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Terms in this set (98)
Where did all of the heavy elements that are found inside of your own body (e.g., carbon and nitrogen, phosphorous, copper and gold) get created?
100% of the heavy elements were created inside of stars or when stars exploded.
How are stars formed?
They started forming after the intense heat of the Big Bang cooled and cold matter began condensing into large-mass objects due to gravitational attraction. When an object's mass becomes very large, the gravitational compression within the center of the object makes its interior hot enough to ignite thermonuclear fusion reactions.
How do we know that our own sun is made from the dust of a previously exploded star?
The sun is composed of hydrogen and a range of heavier elements.
According to our current scientific understanding, where did most of the water come from that fills the earth's oceans?
If you were on a boat at 10N and 160W which ocean would you be in?
How was our moon formed?
A mars-sized object hit the earth and the ejected material subsequently coalesced to form the moon.
How quickly did life appear on earth after it cooled and the oceans filled?
Remarkably quickly (around 500 million years).
Where did the oxygen in the atmosphere come from?
Life on earth began in the ocean billions of years ago. When did life on land begin?
About 550 million years ago
How long ago did a large asteroid hit the earth that caused the extinction of most dinosaurs and subsequently gave rise to large mammals dominating the earth?
About 65 million years ago
How far back can you trace the evolutionary origin of your own backbone?
The first vertebrates were fish.
Does the rigid outer crust of the earth actually float on the underlying mantle?
Yes, the rigid crust floats on top of the underlying mantle and acts sort of like a cork floating on water.
What strong evidence led Alfred Wegner to confirm that the continents had drifted over geologic time?
Fossil and mineral belts on separate modern-day continents aligned when the continents were artificially moved into a single super-continent.
Why is the symmetric banding of magnetic anomalies along mid-ocean ridges considered to be strong evidence to seafloor spreading?
Because magnetic anomalies are a proxy for the age of the rock, and when dated, they show the crust getting symmetrically older as you move away on either side of the mid-ocean ridge.
What kind of tectonic process takes place in deep-sea trenches?
This is where ocean crust continuously sinks back into the mantle.
How are continents moved around on earth over geologic time?
Continents are moved when the tectonic plates that they are embedded within move.
What is the driving mechanism for plate tectonic motion?
Mantle convection and slab pull
Are divergent tectonic boundaries only found at mid-ocean ridges?
Which of the following is a geographic region where ocean crust is currently colliding with ocean crust?
Aleutian Islands of Alaska
Why did India not slide back down into the mantle during its initial collision with Eurasia?
India was too buoyant (low relative density) to sink back into the mantle.
How were the Hawaiian Islands created?
Mantle hot spot that upwelled magma to the surface to form underwater mountains that eventually grew to become islands.
What kind of earth history is recorded in marine sediments?
Past climate change, past biological activity, past large volcanic activity, and past extinction events.
Approximately how fast do sediments accumulate?
1 to 5 cm per thousand years
Chemical isotope ratios (e.g., 18O:16O) obtained from marine shells preserved in marine sediments can give some information about past surface ocean temperatures.
How many mass extinctions events have occurred on earth? Please include in your count the current one being caused by humans.
Imagine you are on a beach and watch a nice clean set of large waves of similar wavelength coming ashore. Given your knowledge of wave dispersion, what can you say about the location of the storm that created these waves?
The storm probably occurred fairly far away from your beach.
What typically happens to wave energy as it approaches a headland point of land?
The wave energy is focused to produce stronger waves.
If you are caught in a rip current, what should you do?
Swim along the shore for 10 to 20 meters, then back to shore, and then call Bruce.
What factor or set factors determine wave height?
Wind speed, duration, and fetch
What is a storm's fetch?
It is the diameter of the storm system.
How fast does a tsunami wave propagate?
About 500 miles per hour
Why is it so difficult to predict the height of a tsunami wave for a specific location?
The constructive and destructive addition of wave crests and wave troughs, associated with the multiple individual tsunami waves created during a single event, are hard to predict.
Which force is involved in the creation of the tidal bulge located on the side of the earth that is opposite to the moon?
Neither the ekman forcing, geodynamic force, coriolis force, nor the gravitational force.
