fishing down the food chain: as species become too rare to fish, smaller fish on lower trophic
levels are being targeted. We took the best out already, now we’re hunting for the smaller
- This completely destructs the food chain system and extinction can occur. If extinction of fish
occurs, humans would have to resort to other provisions for food.
Difference between open and closed system
- Open system: matter and energy can be exchanged across boundaries
- Closed system: energy can be exchanged across boundaries, but matter cannot. Difference between positive and negative feedback loops
- Positive: self-perpetuating. Output acts as input that drives system to one direction.
- Negative: self-limiting, Output acts as input that stabilizes or returns to initial point.
Difference between intensification and Extensification
- Intensification: increasing productivity without increasing land size.
- Extensification: increasing productivity by increasing usable land size.
Name 3 benefits and 3 drawbacks of Green Revolution
- 3 benefits: Increases yield, increases carrying capacity, improves technological knowledge
- 3 drawbacks: Over-irrigation can lead to salinization, use of fertilizers can create eutrophication,
use of pesticides can affect non-target organisms.
What are ‘’ecosystem services?’’ And provide 5 examples.
- Ecosystems provides goods and services to the society that is beneficial to human health.
- (1) Improve water quality
- (2) Carbon dioxide fixation
- (3) Herbal and medicinal
- (4) Recreational purposes
- (5) Pest control
What are the 4 types of waste?
- (1) E-Waste, (2) Nuclear Waste, (3) Military Waste, (4) Hazardous Waste
What are the type of toxins?
Neurotoxins: affects nervous system
Teratogens: causes birth defects
Carcinogens: causes cancer
Endocrine disruptors: disrupts the endocrine (hormone) system
Allergens: over-activate the immune system
What causes acid precipitation?
- Water vapor + sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere
What is the difference between Environmentalism and Environmental Science? - Environmentalism is a social movement that aims to protect the natural environment.
Environmental Science is a structured, scientific study of the interactions between humans and
physical & biological world.
What is the ‘’conflict’’ in terms of ecosystem standards?
- Finding the balance between technosphere (agricultural, manufacturing, technology) and
ecosphere (biosphere, lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere).
What is the difference between Accretion and Differentiation?
- Accretion is the build up of compositions by sticking together, differentiation is where the
densest material sinks to the middle and the least dense material floats to the surface.
What are 2 characteristics of Early Earth?
- Hot and oxygen-poor
Name a hypothesis on how life originated on the planet
- Chemoautotrophic Hypothesis: the hypothesis that life originated at deep-sea hydrothermal
How can we sequester carbon?
- By planting trees or plants, and by creation of limestones.
What’s the difference between Intrusive and Extrusive rock?
- Intrusive rock: below the surface, magma cools and crystallizes slowly.
- Extrusive: magma exerted from volcanoes cools and solidifies quickly on the surface.
Igneous rock: rock that is formed when magma is cooled and solidified
Sedimentary rock: formed on the surface environment, particles of rock transported by wind, water.
Metamorphic rock: rock that undergoes metamorphosis due to pressure and heat.
Name 2 examples of direct study and indirect study
- Direct study: surface rocks, lava.
- Indirect study: astronomical measurements, planet composition analysis
- naturally occurring solid inorganic compound with specific chemical composition and physical
properties. Ex: clay, asbestos or gold - Metal (shiny, opaque, good conductors of electricity) or non-metal
What are 3 types of mining?
- Sub-surface mining, solution mining, surface mining.
What happens when a sub-surface mine has been decommissioned?
- Acid drainage or damaged homes.
What impacts does mining have on water, land, human health?
- On water, there are possible toxic leakages from tailing ponds
- On land, there could be massive stripping of soil
- On human, there could be risks of lung disease and over-excessive exposure to radiation
Why do we drain wetlands? Name two reasons.
- For settlement and development (homes, buildings, roads) and for aquaculture purposes.
What’s so bad about dumping dilbits?
- Diluted bitumen is extremely toxic and difficult to clean up. It sinks in water and sticks to
What is upwelling and what does El Nino and La Nina have to do with it?
