Earth, Environmental, and Ocean Science  

Order Description

A.) You may use any source of information except human resources. Textbook, web sources, library sources, etc are fine.  Please list the sources that you have used at the end of each question.
B.) Feel free to write in figures, drawings, and equations if necessary by hand.
C.) As a rule of thumb, you are not expected to spend more than 1.5 hours per question. This means that you might spend ~1 hour researching the question and 30 minutes writing your answers.
D.) Please provide detailed support for any of your statements or answers.  In other words, a simple “yes” or “no”, “agree” or “disagree”, or “I think it is clean”, is not a complete answer and will not receive credit.  A complete answer takes the form of “Yes, because … and therefore…” or “I think it is clean because …. “.
E.) There is not necessarily any right or wrong answers to these questions.  It will be graded on the ability to think and write critically in addressing these environmental issues.  More detailed, supportive responses will be more valued than generalizations.

a.)    Place a hula hoop (real or imagined) (a hula hoop is a 1 m diameter circle) around a vegetated area in your backyard (park, school).  [This is a real assignment, not an imaginary one.  Do it!  Spend at least 5 minutes examining your area.]  How many species do you count?  Describe them.  (2 points)

b.) Choose one of the species in the hula hoop. Describe its ecological niche.  (3 points)

c.) If you were to shade this area with a canopy for a month, how would the species distribution (and abundance) change?  Explain your reasoning.  (2 points)

d.) Name one species that you found in your hula hoop (could be the same or different from the one in (b)). How can you alter abiotic or biotic conditions to promote the success of that one species at the expense of the others? (3 points)

2.)    CLIMATE

a.) What factors determine the mean (average) monthly temperatures at Great Blue Hill (located in Canton, MA, 6 miles southwest of Boston)?  Which of these factors are regional factors? Which are global? (4 points)

b.) Is this year’s temperature record at Great Blue Hill an indication of global warming?  Why or why not? (3 points)

c.) What else would you need to know in order to answer b) better? (3 points)
Below is a graph of total Global Ozone Change (red line) compared with a 15-year average (straight black line) taken before the recent decline.

a.)    Explain how the manufacture and release of certain chemicals has influenced this graph.  Specifically, why did Total Global Ozone start decreasing around 1980?  Why did it level off in the early 1990s? (6 points)

b.) Describe the processes that create a maximum of ozone at the South Pole (Antarctica) around 15 km in the October average from 1967-1971 (before the recent depletion).  IN other words, why is there a maximum in the blue line at 15 km? What were the processes that decreased these values at 15 km in the 1986 (green) and 2001 (red) curves? (4 points)


a.) Why is there a bimodal distribution of elevations on the surface of the earth?  (4 points)

b.) Why is there so much of the earth’s surface at or near sea-level? (3 points)

c.) Why hasn’t Mt. Everest eroded down to sea-level?  Why hasn’t the Mariana Trench filled up with sediment? (3 points)


(A)                                               (B)

a.) Identify the coastal features in the photo on the left (A).  What processes formed these features? Explain. (3 points)

b.) Identify the coastal features in the photo on the right (B).  What processes formed these features? Explain. (3 points)

c.) What might be the future of (A) and (B) in 1, 10, and 100 years? Why?  (4 points)

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