APES Overview

High Quality Energy
organized & concentrated, can perform useful work (fossil fuel & nuclear)
Ionizing radiation
enough energy to knock electrons from atoms forming ions, capable of causing cancer (gamma-Xrays-UV)
Low Quality Energy
disorganized, dispersed (heat in ocean or air wind, solar)
First Law of Thermodynamics
energy is neither created nor destroyed, but may be converted from one form to another
Second Law of Thermodynamics
when energy is changed from one form to another, some useful energy is always degraded into lower quality energy (usually heat)
Natural radioactive decay
unstable radioisotopes decay releasing gamma rays, alpha & beta particles
Half life
the time it takes for ? the mass of a radioisotope to decay
Estimate of how long a radioactive isotope must be stored until it decays to a safe level
approximately 10 half-lives
Nuclear Fission
nuclei of isotopes split apart when struck by neutrons
Nuclear Fusion
2 isotopes of light elements (H) forced together at high temperatures till they fuse to form a heavier nucleus. Expensive, break even point not reached yet
a rock that contains a large enough concentration of a mineral making it profitable to mine
Organic fertilizer
slow acting & long lasting because the organic remains need time to be decomposed
Best solution to Energy shortage
conservation and increase efficiency
Surface mining
cheaper & can remove more mineral, less hazardous to workers
organic, dark material remaining after decomposition by microorganisms
removal of dissolved materials from soil by water moving downwards
deposit of leached material in lower soil layers (B
perfect agricultural soil with equal portions of sand, silt, clay
allows the use of resources in a responsible manner
setting aside areas & protecting them from human activities
Parts of the hydrologic cycle
evaporation, transpiration, runoff, condensation, precipitation, infiltration
any water bearing layer in the ground
Cone of depression
lowering of the water table around a pumping well
Salt water intrusion
near the coast, overpumping of groundwater causes saltwater to move into the acquifer
El Nino Southern Oscillation, see-sawing of air pressure over the S. Pacific
During an El Nino year
trade winds weaken & warm water sloshed back to SA
During a Non El Nino year
Easterly trade winds and ocean currents pool warm water in the western Pacific, allowing upwelling of nutrient rich water off the West coast of South America
Effects of El Nino
upwelling decreases disrupting food chains, N US has mild winters, SW US has increased rainfall, less Atlantic Hurricanes
Nitrogen fixing
because atmospheric N cannot be used directly by plants it must first be converted into ammonia by bacteria (rhizobium)
decomposers covert organic waste into ammonia
ammonia is converted to nitrate ions (NO-3)
inorganic N is converted into organic molecules such as DNA/amino acids & proteins
bacteria convert ammonia back into N
Phosphorus does not circulate as easily as N because
it does not exist as a gas, but is released by weathering of phosphate rocks
the ability to meet humanities current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs
Excess phosphorus is added to aquatic ecosystems by
runoff of animal wastes, fertilizer, discharge of sewage
: plants convert atmospheric C (CO2) into complex carbohydrates (glucose C6H12O6)
Aerobic respiration
oxygen consuming producers, consumers & decomposers break down complex organic compounds & convert C back into CO2
Largest reservoirs of C
carbonate rocks first, oceans second
: living & nonliving components of an ecosystem
photosynthetic life
Fecal coliform/Enterococcus
indicator of sewage contamination
Energy flow in food webs
only 10% of the usable energy is transferred because usable energy lost as heat (2nd law), not all biomass is digested & absorbed, predators expend energy to catch prey
(good>disinfection of water)( bad>forms trihalomethanes)
Primary succession
development of communities in a lifeless area not previously inhabited by life (lava)
Secondary succession
life progresses where soil remains (clear cut forest, fire)
using waste heat to make electricity
symbiotic relationship where both partners benefit
symbiotic relationship where one partner benefits & the other is unaffected
relationship in which one partner obtains nutrients at the expense of the host
large distinct terrestrial region having similar climate, soil, plants & animals
Carrying capacity
the number of individuals that can be sustained in an area
R strategist
reproduce early, many small unprotected offspring
K strategist
reproduce late, few, cared for offspring
