EESA06H3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Permafrost, Urban Sprawl, Walkerton, Ontario

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21 Apr 2012
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EESA06 Lecture 11 Page 1
EESA06 Lecture 11
Environmental Challenges:
- Urban sprawl need for concrete
- Urban shadow
- Managing/protecting water resources
- Watersheds and ecosystems (rivers are
hardened only flows straight, more flashy,
less groundwater, more flooding
- Wastes (nuclear, municipal, industrial etc)
landfills “out of sight out of mind”
- Remediation of contaminated sites clean them up, ground fill sites use horse manure
- Radon gas Uranium to lead, invisible = lung cancer etc. from granite and shales
- Hazards: earthquakes, landslides & tsunamis
- Mitigation of climate warming effects 1998 was the warmest year, cooling in the future?
- Environmental impact of resource extraction and energy supplies coal/gold mining, quarrying,
Alberta oil sands
- Environmental policy and planning
… We need environmental geoscientists
Scope of Environmental Geo sciences protecting humans from natural hazards
- Understanding earth processes
- Providing resource security iron, coal, gold etc.
- Helping society adjust to global change the way in which the planet is evolving naturally
- Providing reliable information for planning and environmental decision making -
- Protection from natural hazards
- Public health and safety Radon, Medical geology
High Costs of US & China & Japan = as urban areas get
bigger, more susceptible to hazards
- Population in cities =
Welcome to the Anthropocene: “the Epoch of Man”
1947 & 1962 Scarborough bluffs
- Rapid harming, replacing permeable surfaces with
hard asphalt -
- Began with the invention of the steam engine
- Beginning of industrial revolution, demand for
resources, move of people to urban areas,
urbanization
Blue = surface flow = Runoff
Red = base flow = ground water
Hydro water graph
- Measure the rising and falling of stream flow
- Less water to dilute contaminants, warmer
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EESA06 Lecture 11 Page 2
Steeles Avenue August 2005
- Micro burst hard watershed more surface run
Severe and Unusual Weather
- Saguenay Flood 1996 trees intercept a lot of rainfall
- The ice storm 1998
- Climate Warming Temperature Departures from Normal 1998
- middle of Canada = hottest and coldest
- Permafrost ground that remains frozen throughout the year
- Depth of the active layer (melted) is decreasing with time = subsidence, land actually goes down,
airports, big buildings settle
- Mackenzie valley has a lot of gas, building of pipelines over ground that is now thawing
-
Thaw Ponds: Probably formed during hypsithermal c.5000 years ago - hypsi (the warmest time)
- Where permafrost has melted
- 5000 years ago warm event caused by astronomical variables
- Tuktoyaktuk, whole area is subsiding in 50years whole area won’t be there
Mackenzie gas pipline
- A proposed 1220-kilometer natural gas pipeline system along the Mackenzie Valley
- Will cross large areas of permafrost
Trans-Alaska Pipeline
Watersheds under pressure
- Southern Alberta has heavies use of surface water =
needs a lot of water to extract oil out of oil sands
- Crops and irrigation
- Southern Ontario = second highest heavy usage
Farm Wastes: Walkerton, Ontario
- Municipal well - pulled groundwater out like a straw
- Cone of depression pull stuff into the well
- Farms in the area, rain move a lot of manure, and got
into the intake area of the well
- Prohibit certain industries in areas that depend on
groundwater (ex: agriculture, gas stations)
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