Environmental Science 1A03 Questions from end of lectures

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McMaster University
Environmental Science
Luc Bernier

Lecture 2Weather Climate and Earths Atmosphere The thermosphere has extremely high temperature but a person exposed to it would rapidly freeze Explain this apparent contradiction The gas molecules in the thermosphere are very spread out and so there is very little contact This means that heat is poorly conducted in that environmentThe difference between temperature and heat While it has a high temperature the air is so thin that it cannot transfer that heat into a body Not enough molecules to bump into even if each is very high energy the temperature So your body would radiate heat faster than the surrounding air could replace it and you freeze What climatechange processes might you expect to witness during your lifetime Which ones do you think take too long for you to experience We can experience seasons and also ElNino However we cannot experience global warming or an ice age in our lifetimeWe can witness droughts tornadoes hurricanes etc NO longterm changes such as global warming and ice age Lecture 3Atmospheric Pressure and Density Pressurized cans of shaving cream advise users not to expose the product to excessive heat What might happen if the advice is not followed Will this potential problem remain throughout the life of the product Once the cans are exposed to heat soon after purchase there will be a big explosion however soon after the pressure in the can will decrease and therefore the explosion will not be as dangerousP pRT It will exposed internal pressure increasing due to heat No leaksremain the same However if there is a leak over time there is a reduction in gas content and thus a higher applied pressure required for it to explode A standard pressure of 10132 mb is also known as 1 atmosphere ATM Look at the next figure and determine at approximately what levels you would record a pressure of 05 ATM and 01 ATM 05 ATM500 mb 01 ATM100 mb Lecture 4Global Energy Balance Would you expect both the Northern and Southern hemispheres to have the same average albedo What factors might cause the two hemispheres to reflect different percentages of insolation back to space No the Southern hemisphere has more water ocean and therefore less land On the other hand the Northern hemisphere has more landmore opportunity for snow in the wintermore albedo Which would have the greatest effect on the Earths greenhouse effect removing all of the CO2 from the atmosphere or all of the water vaporThere is more water vapor in the air however the CO has a higher greenhouse gas potential and the ability to trap and reflect more infrared 2radiation back Removing either would have quantity wise the same impactLecture 5Variations in Temperature An orchard farmer hears a weather forecast for overnight low temperatures to hover just above freezing point of 0 but with wind chill temperatures expected to drop significantly lower Will the wind chill increase the possibility of frost damage Why or why not There is a potential for the soil to lose its moisture and become more dried up however the plant does not have a nervous system and so does not sense the same feelings as we do Furthermore there is a layer of moisture surrounding the plantSuppose that the earths axis were tilted at 40 to the plane of the ecliptic instead of 235 How would the seasons change in Hamilton What would be the global effect of the change Summer would be more hotter and winters would be more colder Globally there would more differences in the hemispheres More tilt would mean more dramatic seasons in Hamilton The radiation balance between seasonal changes would be even greater Lecture 6Atmospheric Moisture How can froze clothes dry outside in subfreezing weather What is taking placeThe ice in the clothes sublimates solid into gas and turns into gas a very slow process that takes place Freezing clothes will still dry in subfreezing weather due to sublimation because the water is going from solid to gas A crowded classroom is filled with students In what way does the presence of the students affect the dew point and relative humidity in the room More people means a high temperature and more moisture The temperature increase leads to a higher Dew points and Relative humidity depends on moisture content so it would also increase
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