- Upwelling is where nutrient-rich, deep, cold water rises upwards where winds blow away from
or parallel to coastlines.
- Under normal conditions, upwelling brings cold water to the coast of South America, as trade
winds blow from high pressure to low pressure.
- El Nino is where weakening of trade winds occur, thus upwelling fails.
- La Nina is the strengthening of normal conditions, where strong trade winds occur, and
upwelling is successful.
Name the vertical view layers of the ocean
- Top to bottom: photic zone, pelagic zone, benthic zone.
Name the horizontal view of layers of the ocean.
- Littoral zone, Neritic zone.
What’s the difference between weather and climate?
- Weather is atmosphere condition over short-term and small areas. - Climate is patterns of average atmosphere conditions over long-term and large areas.
If we have low pressure zone; convergence at the surface, and divergence above.
If we have high pressure zone; convergence at the top, divergence at the surface.
What 3 factors enabled wind to move around?
- CPC: Convection, Pressure gradient force, Coriolis Force
- Convection: process of transferring heat, where warm air rises then cool air falls as precipitation
of snow or rainfall.
- Pressure gradient: wind always moves from high pressure to low pressure.
- Coriolis force: influences the direction of flow of moving air, a deflection of moving air occurs.
- Deflection to the right in the Northern Hemisphere. Deflection to the left in Southern
Around low-pressure regions, wind will circulate anti-clockwise (cyclonic). Around high-pressure regions,
wind will circulate clockwise (anti-cyclonic).
What are 2 approaches to modern hydropower?
- Impoundment approach and Run-of-River approach
- Impoundment approach is where large dams are created to store water in the reservoirs.
- Run-of-River approach is where water will be running through an intake pipe, used to run the
turbines, which generates electricity, and then the water is returned to the river or body of
What is EROI?
- Energy Return on Investment; which is the amount of energy needed to produce energy output.
How does fission and fusion differ?
- Fission is the separation of an atomic nuclei, into two fragments and leftover free neutrons. The
leftover free neutrons are used for energy.
- Fusion is the combining of two atomic nuclei under intense heat and pressure.
Where does nuclear power come from?
- Processed and enriched Uranium, generated from nuclear power plants through cycles and
specific processes. What are 2 benefits of nuclear power and 2 drawbacks?
- Benefits: clean and generally safer than coal mines
- Drawbacks: expensive and small risk for big accidents (uncontrollable chain reaction: nuclear
What’s the difference between biofuels and biopower?
- Biofuel is when biomass sources are converted into fuels to power vehicles.
- Biopower is when biomass sources are burnt to generate heat and electricity.
Name 1 benefit and 1 drawbacks of biomass energy
- Benefits: reduces air pollutants
- Drawbacks: fertilizer use
What’s the difference between passive and active solar energy?
- Passive solar energy is the building design; for example, putting tiles outside to absorb sunlight
in the day and at night, the tiles will release heat into the atmosphere.
- Active solar energy is actually implementing technology for the purpose of collecting solar
energy; for example, placing solar panels in front of the Davies building.
What are the two types of PV cells? (Photovoltaic cells that converts sunlight into electrical energy)
- P-type (poor in electrons), N-type (rich in electrons).
Name 2 benefits and 2 drawbacks of solar energy
- Benefits: inexhaustible and safe, clean, no emission of carbon dioxide gases
- Drawbacks: expensive and sunlight is not always even
What is wind energy used for?
- Pump water, irrigate crops, grind grain.
Name 2 benefits and 2 drawbacks of wind energy.
- Benefits: no emission of GHGs and wind is inexhaustible
- Drawbacks: death of flying organisms by accidentally flying into the propellers and expensive
What is the closed-cycle approach and open-cycle approach in terms of thermal energy?
- Closed-cycle approach: warm surface water evaporates chemicals that spins turbines
- Open-cycle approach: warm surface water is evaporated in a vacuum Describe the transformation of packaging from before and now
- Historically, cloth and wood are used for packaging. Now, during modern times, glass and plastic
are used, as well as other synthetic materials.