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ECOL FINAL STUDY GUIDE
Terms in this set (57)
studies the moral relationship of human beings to the environment and its nonhuman contents (air/water pollution, global climate change, population growth, effects of war, genetic engineering, spirituality, indigenous people)
a branch of philosophy that is concerned with the natural environment and humans' place within it (environmental ethics is one branch of this)
Who is Rachel Carson, Lynn White, and Garrett Hardin?
Rachel Carson wrote "Silent Spring" (1962)
Lynn White wrote "The Historical Roots of our Ecological Crisis" (1967); the Christian Bible asserts humans' dominion over nature therefore humans believe they are superior
Garrett Hardin wrote "The Tragedy of the Commons" (1968); recognized the damage that innocent actions can have on the environment; negative externalities
What were their primary contributions to the field of environmental ethics?
They each brought attention to (Rachel Carson and Garrett Hardin) or explained (Lynn White and Garrett Hardin) man's impact on the environment.
How/Why did an environmental movement start in the 1970's?
Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin was inspired by the student anti-war movement and thought if he could get people just as riled up about the environment then they could make a difference.
What is "Earth Day"?
First it was a "national teach-in on the environment" that was selected to be on April 22, 1970. The event caught political attention and led to the creation of the Clean Air, Clean Water and Environmental Protection Acts. Today it is a day meant to show support for environmental protection.
Why is the Gastric Brooding Frog an important case study with respect to "ethics"?
The Gastric Brooding Frog of Australia- extinct now; brought into lab to observe life cycle; female ate her own eggs ; eggs grow inside of her; she spits them out as baby frogs later; the genome has been revived (de-extinctions); biobanking (cryogenically preserving the genetic material of imperiled species)"If we terminated this species then we have a moral imperative to bring It back"
Distinguish between "climate" and "weather"
The difference between climate and weather is the time frame; Climate is an aspect of the physical environment that most influences a particular system by placing the greatest constraint on organisms
What is the IPCC, and why is it a valuable organization?
International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 1988) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change; its primary goal is to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socioeconomic impacts
Describe the "greenhouse" effect.
The greenhouse effect is the warming of earth's temperatures due to the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
What are important greenhouse gasses?
Carbon Dioxide, methane, Nitrous Oxide, and Halocarbons
Understand major components and fluxes of the Carbon Cycle.
Plant Photosynthesis, Carbon flow in plants, Root-microbe interactions, Microbial respiration and decomposition, Soil organic matter formation; Phytoplankton photosynthesis, Consumption and respiration of sea life, Decomposition and deposition in ocean depths; Fossil fuels, cement and land-use change
What are major pathways for the movement (fluxes) of carbon?
Plant respiration, microbial respiration and decomposition, sea life respiration and decomposition, burning of fossil fuels, cement, and land-use change
What are major storages (sinks) of carbon?
Terrestrial uptake, Ocean uptake
List several lines of data that all support that the world is warming.
Rise in air temperature near the surface of the earth, rise in sea level, rise in humidity, rise in ocean heat content, rise in sea-surface temperature, rise in temperature over oceans, rise in temperature over land
What is NOAA, and what is its function with respect to climate data?
The NOAA National Climatic Data Center is one of the world's premier centers for archiving, processing and researching climate data. It has observed temperatures of different locations for over two centuries and uses the observations to examine their behavior over time.
What is the Mauna Loa lab, and what is the "Keeling Curve"?
The Mauna Loa Lab is a lab in Hawaii where Charles David Keeling has observed the air and measured Carbon Dioxide counts over the past years. The Keeling Curve shows the increase in Carbon Dioxide concentrations in the air from 1960-2010.
What is the difference between "direct data" and "proxy data"?
Proxy data is data that paleo climatologists gather from natural records of climate variability (tree rings, ice cores, fossil pollen, etc.)
What are types of each?
Tree rings, Ice cores, Fossil Pollen, sediments
What is the value of ice cores?
Ice cores show the Carbon Dioxide count from a long time ago, so scientists are able to observe how the count has changed throughout the years.
Why is an understanding of Carbon isotope data useful?
It helps in understanding how carbon counts have changed over the years; the higher the carbon count, the higher the temperature; depicts the warming of the earth overtime
What are "Milankovich Cycles"?
They describe the collective effects of changes in earth's movements on its climate over thousands of years. Precession (earth's wobbling), Obliquity (axilial tilt; currently at 23.4), and Eccentricity (earth is closer to the sun during the summer) all contribute to earth's temperature. Good at explaining past trends, but not good at explaining what's going on right now.
How do they (Milankovich cycles) influence climate?
At their highest points, we experience inter-glacial periods (hot weather). At their lowest points, we experience glacier periods (cold weather).
Why is modeling used by climatologists?
Modeling is used to consider major factors known to have affected past climate.
They feed data into the model to see which circumstances match up with the warming that has been observed.
Only models that include human releases of greenhouse gases match the actual historic temperature trends.
Name several positive and negative climatic forcers.
