52 terms

Environmental Science I

Environmental Science
Study of how humans interact with the environment
3 main issues studied in Enviro
Understanding and solving environmental problems
understand how we use natural resources
understand how our actions alter the environment
number and variety of species that live in an area
condition in which human needs are met in such a way that human population can survive indefinitely
Natural Resource
Any natural material that is used by humans
renewable resource
resource that can be replaced relatively quickly by natural processes
nonrenewable resource
resource that forms at a much slower rate than the rate that it is consumed
Ecological footprint
shows the productive area of the Earth needed to support one person in a particular country
undesired change in air, water, or soil that negatively affects health, survival, activities
broken down by natural processes; problematic only when accumulate too fast
Non biodegradable
can't be broken down by natural processes
Tragedy of the Commons
When everyone is responsible for taking care of an area, no one does
Continues until collapse
Best long-term solution may be negative for individuals short-term
Small groups that migrated to forage/hunt food
Burned prairies to prevent trees; forced grasslands
Spread seeds while migrating
Little pollution, little waste
Agricultural Revolution
growing, breeding plants & animals for use
Farming allowed increased population size and concentration
Selective breeding & hybridization changed what plants grew & were eaten
Converting forests, etc. to farmland causes soil loos, flooding, water shortage, habitat destruction
Farming destroys the natural fertility of soil (requires artificial fertilizers)
Industrial Revolution
changed from using animals, water for power to using fossil fuels
use of machines requires fewer people and less land for farming
Population growth, concentration in urban areas continued
Fuel & engines allow food & goods to be transported long distances
more pollution & artificial substances
Supply and demand
for a limited supply of an item: the more people want it, the more one can charge for it
Solution to high prices: pay more, use less, or find new sources
Cost-Benefit analysis
balance the cost of doing something with the benefit one gets from it
Risk assessment
understanding the true likelihood of an undesirable outcome
Helps with cost-benefit analysis
Developed nation
higher avg. incomes, slower population growth, diverse economies, stronger social support systems
Developing nation
lower avg. incomes, rapid population growth, simple agrarian economies
Scientific method
Hypothesizing and Predicting
Organizing and Analyzing data
Drawing conclusions
Repeating Experiments
Communicating Results`
Control group
Does not receive treatment. You leave this how it would normally be
Middle value
most recurring value
relative arrangement of the members of a statistical population
(pattern that bars on a bar graph create when viewed as a whole)
How are statistics important to Environmental science?
collection and classification of numerical data
used to summarize, characterize, analyze, and compare data
Sample size
size of the group of individuals or events selected to represent the population
Decision-making model/process (& values)
Gather information
consider values
explore consequences
make a decision
Layers of the earth
CRUST - Lithosphere
MANTLE - Asthenosphere, mesosphere
CORE - Outer core, inner core
Biggest layer of earth
How do scientists learn about the composition of the interior layers of the earth?
When earthquakes occur
There are several spots around the globe that calculate the time it took for the movement to reach them, and then calculated their position relative to the others' to find out the properties of the matter in between
What causes earthquakes?
Collision or separation of tectonic plates
What causes volcanoes?
liquid bursts up through the plate
Sliding/slipping of tectonic plates
What causes mountains?
Collision of tectonic plates
All water on or near Earth's surface
% of earth covered by water
% of usable water
Mechanisms by which water changes form or moves
water cycle
movement of water through land, air, and back
Specific heat
high specific heat which regulates earth temperature
How does the ocean affect climate globally and locally
provides consistent heat when needed and absorbs heat as necessary
Layers of the atmosphere
(bottom to top)
troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, exosphere, magnosphere
Hot layers
stratosphere, thermosphere
Cold layers
troposphere, stratosphere
In the Stratosphere
importance of Ozone
Protects from UV rays by absorbing UV light
How do/can we effect the Ozone?
If it's too close to the earth - smog
Chemicals that react with O3 deplete the ozone layer in the stratosphere
Greenhouse effect
Gases trap heat near Earth by absorbing heat radiated by land and re-radiating it toward land
Where are the greenhouse gases?
troposphere (lower atmosphere)
Why are greenhouse gases important?
Because they keep the earth warm
move air in a circular motion
How do/can we affect it?
1. Decrease emissions (oil, coal, natural gas)
2. increase the Earth's albedo - how much sunlight a surface reflects (if we make the earth reflect more light, less light and heat will be absorbed, and the Earth will cool)
Shell of earth where life can exist
9 km up into the atmosphere, and 10 km down into hydrosphere