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APES Semester 1


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Human population growth
Affrican famines
Sustainability of the human population and nature (3)
Sustainable human population sizes and carrying capacities of the earth.
Sustainable ecosystem vs. sustainable development.
What is required to create a sustainable global economy?

The global perspective
Impact of human population on growth of global environment
Gaia hypothesis
Life manipulates the environment for the maintenance of life.
An urbanizing world: What unique environmental challenges do cities create?
Increasing human migration to urban centers
Connections between people and nature
Human control of nature vs. humans interconnection with the natural world
Science and values
Solutions to our environmental problems require knowledge of natural science.
The environment can be viewed as having aesthetic, creative, inspirational, recreational, moral, cultural, ecological and utilitarian values.
Science starts with...
observations about the natural world followed by questions that boil down to what, how and why.
Explanations are scientific if...
they can be disproved.
Inductive reasoning
Drawing a general conclusion from a limited set of specific observations.
Deductive reasoning
Drawing a conclusion from initial definitions and ssumptions by means of logical reasoning.
Science requires...
inductive reasoning with correct premises and correct deductive reasoning.
The degree of exactness with which a quantity is measured. A very precise measurement may not be accurate.
The extent to which a measurement agrees with the accepted value. It is checked by comparison with observation made by scientists.
Scientific method (8)
Collect Data
Interpret data- graphs
Compare conclusion and hypothesis
Additional experiments

Micro-models or mathematical models
Test premises but not final inferences. Use of historical data is critical
Positive Feedback
An increase in output leads to a further increase in the output. "A vicious cycle" and is destabilizing.
Negative feedback
An increase in output leads to a later decrease. Self-regulating, stabilizing, it usually keeps a system in a relatively constant condition.
Exponential growth
Positive feedback- It occurs at a constant rate per time period (rather than a constant amount)
Environmental unity
It is impossible to change only one thing; everything affects everything else.
Physical and biological processes presently forming and modifying earth can help explain the geological and evolutionary history of earth.
"The present is the key to the past."
Steady state
The input into a system is equal to the output, there is no net change in the size of the reservoir.
Average residence time (ART)
The time it takes for a given part of the total reservoir of a particular material to be cycled through the system.
Total size of the reservoir/average rate of transfer through the reservoir=ART
ART is a concept that gives us...
important information about how quickly systems can respond to changes in input or output.
Extinction is the...
fate of all species- new organisms will replace us
Earth as a living system
Biological communities interacting with each other and with earth's hydrosphere, geosphere, and atmosphere.
The space where life occures on earth
Communities of organisms and their local nonliving environment in which matter cycles and energy flows.
Sustained life on Earth is a characteristic of ecosystems, not of individual organims or populations or single species.
Lag time
The time between a stimulus and the response of a system.
Short lag time = easy to identify consequences
Long lag time = resulting changes are more difficult to recognize

Irreversible consequences
Consequences that may not be easily rectified on a human scale of decades or a few hundred years.
Deterioration of land in arid, semiarid, and dry subhumid areas due to changes in climate and human activities, like the removal of vegetation.
Environmental economics
Evaluation of intagibles
Developing methods for evaluating intangibles that provide good guidelines, are easy to understand and are quantitatively credible.
Low growth rate of a biological resource in the commons
More economically beneficial and profitable to exploit the whole resource at once than to sustain. Less costs maintaining boats and paying crews (whale)
Tragedy of the commons
Public lands that are used for private use are exploited
Public service function
Ecosystems maintaining clean air and water without our help. (Bees pollunating)
Natural capital
The ecological systems that provide benefits to human beings and other forms of life have been estimated to provide between $3 trillion to $33 trillion per year.
Risk-benefit analysis
The riskiness of an action in terms of its possible outcomes is weighed against the benefit, or value, of the action.
Global issues: Who bears the costs?
Developing nations did not share in the economic benefits of the tragedy of the commons, but they are sharing the disadvantages. Who pays the future costs? Industrialized nations?
Moral suasion
Persuading people by talk, publicity, and social pressure
Direct controls
Regulations established by law
Market processes
Affects the price of goods and includes taxation of various kinds, subsidies, licenses and deposits.
Direct control or pollution (3)
Setting maximum levels of emissions
Requiring specific procedures and processes that reduce pollution
Charging fees for pollution emission

Marginal cost
The cost of reducing one additional unit of ie. pollution. With pollution, the marginal cost increases rapidly as the percentage of reduction increases.
Properties of water
Capacity to absorb and store heat
Universal solvent
High surface tension

Properties of water (real)
Capacity to absorb and store heat
Universal solvent
High surface tension
Solid form is lighter than its liquid form
Sunlight penetrates water

Hydrologic cycle
Global transfer of water from the atmosphere to the land and oceans and back to the atmosphere.
97%- oceans (saltwater)
2%- glacial ice (freshwater)
1%- available to humans

