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Environmental Science - Final Test
Terms in this set (152)
consumptive uses of water
Water is removed and not returned, agricultural, industrial, residential.
nonconsumptive uses of water
Temporary removal of water, passing water through hydroelectric dam or nuclear power plants and returning it to waterway.
Water that percolates downwards through soils, 1/5 of world's freshwater, contained in aquifers.
dams, dikes, levees
Dams built to prevent floods, generate electricity, provide drinking water, provide irrigation. Dikes and levees are built to prevent floods.
internal, external water
Internal = water volume used from domestic sources. External = water used in other countries to produce goods and services imported and consumed.
point source pollution
Pollution comes from discrete locations.
nonpoint source pollution
Multiple cumulative inputs over large areas.
Clean Water Act
Instituted in 1972 to protect water with various standards.
Most common water treatment system.
primary and secondary wastewater treatment
Primary treatment includes physical removal of contaminants in settling tanks, removes 60% of suspended solids. Secondary treatment includes water is aerated and stirred, aerobic bacteria degrade organic pollutants, removes 90% of suspended solids. Tertiary treatment involves filtering and disinfection.
Residual, semi-solid material left from industrial wastewater or sewage treatment process.
Surface water currents move horizontally in vast river-like flows, driven by solar heating and cooling, wind and the Coriolis effect. Thermohaline circulation is deep water circulation driven by temperature, density and gravity.
The flow of cold deep water to the surface, usually occurring where currents diverge and brings nutrients to surface, creating areas rich in marine life.
The flow of warm surface water downwards, usually occurring where currents converge or meets land and brings dissolved O2 to deep-water life.
Non-target species caught during harmful fishing practices. Makes up to 1/4 to 1/3 of species caught, 4 times the entire catch of US fishing fleet - sharks, seals, dolphins, turtles, birds, nontarget fish are killed.
CO2 entering oceans more than 10 times the natural rate causing the oceans to acidify. pH decreased from 8.2 to 8.1 which is 30% more acidic than start of industrial revolution
toxic tide, toxic algal blooms
Toxic pollutants, fertilizers and human sewage create dead zones and toxic algal blooms. Red Tides caused illnesses and death in organisms (zooplankton to humans).
pots and traps
Some pot and trap practices are some of the least destructive fishing practices.
hook and line, trolling
Some of the least destructive fishing practices.
gill or driftnetting
Large nets spread out across wide area, scooping up everything in its path. Kills seals, dolphins, birds, turtles. Many nations have banned or restricted use.
Uses 1000s of baited hooks across wide area. Kills about 300,000 seabirds, as well as sharks, turtles and nontarget fish.
bottom trawling and dredging
Nets and bars are dragged across the ocean floor. Destroys whole communities and ecosystems. 5 pounds of by-catch for 1 pound of shrimp.
Also called Individual Fishing Quotas (IFQs) or also known as market-based or incentive based management.
marine protected area
These are not fully protected areas and allow fishing and other extractive activities. Only about 300 in US waters.
"No-Take" zones that prohibit human disturbances. They preserve whole ecosystems and increase fish populations for fisheries. Many fishermen opposed but scientists believe reserves may be the best way to save fishing industry.
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Label on seafood means it was caught sustainably.
A layer of gases around the earth. It is very thin, 1/100 of Earth's diameter (peach fuzz). It absorbs harmful solar radiation, burns up meteors, transports and recycles water and other chemicals, moderates climate. Primarily made up of Nitrogen (78%) and Oxygen (21%).
Bottommost layer of atmosphere from sea level to seven miles high, contains 3/4 of atmospheric mass and provides us with air needed to live. Temperature decreases with altitude, movement of air influences weather.
Second layer up of atmosphere, from 7 to 31 miles high. It is 1000 times drier and less dense than troposphere. Here gases experience little mixing and can remain a long time. Temperature increases with altitude.
