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Lecture 11

Lecture 11: Environmental Challenges

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Environmental Science
Nick Eyles

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 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) EESA06 Lecture 11 Page 3 Landfills – Pink = Garbage - Bathtub effect – will fill up with groundwater - Chloride isopleths – a contour of chloride content in ground - Leachate - Groundwater table with the dump – need to put in a liner to prevent it from moving out of the landfill - Liner to collect methane gas + leachate Areas of Concern in the Great Lakes – St.Lawrence River Basin - Where l
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