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GEOG 1200
Lorne Bennett

Lorne Bennett Human Impact on the Environment Chapter 6 1) The hydrological cycle and links with the Earth’s life support system The hydraulic cycle is a great flow system characterized by exchanges of water among the five major reservoirs. It is the means of supplying water to the land masses and exchanging the salt water of the oceans for freshwater. What allows for the cycle to flow is the movement of the cycle is a result of surface heat driven by earth’s absorption of solar radiation. The major links to the earth’s life support system are, water reservoir (Oceans, icecaps, glacier), ground water (Aquifer) and surface water (Wetlands, lakes and ponds) 2) The supply or distribution of water on Earth - 97.4% oceans -2.594% glaciers, ice caps -0.003% Freshwater sources (groundwater, lakes, ponds) 3) Terms such as groundwater mining versus safe aquifer yield, aquifer (unconfined and confined), porosity, permeability, inflows (recharge) and outflows (discharge), salt water intrusion Groundwater: The mass gravity water that occupies the subsoil and upper bedrock zone; the water occupies the subsoil and upper bedrock zone; the water occupying the based zone of saturation below the soil- water zone. Mining: the act of extracting ores or coal etc from the earth Safe aquifer yield: The rate at which water can be pumped from an aquifer without significant decline in the aquifer Aquifer (Confined) andAquifer (Unconfined): Any subsurface material that’s holds a relatively large quantity of usable groundwater and is able to transmit that water readily. Porosity: The total volume of pore (void) space in a given volume of rock or soil; expressed as the percentage of void volume to the total volume of the soil or rock sample. Permeability: is a measure of the ability of a porous material (often, a rock or unconsolidated material) to transmit fluids. Inflows: In hydrology, the inflow of a body of water is the source of the water in the body of water. It can also refer to the average volume of incoming water in unit time. It is contrasted with outflow. Outflows: The outward flow of air from a weather system. From a thunderstorm, it is the result of cold downdrafts, and its passage includes a wind shift and temperature drop Discharge: the rate of water flow in a stream channel; measured as the volume of the water passing through a cross-section of a stream per unit of time, commonly expressed as cubic feet (or meters) per second.Also applies to groundwater Salt water intrusion: The invasion of saltwater into fresh groundwater because of over pumping of the fresh groundwater; a problem in coastal areas. 4) Issues associate with the spatial (local to global) and temporal (short-term to long-term) distribution of water There are three main distributions: 1- Spatial distribution (local and global) – surplus/ deficts in rich/poor countries 2- Temporal distribution: (short-term to long-term) –seasonal (droughts in summer) – water-poor growing seasons 5) The term drought Drought:Adrought is an extended period of months or years when a region notes a deficiency in its water supply. Generally, this occurs when a region receives consistently below average precipitation 6) Issues linked to human impact such as access to water, demand for water, efficiency of water use, contamination of water; and associated agricultural / industrial / domestic water use issues 1-Access to water: Natural verses human created structures, tap water vs river water 2- Demand for water: Rapidly rising demands as the pace of industrialization and population increase, resource depletion, agricultural vs. industrial 3- Efficiency of water use: the concept of privatization verses public ownership, a lot used for agriculture. High consumption of the amount of water we have taken 4- Contamination of water: Ground water contamination (the solution to pollution is dilution, point source vs non point source, agricultural/ industrial/ domestic water use) 7) Terms such as point source / non-point source pollution, groundwater vulnerability, storm water, first-flush flow, well-head protection, cultural eutrophication Point source pollution: Water pollution emanating from a specific source such as a factory and released at a known discharge point Non point source: Water pollution generated by spatially dispersed, usually non specific, sources such as agriculture. Most storm water is nonpoint source pollution Ground Water vulnerability: The susceptibility of an aquifers to pollution from land use, spills, and other sources. Storm water: water that originates during precipitation events. It may also be used to apply to water that originates with snowmelt or runoff water from overwatering that enters the stormwater system. First flush flow: run off produced from the first part of a rainstorm that flushes land use surfaces of pollutants Well-head protected: Management of groundwater pollution sources within the drainage area serving a well. Cultural Eutrophication: is the process that speeds up natural eutrophication because of human activity. Due to clearing of land and building of towns and cities, runoff water is accelerated and more nutrients such as phosphates and nitrate are supplied to the lakes and ponds. 