Ozone layer that scatters and absorbs sun's rays (10-19 miles in altitude, vital to life on earth). Found in stratosphere.
Atmospheric conditions over a short time (hours or days) across small geographic areas.
Patterns of conditions over long periods of time (seasons, decades, millennia) across large geographic regions.
A natural occurrence that can exacerbate pollution. Layer of cool air occurs beneath a layer of warm air. Responsible for smog build up in valleys near mountains.
A band of air where temperatures rise with altitude. Cool air beneath it resists mixing and traps pollutants near the ground.
point versus non-point sources
Point sources are specific spots where large amounts of pollution are discharged (power plants, factory smokestacks). Non-point sources are diffuse, often made up of many small sources (charcoal, wood fires, autos).
Produced and emitted into troposphere in a directly harmful form (particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide).
Produced via reaction of substances added to the atmosphere with chemicals already present in the atmosphere (ozone in troposphere).
Clean Air Act,1970 and 1990
In 1970, set stricter standards than previous laws around emissions from stationary and mobile sources, provides research funds, enables citizens to sue violating parties. In 1990, the Act was amended to strengthen previous regulations, introduced emissions trading permits for sulfur dioxide, identified 188 air pollutants known to cause cancer and other toxic effects (mercury, Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) such as benzene), but not monitored extensively (about 300 sites).
criteria air pollutants
Pollutants considered to pose the greatest threat - carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur dioxide (SO2), Nitrogen dioxide (NO2), tropospheric ozone (O3), Particulate Matter (PM), Lead (Pb).
carbon monoxide (CO)
A colorless, odorless gas that comes from vehicle exhaust (80%), waste combustion and biomass burning. It is lethal at low concentrations by binding to hemoglobin in red blood cells.
sulfur dioxide (SO2)
A foul-smelling, colorless gas from electric utilities (70%) especially coal fired power plants. It contributes to acid precipitation and industrial smog.
oxides of nitrogen
Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is a foul-smelling, reddish brown gas from vehicle exhaust (more than 50%), industrial activity, electricity generation from combustion. It contributes to photochemical smog and acid precipitation.
A colorless, pungent smelling gas that is an irritant when inhaled. It is a secondary pollutant that results form interaction of sunlight, heat, nitrogen oxides and VOCs. Most emissions are from vehicles and industrial use of solvents. Harmful to living tissues of plants and animals. It is a pollutant that most often exceeds its standard.
A heavy metal that enters the atmosphere as a particulate. It was a gasoline additive until phased out in late 1970s. Comes from metal smelting. Can bioaccumulate within the body. It causes many effects including serious nervous system dysfunction at extremely low doses, children especially at risk.
Any solid (or liquid) particles small enough to be carried in the air. Dust and soot are primary; sulfates and nitrates are secondary. It causes respiratory damage, the smaller the particle the more dangerous. Most from dust (about 60%), fuel combustion (utilities, biomass). Along with sulfur dioxide (SO2), it was responsible for London's "Killer Smog".
AKA "grey air smog". Produced from burning of fossil fuels (coal and oil). Killed people in London and Donora, PA, still a health risk in China, India, Eastern Europe.
AKA "brown air smog". Most common in US cities. Produced from complex series of reactions of primary pollutants and normal atmospheric components (tropospheric ozone most abundant). Tends to show up on hot, sunny, windless days in urban areas. It is the reason for smog checks on vehicles. CA spent a lot of money on medical care.
volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
From plastics, perfumes, paints, cleaning fluids, adhesives, evaporates from furnishings, building materials, carpets, photocopiers, other electronic equipment.
Hole where ozone layer has weakened, allowing more UV radiation in. Arctic ozone hole breaks records in 2011.
