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In Class Lecture Notes

Environmental Science
Course Code
Carl Mitchell

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Eutrophication: the process of nutrient over-enrichment, blooms of algae (consuming
bacteria and .’. needs lots of oxygen - leaving none for fish), increased population of
organic matter, and ecosystem degradation
Æ Red Tide
- harmful (toxic) algae phytoplankton
- micro algae (din flagellates and diatoms) can release toxic substances
- Harmful algae bloom (HAB)
- natural, but can be triggered by nutrient pollution
- leads to fish/shellfish poisoning or toxin accumulation - passed to humans
Phosphorus cycle
- in lithosphere - mined and brought out to atmosphere
- key component of cell membranes, DNA, ATP (energy)
- limiting nutrient for autotroph growth
- restricted to lithosphere/hydrosphere
- chemical cycling driven by: solubilization, precipitation, assimilation, decomposition
Æ human alteration
- mining of phosphorus-bearing rocks for fertilizer production
- wastewater, sewage discharge
- eutrophication via over-fertilization (mainly freshwater)
- use of phosphate detergents
-- mercury cycle operates interpersonally - remove mercury from lithosphere Æ burned
along with fossil fuels Æ put it in atmosphere
- similar to water (liquid, solid - in rocks, fossil fuels, gas - breathing mercury vapour is
extremely dangerous)
- can remain in atmosphere for more than a year
- biggest exposure to the environment Æ diet
Basics of energy and climate
- warm Æ more energy than cold substance
- warm Æ becomes cooler, energy is leaving
- steady-state Earth - incoming = outgoing
Æ warm up or cool down if not steady
- Earths climate is all about energy fluxes and the balance between incoming/outgoing
- energy cannot be created or destroyed - simply transferred
- closed to matter, open to energy
- INcoming SOLar radIATION Æ insolation (shortwave radiation)
Æ ultraviolet light (UV), visible light, near-infrared wavelengths
- drives most processes on Earth
- insolation & Earths tilt and rotation produce daily/seasonal/annual patterns of day
- tilted at 23.5 degrees
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