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3

What type of climate would be best suited for solar panel energy use?

Kate M.
Featured 1 month ago

While solar panels can be used in multiple locations, areas with low cloud coverage and that receive large amounts of solar energy are best for solar panels.

Explanation:

Areas with low cloud coverage and that receive large amounts of solar energy are best for solar panels.

Solar panels can still produce energy on cloudy days, but they don't provide as much energy when compared to sunny days. Thus, areas with few cloudy days are best for solar panels.

The northwestern United States is typically known for it's rainy climate, and it does receive a lot of run. However, Portland, Oregon doesn't have that many more cloudy days than Miami, Florida (68 sunny days on average per year compared to 74 days-see here).

The amount of solar energy that reaches the solar panel is also going to effect how efficient it is and this varies across the globe. As you can see in the map below, light intensity is greater at the equator.

However, it is important to note that solar panels have limits in terms of their efficiency when it comes to sunlight intensity. After a certain temperature, the solar panel actually becomes less efficient (see image below). This is typically only an issue under very warm temperatures. For example, this might be a concern if you live in a desert.

Remember that solar panels work by using excited electrons that are knocked free from photons or light. As temperature increases, it takes less and less energy to knock these electrons free and thus less energy is transferred when the photon knocks the electron free.

3

Why are CAFOs widely used, and what are the major environmental problems associated with them?

Kate M.
Featured 1 month ago

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are widely used because they lower costs but they produce a lot of animal waste that isn't treated.

Explanation:

Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are widely used because they lower costs. More animals can be raised in less space, and thus the output is maximized while costs are lowered.

In terms of environmental problems, CAFOs produce a lot of animal waste that needs to be handled properly. Whereas human waste is treated, animal waste or manure is not.

The manure produced by these animals includes whatever chemicals have been added to their feed, and these additions can result in nutrient concentrations that would not normally be found in the animals' manure or chemicals that wouldn't be present at all.
For example, because they are in such confined spaces, animals in CAFOs are at risk for diseases and may be given antibiotics in their food. Thus, if the manure is applied as fertilizer, this can pose a problem.

Waste can leach (dissolve into) into the soil and eventually contaminate the groundwater. Nearby lakes and streams can also be affected.

The image below shows waste ponds. If not carefully monitored, these ponds have the potential to contaminate the surrounding ecosystem through leaching and during particularly heavy precipitation events.

2

How is the carbon cycle affected by global warming?

Kate M.
Featured 1 month ago

Increased temperatures affect the carbon cycle by lowering the amount of CO2 absorbed by oceans, melting permafrost which exposes the land underneath which then releases CO2 and CH4, and other

Explanation:

The carbon cycle describes how carbon moves and is transformed in the world. Global warming refers to increasing average global temperatures due to increases in greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide or CO2, in the atmosphere. Another important GHG is methane, CH4, is also increasing in the atmosphere.

Thus, the carbon cycle and global warming are intricately connected, as increasing carbon in the atmosphere means there is less carbon elsewhere in the cycle. Several feedback effects can be expected with higher temperatures:

• Warmer oceans are less able to absorb CO2.
• Higher temperatures also means melting permafrost, which will release carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere.

• In areas with low precipitation, increased temperatures may increase the risk for forest fires, which would then release more carbon from the plant life into the atmosphere.
• Increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations is thought to have a direct effect on peat forests, causing the bogs to release more CO2 (see here).

Global warming will impact the carbon cycle in multiple ways, not all of which are fully understood.

How is carbon related to global warming?
How can the carbon cycle affect our planet?
How does carbon affect climate change?

3

How does the water cycle change, based on what biome we're talking about?

Kate M.
Featured 1 month ago

Depending on the biome in question, the rates of certain steps of the cycle may change and reservoirs of water may change.

Explanation:

Depending on the biome in question, the rates at which certain steps of the water cycle (transpiration, precipitation, etc) may change. Where water is stored my also change.

Water cycle:

For example, in a rainforest biome, we wouldn't expect water to be stored in glaciers or ice. It's simply too hot for this. However, we would expect water to be stored in glaciers and/or ice in a montane biome.

The length of time the water is stored there may vary depending on conditions: in some habitats we may expect temperatures to climb high enough that any ice covering mountain tops melts during the warmer months, but this may not be true in other habitats.

In the biomes where there is little (or even no) vegetation, less water will be returned to the atmosphere via transpiration than in more heavily vegetated biomes.

Water cycle in the arctic:

The rate at which water percolates or infiltrates the soil may also change depending on the biome as will runoff rates, precipitation rates, the rate at which water is stored as groundwater, and evaporation. Different biomes receive different amount of precipitation, different amounts of sunlight, have different soil types and topography, and all of these variables will affect the water cycle and the rates certain processes occur.

2

What contributes to the greenhouse effect?