Halocarbons (synthetic chemicals) made of carbon, chlorine, fluorine mass produced by industry and used in refrigerants, air conditioning, aerosol sprays. Noted to deplete ozone in atmosphere.
stratospheric ozone depletion
Depletion of the ozone layer (that absorbs UV radiation, vital to life) was discovered in 1960s. CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons) were found to be responsible for depletion. Ozone levels over Antarctica had decreased by 40-60% by 1985. Depletion found in Arctic as well, possibly globally.
193 nations agreed to cut CFC production by 50% and follow up amendments led to further decreases and advanced timetables for compliance. Production decreased by 95%. Success seen as model for international cooperation. N2O (nitrous oxide) now a leading cause of ozone depletion.
Deposition of acidic pollutants from the atmosphere through precipitation (rain, hail, snow), fog, gases, dry particles. It is a transboundary pollutant. Leaches minerals and toxic metals from soil which harm plants, crops, wildlife. Erodes stone buildings, monuments, pain on cars.
indoor air pollution
Generally has MORE pollution than outdoor air and US citizens spend 90% of time indoors. Wood, charcoal, dung smoke, secondhand smoke, radon, VOCs, living organisms.
The rising average global temperature.
Changes resulting from increasing temperatures. Manifests as changes in long-term patterns of = temperature, precipitation, storm intensity and frequency (extreme weather events). Key cause is the burning of fossil fuels (extraction and burning of fossil fuels) and deforestation (removing vegetation decreases the carbon sink). Developed nations responsible for about 75% of GHGs in atmosphere, US responsible for about 20%.
A naturally occurring process that aids in heating the Earth's surface and atmosphere. Greenhouse Gases trap more heat energy by absorbing and re-emitting long-wave energy.
greenhouse gases (GHGs)
Gases that increase the heating effect of the greenhouse effect. These include water vapor, CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, ozone in troposphere, halocarbons (includes CFCs, HFCs), SF6, NF3 (flat screen TVs, computer manufacture) - all except CFCs are increasing.
global warming potential
The relative heat trapping ability of a Greenhouse Gas.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
Panel brought together to examine climate change.
carbon dioxide (CO2)
Primary GHG accounting for about 64% of warming, comes from fossil fuel combustion, deforestation, cement manufacturing. Increased from about 280ppm in 1750 to about 400 ppm in 2014 (more than 40% change), ocean has absorbed about 30% causing ocean acidification.
AKA natural gas. Secondary GHG, accounting for about 18% of warming, comes from agriculture (ruminants & rice), fossil fuels extraction, landfills. Has increased about 160% since 1750, recent spike in concentrations may be due to to permafrost melting.
nitrous oxide (N2O)
Tertiary GHG, accounting for about 6% of warming, comes from nitrogen fertilizers, animal manures, biomass burning, autos. Up about 20% since 1750.
This is the most abundant GHG gas and is increasing due to increasing temperatures resulting in more moisture in atmosphere (cloud formation - clouds have both warming and cooling effects).
AKA black carbon or BC. It warms the Earth and may be the second most important contributor to climate change.
Microscopic particles and droplets (eg - sulfate aerosols, dust, BC). Sulfate aerosols and dust result in cooling but other aerosols and BC can result in warming.
cap and dividend
Hybrid cap and trade - dividends collected by tax payer.
cap and trade
Decide what polluting sources to include, set a cap on total CO2 emissions, distribute one permit for each ton emitted up to the cap, sources with too few must reduce emissions, buy permits, or pay for credits through a carbon offset project.
Voluntary payment to another entity intended to enable that entity to reduce GHG emissions (a coal burning power plant pays for a reforestation project, or citizen purchases offset for a plane trip). Needs oversight to know how money is being spent.
No net carbon is emitted.
carbon capture and sequestration
AKA carbon capture and storage or CCS. Capture and liquefy CO2 emitted during electricity generation for temporary storage in tanks (post-combustion).