According to the figure below, semi-diurnal tides are expected:
Along the equator
When do Spring Tides occur?
During a full moon
Why do tides occur in the ocean but not in ponds and small lakes?
Most of the tidal elevation comes from a lateral pull/pinch of water far to the side of the direct centerline between the earth and moon. In small lakes, there is only the direct line under the moon so there is no tide.
Why do we get rotary tides?
The combination of Coriolis force and blocking by continents.
Why is the tidal range in Hawaii small relative to the west coast of the United States?
Hawaii is near an amphidromic point.
Why is the atmosphere heated from below by a modestly warm earth surface and not from above by a very hot sun?
Because the atmosphere does not absorb short wavelength radiation, but does absorb long wavelength radiation.
Which type of air column produces higher atmospheric pressure at sea level?
A column of dry air
Why do the surface Trade Winds blow in the westward direction when the pressure gradient force that drives the winds is actually directed toward the equator from 30N and 30S?
The winds are turned westward by the Coriolis force.
What happens to the surface ocean mixing depth in temperate (mid-latitude) regions as the surface ocean layer is cooled during fall, and into winter, periods?
Mixing depth becomes deeper.
What is Ekman transport?
The movement/transport of a relatively thin (c.a., 50 meters) slab of surface water in response to wind forcing.
How does the mound of surface water in the middle of the subtropical gyre get formed?
The action of the Trade Winds and the Westerly Winds, respectively, drives Ekman Layers into the middle of the subtropical gyre.
If winds are blowing from the south to the north along the west coast of the United States (e.g., the Washington, Oregon and California Coasts), would you expect to see Coastal Upwelling?
How are the subtropical gyres forced to rotate in a clockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere?
The trade winds and the westerly winds pile water up in the center of the gyre and this creates a downward pressure force that leads to the turning of the gyres.
How are deep-water masses identified?
Based on characteristic temperature and salinity signatures.
How long does it take for deep ocean water to move from the North Atlantic to the North Pacific?
About 2,000 years
What would happen if the Meridional Overturning Circulation, also known at the Conveyor Belt Circulation, were to slow down due to climate change?
It would decrease the transport of heat from the equator to high latitudes.
According to UNESCO, how many marine species face the possibility of extinction by the end of the century if human society continues without significant change in how it treats the oceans?
How much of the ocean surface has been set aside as environmentally protected areas?
Which two groups of marine organisms did Bruce Monger point out in the review as being especially threatened with species extinctions at this time?
Sharks and Corals
Which statement best defines Net Primary Production?
The net difference between photosynthesis and respiration
The compensation light level refers to the light level where:
Net primary production is zero
Subtropical Gyres have low levels of primary production per square meter because:
None of the above
Why is primary production higher in the eastern equatorial Pacific (near Peru) than in the western equatorial Pacific (near Australia)?
The thermocline is shallower in the eastern equatorial Pacific than in the western Pacific
What accounts for the year-round high levels of primary production in coastal regions?
Enhanced tidal mixing over shallow continental shelf regions
Which is true about the Critical Depth?
It is the depth at which phytoplankton can mix whereby the time they spend below the compensation depth losing carbon just balances the time they spend above the compensation depth gaining carbon, resulting in net primary production over the course of the day being zero
What percent of global primary production takes place in the ocean?
In order to make sense out of the confusing mix of all the organisms that make up pelagic communities, oceanographers classify organisms into broad groups based on which criteria?
Autotrophic, heterotrophic, and body size
The Exploitation Efficiency of the protozoan grazer community in tropical regions is expected to be:
The main reason that coastal upwelling regions have much higher amounts of harvestable fish production each year is because:
None of the above
The main contributor to primary production in open-ocean oligotrophic environments
The Biological Carbon Pump is at its most efficient in:
What typically sets the lower limit in the elevation within the rocky intertidal for a given species?
Competition with other species or predation by other species
What prevents a single rocky intertidal species from eventually out-competing all other species and becoming the only species in the rocky intertidal?
Intermediate physical disturbance, such as big storm waves crashing on the rocks, wipes the rock clean and restarts the whole process of competition among all species
What happens to the abundance of kelp forests when sea otter abundance increases?
Kelp forest increases
What is coral bleaching?