Positive forcers include greenhouse gases and dark surfaces with low reflection.
A negative forcer is increased cloud cover.
Describe a negative and positive feedback loop.
Negative feedback loop: Emelliana huxleyi; photosynthetic plankton reduces global warming by absorbing CO2 in photosynthesis, reflecting solar radiation with its coccolith plates, releasing the vapor dimethyl sulfate which scatters incoming radiation and forms nuclei for greater cloud cover
Positive feedback loop is when temperature rises ; more ice melts ; more water is exposed, which absorbs more heat ; temperature rises... etc.; when temperature rises ; ice melts; releasing methane; causing more ice to melt; releases more methane...
Why are we very concerned with negative feedback loops?
There is a "tipping point" when you can't go back to where you started. Global warming could cause some negative feedback loops to decrease, causing it to become a positive feedback loop.
For example, if something causes emelliana populations to decline, such as warmer ocean temperatures, it could act as a positive feedback loop
What role does a thawing tundra play in climate change?
Because the tundra is thawing, methane and carbon dioxide gases are being released, which increases earth's temperature.
What role does Emelliana play in climate change?
Emelliana is a single celled photosynthetic plankton.
It reduces global warming by
- Absorbing carbon dioxide in photosynthesis
- Reflecting solar radiation with it coccolith plates
- Releasing the vapor dimethyl sulfate which scatters incoming radiation and forms nuclei for greater cloud cover
How are atmospheric CO2 and ocean water acidity related?
High levels of dissolved carbon dioxide causes ocean water acidity, which causes certain organisms (like emelliana) to not be able to survive.
What are some ways that plants are responding to increasing atmospheric CO2?
Increases in carbon dioxide cause plants to grow (more pollen, bigger poison ivy leaves).
How are island nations preparing for climate change projection?
Many of their inhabitants are moving away from the island to other countries, such as the island of Kiribati
What are "environmental refugees"?
People that have moved from their home due to environmental issues (such as global warming). New Zealand taking in refugees from Kiribati.
What are drivers of rising sea levels?
- Thermal expansion due to warming of oceans
- Change in land ice, due to melting of mountain glaciers and ice sheets
What is the EPA? What is its purpose?
EPA is an agency of the federal government established under President Nixon (1970) to protect human health and the environment.
What are current changes to the EPA? How might these changes impact the effectiveness of the agency?
President Trump has rolled back 47 of these regulations with 31 more in progress.
Drinking water safety, criminal and civil enforcement, regionally specific programs, superfunds and brownfields, nonpoint source groups, and climate protection will all be impacted by these changes.
Why was the Paris agreement formed (what are its goals)?
The Paris Agreement's goal is to enhance implementation of UNFCCC.
What role does the USA play with respect to the Agreement?
The US left the agreement.
What are ways humans might respond to current global climate change projections?
- Technological fix: human ingenuity and science will be able to solve problems we run into
- Frontier: resources are here for us to use and we'll find others when needed
- Rosy optimism: don't worry, it will work out
- Evaluate and respond: move forward based on best available evidence
Understand various IPCC Working Group III suggestions for dealing with climate change.
- Energy supply
- Carbon capture and storage
What are "stabilization wedges", and why are they an important tool?
They could reduce emissions by 1 gigaton each.
Carbon capture and sequestration, energy efficiency, sustainable energy, nuclear energy, waste management, forests, agriculture
What is the goal of "Climate Engineering"?
The goal is to counter climate change.
What are types of engineering underway or proposed for the future?
Carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management.
(Top Hat) The "Keeling Curve" documents:
Yearly increases in atmospheric CO2 since ~1960.
(Top Hat) We discussed each of the following as providing paleoclimate evidence of past climatic variation except for:
(Top Hat) The most abundant greenhouse gas released by human activity is:
(Top Hat) Data show that the ratio of atmospheric C12/C13 has increased since the industrial revolution, indicating a relative decrease in the amount of atmospheric C13. This phenomenon is attributed to:
the release of atmospheric C12 from the burning of fossil fuels.
(Top Hat) We discussed ice core samples as being valuable indicators of what environmental change?
Increases in historic levels of atmospheric CO2.
(Top Hat) 2014, 2015 and 2016 each broke the global surface temperature record, which was previously set in 2010. Does this mean that there is "global climate change" occurring?
(Top Hat) is NOT considered a greenhouse gas.
(Top Hat) The Greenhouse effect can actually be beneficial and without it we could not live here on earth:
(Top Hat) "Proxy" data are less reliable indicators of climate than are direct measurements.
(Top Hat) Do these two trends indicate "causality" or are the two trends just evidence of "correlation"?
(Top Hat) Is CO2 "good" or "bad" for the environment
(Top Hat) Currently, man-made forcers are playing a stronger role in changing the environment than they have ever in past history.
(Top Hat) Because the United States is part of a large continent, we need not be particularly concerned about the effects of sea level rise.
I do not agree with this statement
(Top Hat) Our federal operating budget is ~ $4 trillion. What percent of this budget gets allocated to the EPA?
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