2005 (drafted in 1995). Agreements to reduce the six greenhouse gases to below 1990 levels by 2012. US only nation not to ratify but 30 US states and more than 850 cities have signed on to "meet or beat" the protocol including SF. Supporters and opponents agree it was not enough as global emissions increased about 40% from 1990 levels.
Decomposed organic matter that has been subjected to heat and pressure - coal, gas and oil are formed over long period of time. Type of fuel formed depends on starting material, temperature and pressures, extent of decomposition, time passed. High energy content, efficient to burn, ship, and store. Supplies about 83% US energy needs.
crude oil or petroleum
Forms at temperatures and pressures found at least about 1.5 to 3 km (1-2 miles) below ground. Sludge-like mix of 100s of hydrocarbons. US gets most of its oil from Canada followed by Saudi Arabia, Mexico.
Compressed plant matter, most abundant fossil fuel in use longer than any other fossil fuel, powered industrial revolution generating electricity since 1880s, varies in quality and amount of impurities.
natural gas (mostly methane)
Produced in two ways, biogenic gas (shallow depths by anaerobic decomposition) or thermogenic/geogenic gas (deep depths from geothermal heating and compression). Use is increasing. Extraction similar to oil however fracking starting up.
Energy that has not been subjected to any conversion or transformation process.
Energy form which has been transformed from another one (electricity, hydrogen gas).
energy returned on energy invested (EROEI)
Expressed as a ratio (net energy = energy returned - energy invested), shows how efficient or cost effective a form of energy is.
Mining below ground in shafts and tunnels, poses safety and health risks.
strip or open pit mining
Most common form at about 60%, soil and vegetation removed from surface, severe environmental impact.
mountain top removal
Process of clear cutting and blasting a mountain top in order to reach coal. Process = clearing, blasting, digging, dumping, processing, reclamation. About 500 mountains destroyed and restrictions are being loosened around dumping.
Distilling process of crude oil gives us gasoline and other products. Out of a barrel we get (Gasoline - 19, Jet Fuel - 4, Diesel - 11, other products such as heating oils.
technically recoverable reserve
A reserve of resources discovered that is technologically feasible to extract.
economically recoverable reserve
A reserve of resources discovered that is economically feasible to extract.
Initial extraction of available oil.
secondary extraction & enhanced oil recovery
Pumping oil out of by forcing heat, gas or water into rock to displace it.
peak oil, Hubbert's Peak
The point in time when the maximum rate of petroleum extraction is reached, after which the rate of production is expected to enter terminal decline. Theory is that peak was reached at 12.5 billion in year 2000.
Natural gas in between rocks deep down in the ground, hydraulic fracturing used to remove it.
oil or tar sands
Deposits of sand and clay that contain 1 - 20% bitumen, a thick, heavy form of petroleum, requires more processing than conventional oil. Has more environmental impact than conventional oil production. Most in Canada and Venezuela.
acid mine drainage
The outflow of acidic water from mental or coal mines.
hydraulic fracturing with horizontal drilling
Method for drilling for shale gas. Drilling deep into the ground until reaching shale formation and then drilling horizontally along the formation, forcing chemicals down to into ground to extract gas.
Less and more efficient use of energy. Power plants, buildings, vehicles, consumer products could improve efficiency. US can cut energy use 20% by 2025.
corporate average fuel efficiency (CAFE)
Mandated increase in miles per gallon fuel efficiency.
Half-life is 700 million years and is the fuel used in most reactors.
Half-life is 4.5 billion years and is used for dating rocks and fossils, also as fuel in some reactors.
Isotopes are atoms that have the same # of protons but vary in number of neutrons. Radioactive isotopes are unstable and decompose, undergoing radioactive decay. They emit subatomic particles and/ore high energy radiation (alpha, beta, gamma). Every element beyond bismuth is radioactive.
nuclear energy, nuclear power
The energy of the atomic nucleus. We use fission in nuclear reactors to release the energy that holds the protons and neutrons. (Fusion is the energy that powers stars).