Positive feedback
when a change in some condition triggers a response that intensifies the changing condition (EX: warmer Earth – snow melts – less sunlight is reflected & more is absorbed, therefore warmer earth)
Natural selection
organisms that possess favorable adaptations pass them onto the next generation
said human population cannot continue to increase..consequences will be war, famine & disease
Doubling time
rule of 70 70 divided by the percent growth rate
Replacement level fertility
the number of children a couple must have to replace themselves (2.1 developed, 2.7 developing)
World Population is
6 1/2 billion
US Population
300 million
Preindustrial stage
birth & death rates high, population grows slowly, infant mortality high
Transitional stage
death rate lower, better health care, population grows fast
Industrial stage
decline in birth rate, population growth slows
Postindustrial stage
low birth & death rates
Age structure diagrams
(broad base, rapid growth)(narrow base, negative growth)(uniform shape, zero growth)
1st & 2nd most populated countries
China & India
Most important thing affecting population growth
low status of women
Ways to decrease birth rate
family planning, contraception, economic rewards & penalties
Percent water on earth by type
97.5% seawater, 2.5% freshwater
Salinazation of soil
in arid regions, water evaporates leaving salts behind
Ways to conserve water
(agriculture, drip/trickle irrigation)(industry,recyling)(home, use gray water, repair leaks, low flow fixtures)
Point vs non point sources
(Point, from specific location such as pipe)(Non-point, from over an area such as runoff)
biological oxygen demand, amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic decomposers to break down organic materials
rapid algal growth caused by an excess of N & P
when aquatic plants die, the BOD rises as aerobic decomposers break down the plants, the DO drops & the water cannot support life
Minamata Disease
mental impairments caused by mercury
Primary air pollutants
produced by humans & nature (CO,CO2,SO2,NO,hydrocarbons, particulates)
Negative feedback
when a changing in some condition triggers a response that counteracts the changed condition (EX: warmer earth – more ocean evaporation – more stratus clouds – less sunlight reaches the ground – therefore cooler Earth)
Particulate matter (source,effect,reduction)
(burning fossil fuels & diesel exhaust) (reduces visibility & respiratory irritation) (filtering, electrostatic precipitators, alternative energy)
Nitrogen Oxides
(Source: auto exhaust) (Effects: acidification of lakes, respiratory irritation, leads to smog & ozone) ( Equation for acid formation: NO + O2 = NO2 + H2O = HNO3) (Reduction: catalytic converter)
Sulfur oxides
(Source: coal burning) (Effects: acid deposition, respiratory irritation, damages plants) (Equation for acid formation: SO2 + O2 = SO3 + H2O = H2SO4) (Reduction: scrubbers, burn low sulfur fuel)
Carbon oxides
(Source: auto exhaust, incomplete combustion) (Effects: CO binds to hemoglobin reducing bloods ability to carry O, CO2 contributes to global warming) (Reduction: catalytic converter, emission testing, oxygenated fuel, mass transit)
(Formation: secondary pollutant, NO2+UV=NO+O O+O2=O3, with VOC’s) (Effects: respiratory irritant, plant damage) (Reduction: reduce NO emissions & VOCs)
radioactive gas, formed from the decay of Uranium, causes lung cancer and is a problem in the Reading Prong
Photochemical smog
formed by chemical reactions involving sunlight (NO, VOC,O)
Acid deposition
caused by sulfuric and nitric acids resulting in lowered pH of surface waters
Greenhouse gases
(Examples: H2O, CO2, O3, methane (CH4), CFC’s) (EFFECT: they trap outgoing infrared (heat) energy causing earth to warm
Effects of global warming
Effects of global warming: rising sea level (thermal expansion), extreme weather, droughts (famine), extinctions
Ozone depletion caused by
CFC’s, methyl chloroform, carbon tetrachloride, halon, methyl bromide all of which attack stratospheric ozone
Effects of ozone depletion
increased UV, skin cancer, cataracts, decreased plant growth
Love Canal, NY
chemicals buried in old canal and school & homes built over it causing birth defects & cancer
Municpal solid waste is mostly
paper and most is landfilled
True cost / External costs
harmful environmental side effects that are not reflected in a products price
Sanitary landfill problems and solutions
(leachate, liner with collection system) (methane gas, collect gas and burn) (volume of garbage, compact & reduce)
Incineration advantages
volume of waste reduced by 90% & waste heat can be used
Incineration disadvantages