Ground water
Water below the water table, where saturated conditions exist
Water table
The upper surface of groundwater
Discharge zones
Where goundwater flows or seeps out at the surface towards the sea, such as springs
Recharge zones
Where surface waters move into, or infiltrate the ground
A body of ground water from which ground water can be obtained at a useful rate. (A well)
Effluent stream
Flow is maintained during the dry season by groundwater seepage into the stream channel from the subsurface
Influent stream
Is entirely above the water table and flows only in direct response to precipitation
Perennial stream
Flows all year because it constantly receives groundwater to sustain flow
Ephemeral stream
Doesn't flow all year
Water budget
Model that balances the inputs, outputs, and storage of water in a system.
Groundwater withdrawal from wells exceeds natural inflow
Leads to damage of river ecosystems
Technology to remove salt from water
Off-stream use
Water removed from its source, like a river or reservoir.
In-stream use
Includes the use of rivers for navigation, hydroelectric power generation
Major uses of water (2)
Thermoelectric power
Water conservation (2)
Improved irrigation- reduce seepage and evaporation
Domestic use- xeric landscaping, efficient fixtures, gray water for irrigation
Sustainable water use
Use of water resources by people in a way that allows society to develop and flourish into an indefinite future without degrading the various components of the hydrologic cycle or the ecological systems that depend on it
Groundwater sustainability
Balancing withdrawals of groundwater resources with recharge of those resources
Variable-water-source approach (4)
Santa Barbara, California
Importing state water, developing new sources, using reclaimed water, instituting a permanent conservation program
Areas where the surface soil is permanently or periodically flooded, whih gives the soils unique chemical properties
Wetland's critical ecological functions (8)
Absorb water during flood
Areas of recharge or discharge
Harbor threatened and endangered species
Important nursery areas
Filter and cleanse water
Carbon sinks
Protect human infrastructure against destructive storms

Purpose of dams (3)
To control flooding (drawing down the reservoir in anticipation of high precipitation), hold back water in times of surplus for later use, and hydroelectric power
Environmental impacts of dams (3)
Loss of land, cultural and biological resources
Trap sediment which leads to a decline in coastal fisheries
Alters the hydroperiod of the river (covering of wetlands)

Benefits (4)
Disadvantages (5)

Straightening, deepening, widening, clearing, or lining existing stream channels.
Benefits: Controls floods, improves drainage, controls erosion, and improves navigation
Disadvantages: Degradation of hydrologic qualities, removal of vegetation, downstream flooding, damage or loss of wetlands, aesthetic degradation

Colorado River
Most regulated and controversial bodies of water in the world.
No water is left for environmental purposes. All the water is stored in dams and used upstream so little water flows into the Gulf of California.
Water shortage and global food supply
Decrease in surface and groundwater leads to decrease in irrigation and production of food.
Point source pollution
Distinct and confined, such as pipes from industrial or municipal sites that empty into streams or rivers
Nonpoint source
Such as runoff, diffused and intermittent. Generally associated with agriculture, mining and forestry. Difficult to monitor and control
Biochemical oxygen demand (5)
A measure of the amount of oxygen consumed by microorganisms in water in a fixed amount of time.
When BOD is high, the oxygen concentration in the water can be reduced to levels that are too low for many fish species and other organisms.
High BOD is a cause of fish kills.
High BOD can happen because of a rapid "bloom" of algae caused by nutrients.
High BOD happens when the algae dies in mass. Or can happen when organics (blood from meat packing factory) is dumped into a river directly, which leads to a zone of low oxygen

Fecal coliform bacteria
Lives in the digestive systems of mammals
E. coli
Nitrogen and Phosphorus
Fertilizers and sewage
Nutrient levels can reach such high levels in bodies of water that algal populations explode. As algal pop crashes, the decomposition of their remains robs the water of oxygen (high BOD)= fish kills
The process by which a body of water develops a high concentration of nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous. The nutrients cause an increase in the growth of aquatic plants and well as production of photosynthetic blue-green bacteria and algae. Algae shades the water, reducing light, causing bacteria and algae to die, as the decompose, BOD increases, oxygen in the water is consumed, and oxygen content is reduced, fish will dies.
Cultural eutrophication
When eutrophication is accelerated by human processes that add nutrients to a body of water
Oil Pollution
Oil is discharged into water from tankers, oil spills, and runoff from roadways which collect the oil leaks from our vehicles. Highly toxic and causes cancer.
Sediment pollution
Results from erosion, which depeletes a land resource (soil) and reduces water quality
Acid mine drainage
Occurs when precipitation percolates through mine tailings rich in sulfidic minerals. The sulfides are oxidized by oxygen in the water or air to produce sulfuric acid. The acid water then drains into nearby lakes and streams. Effects on local ecosystems can be severe.
Surface-water pollution (2)
Occurs from both point and non-point sources.
In the U.S. non-point sources from agriculture are the major water quality problems.
Groundwater pollution
Groundwater has a low turnover time. Pollution is hard to rectify when it occurs. Contamination must be cleaned by a pump and treat process that is expensive and time consuming
Treatment of groundwater accomplished under ground by microorganisms that consume the gasoline.
Land application of wastewater
Recycling the waste and nutrients back into an ecosystem, such as an agricultural ecosystem
Indirect water reuse
A planned endeavor
Treated water eventually enters groundwater storage to be reused for agricultural and municipal purposes
Direct water reuse
Treated wastewater that is piped directly from a treatment plant to the next user. Used in industry, agricultural activity, parks.
Drinking Water Act 1974
Law required the EPA to establish standards, called maximum contaminant levels, for any pollutant that may have adverse effects on human health
Causes of Climate Change (6)
Regulation of earth's temperature:
1. incoming solar radiation
2. albedo
3. atmospheric absorption of infrared radiation
4. evaporation and condensation of water vapor (affecting 2 & 3)
5. Milankovich cycles- Earth's orbit and tilt
6. Methane release from ocean

Reflected sunlight
Atmosphere (4)
Prevailing wind patterns
Processes that remove material from the atmosphere

Troposphere and Stratosphere
Ozone layer
Particles heavier than air settle out
Precipitation can physically and chemically flush material from the atmosphere
Reaction in which oxygen is chemically combined with another substance
Solar radiation can break down chemical bonds in a chemical process
Temperature and precipitation patterns
Changes in climate are naturally historical
The climate of a very small local area. ex. climate under a tree, near the ground within a forest, or near the surface of streets in a city
Ocean conveyor belt
melting icecaps may change salinity and "shut down" ocean conveyor belt currents
El Nino
decreases upwellings off the coast of Peru/California; changes temperature and precipitation patterns

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