The process of splitting atomic nuclei. The release of energy that holds protons and neutrons. Some of the mass of the original atom is converted into energy.
Neutron is slammed into a heavy nucleus, like U-235. U-236 is momentarily produced but is very unstable and is torn apart by repulsion into 2 fission products. Released neutrons can continue to split uranium atoms and set in motion a chain reaction.
Possible catastrophic failure of a nuclear plant.
Often planting blasted or stripped areas with non-natives or putting in other use things like golf courses. It is in no way near restoration which would work to bring back the original ecology and ecosystems.
Energy that can be renewed and won't "run out". Often more sustainable than non-renewables such as fossil fuels.
hydroelectric or hydropower
The kinetic energy of moving water used to turn turbines and generate electricity. Currently generates more electricity than any other renewable source. May become an issue with global warming.
Hydroelectric power. Generators placed on land, river allowed to run usual course.
Hydropower. Stores energy by pumping water from a lower to an upper reservoir and when needed, the water is released back to the lower reservoir to generate electricity.
Biomass is all living plant matter and wastes from living organisms. Bioenergy is energy derived from biomass. First energy sources used by humans.
Processed biomass into liquid fuel that can be used for vehicles.
first generation, advanced biofuels ethanol
Obtained by fermenting carbohydrate-rich crops like corn or sugarcane.
Numbers describing the percentage of ethanol fuel in the mixture by volume. For example, E85 is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, where as E15 is 15% ethanol, etc.
flex fuel vehicle
A vehicle that can run on E85 (85% ethanol and 15% gasoline).
Use of nonfood crops or residues, or wood waste. Grasses can grow quickly, however does not break down easily so is energy intensive processing.
Diesel fuel made from petroleum fuel oil.
Diesel fuel made from biomass, currently from soybeans, canola/rapeseed, palm oil. Can also be made from recycled kitchen grease. Diesel vehicles can run 100% (B100).
Numbers describing the percentage of biodiesel fuel in the mixture by volume. For example, B100 is 100% biodiesel, B20 is 20% biodiesel and most used mix as engines don't need to be modified.
The energy that can be obtained from sunlight. Earth receives enough sunlight to power human energy consumption for about 25 years. 20 days of solar = all the stored energy in world's reserves of fossil fuels.
passive solar energy
Using sunlight for useful energy without use of active mechanical systems, such as designs of buildings and use of materials to maximize capture of sunlight in winter but keeping them cool in summer.
active solar energy
Uses technological devices to focus, move or store solar energy, as solar water and space heaters, solar cookers, solar thermal panels (not PV).
solar thermal electricity
Use of solar energy to generate electricity on small or large scale.
concentrated solar power (CSP)
Gathers sunlight from a wide area and focuses it on a single point. Power towers and parabolic trough systems, use a lot of water. Dish engine system uses Stirling engine with no Rankine cycle, air cooling, no water use.
solar photovoltaic cells, solar PV
Converts solar energy directly into electrical energy through the photoelectric effect - electrons are energized or "excited" as a consequence of their absorption of radiant energy. Direct current (DC) converted to Alternating current (AC) used for residential and commercial electric power. Can be connected to batteries to store.
crystalline silica PV
Most common form of PV cell, made primarily with doped silica. Efficiencies range from 12% to 20% (record 22%) with low maintenance and lasts more than 25 years.
thin film PV
Thinner PV cell with lower efficiencies (6-10%, record 17%), most commonly made of minerals/metals that are environmentally impactful, last less than crystalline silica but are cheaper.
wind energy, wind farm
All wind on the planet is a result of uneven atmospheric heating. Wind can be harnessed to generate electricity. Power is dependent on velocity of the wind (primarily), air density and area of wind captured. Farms are many turbines in one place, best sites in US are mountainous regions, Great Plains and off the coasts (in water).