This occurs as a result of the breakdown in the symbiotic relationship between the coral and its Zooxanthellae
Coral bleaching, and the subsequent coral death, begins when normal ocean temperatures are:
Increased by about 1ºC for a few weeks
With an epic-scale effort, larger than the World War II mobilization, to rapidly de-carbonize of the global energy system and limit global warming to 1.5ºC, what percentage of coral reefs will still be lost?
What percentage of coral will be lost if global warming reaches 2ºC?
Which of the following comes closest to representing the earliest form of whale
Which source of underwater sound does Professor Christopher Clark (Cornell whale expert who studies underwater sound impacts on whales) think may be the greatest threat to whale population survival?
Ambient noise from commercial ship traffic
Which of the following nations are currently hunting whales in large numbers?
Norway, Iceland, and Japan
The two opposing forces and/or energies that determine the three phases of water
(solid, liquid and gas) are:
H-bonds and Thermal-Kinetic energy
If you added an equal amount of heat energy to the ocean, atmosphere and land, which one would experience the smallest temperature change?
How much of the excess heat that has accumulated in the earth system as a result of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions has been taken up by the ocean?
When winds blow over the surface ocean to cause evaporative cooling, what happens to the heat that leaves the ocean surface?
It is transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere as latent heat in the form of atmospheric water vapor
If you have a 1000-gram sample of seawater that has a salinity of 34‰ and you boiled away all of the water, how much salt would remain?
Where is surface ocean salinity typically highest?
The conveyor belt circulation explains, in part, why nitrate and phosphate concentrations in the deep ocean (e.g., bottoms waters at 4000 meters depth) are:
Low in the deep North Atlantic and high in the deep North Pacific
Oxygen concentration reaches a minimum level just below the sunlit layer (euphotic zone) of the ocean because:
Microbial respiration fueled by dead organic material consumes oxygen down to low levels
What is expected to happen to the oxygen minimum zone in response to global warming?
The concentration of oxygen will decline
Carbon dioxide is high in the deep ocean because
Microbial consumption of organic matter and associated respiration produces carbon dioxide
In which direction would carbon dioxide diffuse across the air-sea interface if deep water were brought up to the surface and into contact with the atmosphere?
CO2 would diffuse out of the ocean
At the current rate of CO2 emissions, how much more acidic will the ocean be relative to pre-industrial levels?
What happens to the Walker Circulation Cell in the transition from normal to El Niño conditions?
The Walker Circulation Cell slows down or reverses
What happens to the Cold Tong (cold sea surface temperature along the equator) in the eastern Pacific during El Niño conditions relative to normal condition?
The Cold Tong becomes less cold and shrinks back toward the Peru coast
What happens to the global average temperature during an El Niño year?
Rises pretty dramatically
How can the effects of El Niño conditions in the Pacific be transmitted to the far reaches of the globe?
Variation in the position of the Jet Stream in the atmosphere
At current CO2 emission rates, what sort of timelines are we facing before polar seas become corrosive to calcium carbonate shells of planktonic organisms and coral reef growth is slowed or stopped altogether?
In 20 to 30 years
Are humans now powerful enough to prevent a future ice age from happening?
What is the level of certainty that the observed global warming is largely caused by humans?
95% confidence level
What is the estimated asset value, associated with low-lying megacities around the world, that are vulnerable to a 1-meter sea level rise by the end of this century?
In the tens of trillions of US dollars range
How soon might we see the Arctic Ocean completely ice-free during summer periods?
Ice free as soon as 2030
One of the key goals contained in the COP-21 consensus statement, that was signed in Paris in 2015 by every single leader of every single nation on earth, is that we should work to prevent the earth from warming beyond 2ᵒC. In that same consensus statement, what must happen to global CO2 emission to stay below a 2ᵒC warming?
The entire planet has to go to net zero emissions by 2050
According to comments made in class by Bruce Monger, on the scale of all the generations that have ever existed on planet earth, is the present generation super special?
Yes, this generation is the generation that will decide the fate of humanity
Cornell has taken a huge lead over other universities by putting in place a highly detailed plan to take the entire Ithaca campus to zero carbon emissions by 2035. What is the key hurdle facing this plan?
Developing earth-source heating for the campus
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