toxic emissions (polyvinyl chloride—dioxin), scrubbers & electrostatic precipitators needed, ash disposal (contains heavy metals)
Best way to solve waste problem
reduce the amounts of waste at the source
Keystone species
species whose role in an ecosystem are more important than others, ex sea otter
Indicator species
species that serve as early warnings that an ecosystem is being damaged ex trout
Most endangered species
have a small range, require large territory or live on an island
In natural ecosystems, 50-90% of pest species are kept under control by
predators, diseases, parasites
Major insecticide groups and examples
(chlorinated hydrocarbons, DDT) (organophosphates, malathion) (carbamates, aldicarb)
Pesticide pros
saves lives from insect transmitted disease, increases food supply, increases profits for farmers
Pesticide cons
genetic resistance, ecosystem imbalance, pesticide treadmill, persistence, bioaccumulation, biological magnification
Natural pest control
better agricultural practices, genetically resistant plants, natural enemies, biopesticides, sex attractants
Electricity is generated by
using steam (from water boiled by fossils fuels or nuclear) or falling water to turn a generator
Petroleum forms from
microscopic aquatic organisms in sediments converted by heat & pressure into a mixture of hydrocarbons
Pros of petroleum
cheap, easily transported, high quality energy
Cons of petroleum
reserves depleted soon, pollution during drilling, transport and refining, burning makes CO2
Steps in coal formation
peat, lignite, bituminous, anthracite
Major parts of a nuclear reactor
core, control rods, steam generator, turbine, containment building
Two most serious nuclear accidents
(Chernobyl,Ukraine) (Three Mile Island, PA)
Alternate energy sources
wind, solar, waves, biomass, geothermal, fuel cells
the amount of a chemical that kills 50% of the animals in a test population
Mutagen, Teratogen, Carcinogen
causes hereditary changes, Fetus deformities, cancer
Endangered species
North spotted Owl (loss of old growth forest), Bald Eagle (thinning of eggs caused by DDT), Piping Plover (nesting areas threatened by development)
LI Exotic species
gypsy moth, Asian Long Horned Beetle
Garret Hardin & The Tragedy of the Commons
Freedom to breed is bringing ruin to all.
Global commons such as atmosphere & oceans are used by all and owned by none Volcanoes and Earthquakes occ
at plate boundaries (divergent, spreading, mid-ocean ridges) (convergent, trenches) (transform, sliding, San Andreas)
Sources of mercury
burning coal, Compact Fluorescent bulbs
Major source of sulfur
burning coal
Threshold dose
the maximum dose that has no measurable effect
Surface Mining Control & Reclamation Act
requires coal strip mines to reclaim the land
Madrid Protocol
Moratorium on mineral exploration for 50 years in Antarctica
Safe Drinking Water Act
set maximum contaminant levels for pollutants in drinking water that may have adverse effects on human health
Clean Water Act
set maximum permissible amounts of water pollutants that can be discharged into waterways..aim to make surface waters swimmable and fishable
Ocean Dumping Ban Act
bans ocean dumping of sewage sludge & industrial waste in the ocean
Clean Air Act
Set emission standards for cars, and limits for release of air pollutants
Kyoto Protocol
controlling global warming by setting greenhouse gas emissions targets for developed countries
Montreal Protocol
phaseout of ozone depleting substances
Resource Conservation & Recovery Act
controls hazardous waste with a cradle to grave system
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation & Liability Act
Superfund, designed to identify and clean up abandoned hazardous waste dump sites
Nuclear Waste Policy Act
US government must develop a high level nuclear waste site (Yucca Mtn)
Endangered Species Act
identifies threatened and endangered species in the US, and puts their protection ahead of economic considerations
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
lists species that cannot be commercially traded as live specimens or wildlife products
Magnuson- Stevens Act
Mangaement of marine fisheries
Food Quality Protection Act
set pesticide limits in food, & all active and inactive ingredients must be screened for estrogenic/endocrine effects
National Environmental Policy Act
Environmental Impact Statements must be done before any project affecting federal lands can be started
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
Seeks to protect human health from the 12 most toxic chemicals (includes 8 chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides / DDT can be used for malaria control)