Steam down in the earth created by radioactive decay amid high pressures which create heat. Geothermal power plants use this heated water for direct heating or to generate electricity.
enhanced geothermal energy
Forcing water down into the earth to create steam where steam is not (Hot-Dry Rock), then heated steam/water is withdrawn.
ground source heat pumps (GSHPs)
Use thermal energy from near-surface sources of earth or water to heat/cool buildings.
ocean, tidal, and wave energy
Uses the twice-daily flow of tides due to moon's gravitational pull, converting energy of moving tides into electricity. Tidal barrages, wave turbines, new stuff coming out and being tested. Not really in effect yet.
hydrogen fuel cells
Hydrogen is the simplest and most abundant element in the universe. Fuel cell is an electrochemical cell that converts a source fuel into an electric current.
Possible alternative fuel cell that is "wireless". Fuel can be sourced from sustainable methods like solar to produce hydrogen. Not residentially viable, and company is secretive.
municipal solid waste
Nonliquid wastes from homes, institutions and small businesses.
Waste from production of consumer goods, mining, petroleum extraction and refining, and agriculture.
Gaseous, solid, liquid waste that is toxic, chemically reactive, flammable or corrosive. Examples: paint, household cleaners, medical waste, industrial solvents, pesticides, etc.
Reduction of the production of waste at the source point of where the waste comes from.
Taking up waste for purposes of other uses such as recycling and composting.
To take up waste thrown away and convert it to another use. Recycling diverts more than 85 million tons of materials away from disposal each year. It creates jobs, conserves energy and natural resources, provides feedstock for industries, reduces air and water pollution, reduces GHGs, reduction in energy consumption.
The conversion of organic waste into mulch or humus through the natural processes of decomposition. Reduces landfill waste, eliminates need for synthetic fertilizers, reduces GHGs.
Organic or waste that is naturally degradable into base compounds in a reasonable amount of time.
Waste is buried or piled in carefully engineered mounds. US had about 8000 landfills in 1988 but now less than 1800, many were closed and consolidated.
The Garbage Project
William Rathje went through old landfill sites and found items intact, that had not degraded, such as food, newspapers from 1950s, plastic packaging was about 4.5%.
Waste-to-Energy Facility (WTE)
Facility that processes waste and incineration of waste into generation of electricity.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) 1976
Specified standards for landfills - waste is layered along with soil, must be located away from wetlands, earthquake faults, 20 feet above water table, must be lined with plastic and impermeable clay layer, must be capped when closed.
biogenic natural gas
Natural gas produced from the decomposition of organic material, can be collected and used.
Ponds of hazardous waste with liners and clay. The liquid hazardous waste evaporates leaving a residue that must be disposed of. Waste can enter water, soil, air.
deep well injection
Pumping hazardous waste underground into porous and stable rock formations, away from aquifers, but underground layers can crack and leach, and the method is very expensive.
electronic waste or e-waste
Waste in the form of electronic devices and appliances. Electronic devices are major sources of heavy metal pollution. End up in landfills, over half still in working order. About 70% of heavy metals and 40% of lead seeps out of electronics in landfills. Can be recycled for components of other products.
cradle to grave design paradigm
The idea of production cycle, from taking the resources to disposal, being one of just that, disposal. Take and throw away. Cycle comes to an end of the process.
cradle to cradle design paradigm
The idea of production cycle, from taking the resources to disposal, being one of not disposing, but recycling back into the system, to live another life as another useful item. Cycle becomes a circular process.
Industrial systems function like ecological systems, circular not linear. Exchange of materials between different industrial sectors where the "waste" output of one industry becomes the "feedstock" of another. Reduces resource inputs and maximizes both physical and economic efficiency.
A cradle-to-cradle concept involving safe and technological recycling through technology.
A cradle-to-cradle concept involving safe and biological recycling
through natural sources.
Using wastes from all different venues (residential, agriculture, fuels, etc) to recycle wastes but also produces these products in an interconnected manner.
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