Kate M.
Featured 1 month ago

Greenhouse gases contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Explanation:

The greenhouse effect is caused by increasing amounts of greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Since roughly the time of the industrial revolution, humans have been adding significant amounts of specific GHGs to the atmosphere.

These increases are anthropogenic in origin. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, methane, ozone, water vapor, and others. Carbon dioxide and methane are the two GHGs of greatest concern. The former is emitted at very high rates and the latter persists in the atmosphere for a very long period of time. Burning of fossil fuels is a major source of increased GHG emissions.

3

How does ozone protect us?

James C.
Featured 3 weeks ago

Protects us from harmful UVB and UVC radiation.

Explanation:

In the Stratosphere the ozone layer absorbs harmful UVB and UVC radiation, however allowing UVA (and small amount of UVB), for photosynthesis and vitamin D, which are both essential for life.

Every time an ozone reacts with UV light, it absorbs it. This is due to the process known as the 'Ozone–oxygen cycle':

1. An oxygen molecule undergoes photodissociation by high frequency UV. This creates to oxygen free radicals.

2. O_2(g) rarr 2O·(g)

3. O_2(g) + O·(g) rarr O_3(g)

4. The ozone molecule absorbs UVB and UVC radiation, dissociates into oxygen and oxygen free radicals.

5. O_3(g) rarr O·(g) + O_2(g)

6. Any remaining oxygen free radicals are removed by reacting with remaining ozone. This creates oxygen gas, and thus the cycle can start over.

7. O_3(g) + O·(g) rarr 2O_2(g)

If there was no ozone, an increased penetration of UVC and UVB would increase skin cancer and damage plants and animals. High UV penetration can become the catalyst for the formation of photochemical smog, which occurs in the Troposphere.

3

What are the different layers of the atmosphere?

Kate M.
Featured 2 weeks ago

The layers of the atmosphere from bottom to top are the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere, and the exosphere.

Explanation:

The layers of the atmosphere from bottom to top are the troposphere, the stratosphere, the mesosphere, the thermosphere, and the exosphere.

We live in the troposphere and most of our weather comes from this layer of the atmosphere.

The next layer up is the stratosphere , which is where the ozone layer is found and where planes flying long distances tend to fly.

If you're ever watching a meteor shower, you're looking at meteors in the mesosphere, the third layer of the atmosphere.

The next layer is the thermosphere, which is where the International Space Shuttle can be found. This layer spans from around 80km to 550km above the Earth's surface and this is the largest layer of the atmosphere (see image below). There are no clouds in the thermosphere. This is where the aurora borealis is.

The final layer is the exosphere. Most satellites are in the exosphere and the aurora borealis occasionally occurs in the very lowest portion of the exosphere.

1

What is the difference between corrosion and erosion?

Pitufox27
Featured 1 week ago

Corrosion is a chemical change and erosion is just a physical one.

Explanation:

Corrosion is an electrochemical process by which certain materials (eg iron) undergo a change in their oxidation state and combine with some compound present in the environment. In the case of iron and other metals, the most typical corrosion process is its oxidation in the presence of atmospheric oxygen:

$M \left(s\right) + {O}_{2} \left(g\right) \rightarrow {M}_{x} {O}_{y} \left(s\right)$.

Corrosion, therefore, is a chemical-like phenomenon that modifies the nature of the material that corrodes, changing its chemical composition.

Erosion, on the other hand, is a physical phenomenon which consists in the fact that certain natural phenomena (wind, rain, movement of glaciers ...) modify the shape of the materials by mere dragging of the soft materials of their surface (in the case Erosion due to movement) or dissolution in the water of others.

2

What are the causes and effects of ozone depletion?

Kate M.
Featured 1 week ago

See below.

Explanation:

Ozone depletion is primarily caused by human activities. The main effect of ozone depletion is an increase in UV-B rays reaching the earth's surface.

Causes : chlorofluorocarbon (CFCs), halons, and other compounds deplete the ozone layer. These chemicals are found in cleaning agents, aerosols, insulating foam, and refrigerants. CFCs and halons break down into chlorine and bromine which in turn destroy the ozone layer.

Effects :
Humans: an increase in UV-B rays means a higher risk of skin cancer, eye cataracts, and blindness. Read more here.

Marine life: Phytoplankton and zooplankton are very sensitive to the amount of light in their environment, and increases in UV-B rays would greatly affect them. Because these organisms are the base of the food chain, declines in their numbers would likely have wide-reaching effects for all marine life. Read more here.

Plants: UV-B rays negatively affect plants, including crops humans rely on. An increase in UV-B rays can mean smaller leaf size, decreased plant growth, and lower quality crops for humans. Plants form the basis for most food chains, thus negative effects would likely cascade to those organisms relying on them. Plants are also very important in terms of respiration, photosynthesis, soil stability, and a decline in plant productivity/reduced plant growth would potentially affect soil erosion and productivity and the carbon cycle. Read more here.

1

Why is the water cycle important to all life on the earth?

Kate M.
Featured 1 week ago