8) Terms such as consumptive versus non-consumptive water use which differ from the terms withdrawal and consumption Consumptive versus: water use in which the water is not returned to the environment in a liquid form; for example, irrigation leading to evaporation Non- consumptive water: water use in which the water is returned to the environment in a liquid form; example water used as a cooling medium in power plant 9) Physical, chemical and biological forms of water contamination Contamination of water: ~ ground water contamination ~ Surface water contamination (point source: Discharge of contaminant at a specific point) Physical: Sediments and heat Chemical: Excess Nutrients and hazardous chemicals Biological: Pathogens (Adisease or a germ agent) 10) Examples of the mismanagement of water Walkerton (factory waste) Aral Sea: overuse :1950s Soviet Union diverts water for irrigation Aral Sea shrinks: 1990s Soviet Union breaks up, 5 countries working to replenish it Saudi Arabia: overuse: harvesting wheat in a desert using groundwater, self-sufficient for 20 years, aquifer depleted - will phase out agriculture by 2016 -will import all wheat to feed its population 11) Strategies for the management of water: i.e. the input vrs. Output approach Input approach: Increase supply (increase in supply = pump more and desalinate) Output approach: Reduce loss/Contamination (reduce loss/ contamination) a) Increasing efficiency - Technological approach- human ingenuity ) - Institutional approach – Shutting down point Forestry--Chapter 16, 377 – 390 1. The natural functions of forests -regulates climate - stores nutrients - stores water/controls runoff/reduces erosion - improves water quality - enhances biodiversity 2. The socio-economic functions of forests: - forest products - fuel wood - large contributor to GNP and exports - contributes to subsistence economies - recreation 3. Links between the hydrological cycle and the nutrient cycle - Roots of trees + rich soils purify water - Plants are a fundamental factor of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous cycles  animals as well 4. The concept of forest-rich and forest-poor countries -countries with many/very few forested areas? 5. What are issues associated with the spatial distribution of forests? - cover (amount of forested land left) - formation (type of forests – boreal, tropical, temperate) - age (Old Growth, Second- growth) - human activity (industrial and non-industrial plantations) 6. Forest formations Boreal: Characterized by evergreen conifers and long winters. The boreal forest, or Taiga, is found in the northern parts of N.A, Europe andAsia Temperate:Aforest that grows in regions of moderate temperatures, it is characterized by deciduous broad-leaved trees Tropical:Aforest that grows in winterless, tropical climates with high temperatures and generally high rainfall 7. Forests ages Old growth:Aforest which contains trees which have attained great age and so exhibits unique ecological features Second-growth:Aforest or woodland area which has re-grown after a major disturbance such as fire, insect infestation, timber harvest or windthrow. 8. What are human-created forests? Industrial plantations: There is a low genetic diversity in the planting of the trees, which makes them more susceptible to disease and pests and it limits the biodiversity of a species Non-industrial plantations: NOT SURE,ASSUMING JUST PLANTED DIFFERENTLY 9. Issues associated with the temporal distribution of forests - geologic/ historic time (iffy) 10. Human impact of forests (e.g. tropical forests) - Tropical Deforestation -agriculture and ranching -industrial logging -road construction -urbanization -mining -oil/ gas exploitation and pipelines -firewood -reservoir construction (dams) -mono-culture plantations 11. Terms such as: biodiversity : The variability among living organisms from all sources including inter alia, terrestrial, marine, and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are a part. This includes diversity within species, between species, and of ecosystems. Simplified, the diversity of plant and animal life in a particular habitat genetic diversity: genetic variation among species speciation: The formation of new species as a result of geographic, physioloigical, anatomical, or behavioural factors that prevent previously interbreeding populations from breeding with each other 12. Terms such as: Range: the region over which a population or species is located Intercontinental range: When a species is located on several continents Endemic species:A species of plants and animals that are found exclusively in a particular area  not naturally found anywhere else 13. Concepts such as: Extinction: The death of all members of a species, so that that creature no longer exists within human knowledge on Earth Extinction episodes:Aperiod of time where a species would go extinct 14. Concepts linking land use and habitat loss: • deforestation –removing habitat • dumping chemicals into a lake  poisoning habitat • agriculture & ranching • industrial logging • road construction • urbanization • mining • oil/gas exploitation & pipelines • firewood • reservoir construction (dams) • mono-culture plantations 15. Terms such as: