Environment 100 Exam Notes APRIL 2010
Do the main points of each of the chapters. Read the slides and understand the concepts. Review
and learn the “reviewing objectives” that are at the end of each chapter along with solving the
questions at the end of the chapters. Do the exams from previous years.
Chapter 11 – Freshwater systems
• Tributary – smaller river flowing into a larger one.
• Bogs – ponds that are covered in floating mats of vegetation.
• Littoral zone, benthic, limnetic and profundal zones.
• Groundwater is contained within aquifers – porous formations of rock, sand, or gravel that
• Confined and unconfined aquifers. Confined is when the water in the aquifer is under great
pressure because there is a layer of rock that is trapped between the upper and lower
layers of less permeable substrate. Unconfined doesn’t have that impermeable layer, so
the water is under less pressure and can be recharged by the surface water.
• Climate change will alter precipitation patterns in many countries therefore killing water
• Consumptive (removing water from an aquifer/body of water and not returning it) vs.
non-consumptive (no removes or temporary removal) water use.
• Benefits of dams power generation provides inexpensive electricity. Drinking water,
many reservoirs store a lot of clean water for municipal water use. Flood control, dams
prevent floods by storing seasonal surges. vs. Costs of dams habitat alteration, dams
modify the habitats of fish killing most of them. Risk of failure, risk of a dam failing causing
property damage, and loss of life. Sediment capture, sediment settles behind dams.
• Groundwater is more easily depleted than surface water because its aquifers recharge very
• Best technological approach to generating fresh water is desalinization which is the
removal of salt from seawater.
• Reduce agricultural water use by decreasing the amount of meat we eat because
producing meat needs way more water than the production of vegetables and grains.
• Pollution – the release into the environment of matter or energy that causes undesirable
impacts on the health and well-being of humans or other organisms.
• Wastewater – water that has been used by humans in some way.
Chapter 12 – Marine and Coastal Systems and Fisheries
• Salinity of the water near the equator is low because this region has a great deal of
• Ocean water is vertically structured (thermocline, halocline, and pycnocline).
• Upwelling – the vertical flow of cold deep water toward the surface.
• El Niño – air pressure increases in the western pacific and decreases in the eastern pacific
causing the equatorial winds to weaken. El Niña is the opposite.
• Photic zone – nearly all the oceans primary productivity happens here.
• Phytoplankton constitute the basis of the food chain.
• A reef is an underwater outcrop of rock, sand, or other material.
• Coral reef – mass of calcium carbonate composed of the skeletons of tiny colonial marine
• Coral bleaching occurs when the colored symbiotic zooxanthellae leave the coral, depriving
it of nutrition. Acidification threatens to deprive corals of the carbonate ions they need to
produce their structural parts.
• Salt marshes occur where the tides wash over gently sloping sandy or silty substrates.
• Estuaries – water bodies where rivers flow into the oceans mixing freshwater and
seawater. • Driftnets – span large expanses of water and they catch fish as the current pushes them
through the water.
• Longline fishing – setting out long lines with several thousand baited hooks spaced along
• Bottom trawling – dragging weighted nets across the floor of the continental shelf to
• By-catch – accidental capture of animals while attempting to catch something else.
• Fishing down the food chain – catching species at lower trophic levels.
• Benefits vs. Drawbacks of aquaculture.
o Improve a regions food security by increasing the amount of fish available.
o Aquaculture relies less on fossil fuels than fishing vessels and provide a safer
• Dense concentrations of farm animals promotes diseases.
• High amount of fish also produce a bunch of waste.
• Maximum sustainable yield – maximum harvests for particular populations while
keeping fish available for the future.
Chapter 13 – Atmospheric Science and Air Pollution
• Atmosphere – thin layer of gas that surrounds the earth.
• Troposphere – blankets the earths surface and provides us with the air we need to live.
• Stratosphere – 11-50km above sea level, more dry and dense than the troposphere.
• Ozone layer – 17-50km above sea level, reduces the amount of UV reaching the earths
• Mesosphere – above the stratosphere, air pressure is really low and temperature
• Thermosphere – extends to 500km above sea level.
• Convective circulation – warm air being less dense rises and creates vertical currents.
• Primary pollutants – pollutants emitted into the troposphere in a form that can be
• Secondary pollutants – when primary pollutants interact with constituents of the
• Smog – unhealthy mixtures of air pollutants that often move over urban areas.
• Photochemical smog – light-driven chemical reactions of primary pollutants that mix with
• Montreal protocol – signature nations (about 180) agreed to cut CFC’s in half.
Productions of ozone-depleting compounds have fallen by 95%.
• Indoor pollution is more damaging than outdoor pollution because a person spends 90% of
their time indoors.
• Tobacco smoke and radon are the most damaging indoor pollutants in the developed world.
Chapter 14 – Global Climate Change
• Global climate change – traditions and variations in earths climate for temperature,
precipitation, and storm frequency and intensity..
• Global warming – increase in earth’s average surface temperature.
• Greenhouse gasses – gases that are naturally present in the lower part of the
atmosphere that absorb infrared radiation.
• Greenhouse effect – reemitted energy from the greenhouse gasses that travels back
downward warming the troposphere and the planet’s surface. Without it our planet would
have a much colder surface temperature. It’s the anthropogenic contributions to the
greenhouse effect that make it dangerous (what humans do to it). • Ozone – is also a radiatively active gas contributing to the warming both near the surface
and up in the atmosphere. It serves as a UV filter in the stratosphere.
• Positive and negative feedback loops.
• Radiative forcing – the amount of change in energy that a given factor causes.
• Insolation – the amount of solar energy that reaches the earth’s surface.
• The Milankovitch cycles, solar output, ocean absorption and ocean circulation are also
factors that influence climate.
• Paleoclimate – baseline against which to measure the changes that we see happening in
the climate system on a shorter time scale.
• Warming is accelerated in the arctic regions of the world because as snow and ice melt,
darker, less-reflective surfaces are exposed and earth’s albedo decreases.
• Kyoto Protocol – mandates signatory nations to reduce emissions of 6 greenhouse gases
to levels below those of 1990.
Chapter 15 – Fossil Fuels: Energy and Impacts
• Fossil fuels – highly combustible substances formed from the remains of organisms from
past geologic ages. Today we mostly use oil, coal, and natural gas. Considered non-
• Aerobic vs. Anaerobic decomposition. With and without using oxygen.
• Citizens of developed regions consume much more energy than citizens in developing
• Coal is the worlds most abundant fossil fuel. Coal is organic matter that was compressed
under very high pressure to form a dense, carbon-rich solid material. Subsurface mining
is when shafts are dug deep into the ground, and networks of tunnels are dug or blasted
out to follow coal stems. Strip mining is when heavy machinery removes earth in long,
horizontal strips to expose the layers an