Endangered:At risk of extinction Threatened: a species likely in the future to become endangered within all or much of its range Protected: species whose population is declining in the wild due to human influences or other causes, and are therefore protected by law 16. Terms such as: deforestation- to divest or clear forests or trees reforestation – to replenish tree stocks afforestation- to convert bare or cultivated land into forest, originally for the purpose of providing hunting grounds 17. Strategies for the management of forests •Better natural resource accounting •Harvest methods •Parks and protected areas •Community-based forestry •Certification programs •Global policy initiatives Chapter 8 1. The challenge of finding a safe, dependable, environmentally sound energy The challenge is that no energy source can provide us with all the aspects we get from some of the energy sources we currently use. (solar = not always sunny, etc.) -they don’t provide a baseload— we need a steady/ constant source of energy 2. Why Canada is the highest per capita user of energy in the world (how does our demand compare with lesser developed countries?) Canada is one of the highest users of energy in the world because we are dependent on energy sources that are non renewable and require energy to obtain them (Oil for example) Also due to our winters, we use up a larger amount of energy. 3. Stock, flow and continuous energy resources Stock:Astock resource is something like metal where there is a set amount of the resource finite sources of energy  non-renewable  fossil fuels Flow:AFlow resource is like timber where we can manage the resource infinite (with proper treatment)  renewable  solar, wind, water, etc. Energy: generally, the capacity to do work; defined as any quantity that represents force times distance. 4. The temporal distribution of energy resources (historic and recent trends) For the most part we were very dependent on wood stock and fossil fuels until the 1990’s and now nuclear power and hydro are coming into the mix. We are still greatly dependant on coal and oil but we are working towards more energy efficient means. 5. The spatial distribution of energy resources The consideration of global fossil fuel reserves in addition to the non fossil fuel reserves 6. The creation of fossil fuel resources The creation of fossil fuel resources lead to a mass uprising of dependence, but also fuel the movement of the industrial revolution. It allowed us to create more “technologically advanced” products at the cost of our planets health. The creation of fossil fuel resources  using oil  using clean energy to create dirty energy?! 7. Why we are so dependent on fossil fuel resources There are 5 main reasons why we are so dependent: 1-Accessibility 2- Utility 3- High energy content 4- Transportability 5- Conversion to different fuels or feedstock 8. Global trend in the use of coal Coal was one of the most vital resources to our economy today. It controls a vast amount of out industries and vehicles starting at the beginning of the industrial revolution. Our dependence has increased drastically to the point where we need to begin to reconsider and redesign our thes. • In the 19 century they were the world for most manufacturing centers • Coal use is increasing because it is a cheap form of energy  usage increasing in the developing world 9. Pros and cons in the use of coal Pros: - Most abundant • High quality • High consumption rate • Cheap • Convertible Cons: - Large land footprint • Atmospheric pollution 11. Terms such as methylmercury 12. Petroleum and natural gas; pros and cons in their use Petroleum Pros: - It has high energy and stores easily • Oil burns more cleanly • Its versatile • Easy to transport Cons: -Air pollutants that can cause/lead to acid rain • Transportation can be dangerous due to the high chance of spillage • It is easily depleted Natural Gas: Pros: - burns cleanly • Fuel of choice for heating • Most efficient • Inexpensive transportation Cons: - least abundant resource 13. Human impacts of fossil fuel use: a) focus on greenhouse effect (what is it? How does it work? The potential human influence), b) air pollution (affect on human health, the built and natural environments), c) acid rain (what is it? How does it work? The potential human influence) a) The impacts that fossil fuels have had on the environment are extensive. One of the major issues that has arose due to the consumption of fossil fuels is the greenhouse effect. This is, the capacity of the atmosphere to act like a greenhouse, trapping and absorbing long wave radiation and heat. Principal greenhouse gases are water vapour and carbon dioxide. The potential harm it can do is the fact that more pollution leads to more green house gases and therefore more heat. -Two key factors: amount of gas emitted and type of gas emitted b)Air pollutants have a high level of impact on the environment and what goes on around it. When chemical toxins go into the air they not only remain in the atmosphere but also cause harmful breathing conditions. Some major issues are photochemical smog: it causes heavy concentration of hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, abundant sunlight
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