Study your flashcards anywhere!

Download the official Cram app for free >

  • Shuffle
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Alphabetize
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Front First
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Both Sides
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off
  • Read
    Toggle On
    Toggle Off

How to study your flashcards.

Right/Left arrow keys: Navigate between flashcards.right arrow keyleft arrow key

Up/Down arrow keys: Flip the card between the front and back.down keyup key

H key: Show hint (3rd side).h key

A key: Read text to speech.a key


Play button


Play button




Click to flip

116 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Ionizing Radiation
enough energy to knock electrons from atoms forming ions, capable of causing cancer (ex gamma, xrays)
High Quality Energy
organized and concentrated, can perform useful work (ex fossil fuel and nuclear)
Low Quality Energy
disorganized and dispersed (ex heat in 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 and beta particles
Half Life
the time it takes for 1/2 the mass of a radioactive element to decay
Estimate of how long a readioactive 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 forced together at high temperatures til they fuse and form a heavier nucleus. Expensive, break even point not reached yet
rock that contains a large enough concentration of a minteral making it profitable to mine
Organic Fertilizer
slow acting and long lasting because the organic remains need time to be decomposed
Best Solution to energy shortage
conservation and increased efficiency
Surface Mining
cheaper and can remove more mineral, less hazardous to workers
removal of dissolved materials from soil by water moving downwards
deposit of leached material in lower portions of sand, silt and clay
perfect agricultural soil with equal portions layers (B)
allows the use of resources in a responsible manner
setting aside areas and protecting them from human activities
Parts of the hydrologic cycle
evaporation, transpiration, run off, 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 saltwaterto move into the aquifer
El Nino Southern Oscillation- see sawing of air pressure over the S. Pacific
During an El Nino year
trade winds weaken and warm water sloshed back to South America
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 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 can not be used directly by plants it must first be converted into ammonia by bacteria
inorganic N is converted to Nitrate Ions (NO-3)
bacteria convert ammonia back to N
Phosphorous does not circulate as easily as N because
it does not exist as a gas butis 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 Phosphorous is added to aquatic ecosystemsby
run off of animal wastes, fertilizer, discharge of sewage
plants convert atmospheric C (CO2) into complex carbohydrates (glucose C6H12)6)
Aerobic Respiration
oxygen consuming producers, consumers and decomposers break down complex organic compounds and convert C back into CO2
Largest reservoirs of C
carbonate rocks first, oceans second
living and non-living components of an ecosystem
photosynthetic life
Fecal Coliform
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 and 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)
using waste heat to make electricity
symbiotic relationship where both partners benefit
symbiotic relationship where one partner benefits and the other is unaffected
relationship in which one partner obtains nutrients from at the expense of the host
large distinct terrestrial region having similar climate, soil,plants animals,dependent upon latitude and rainfall-
Carrying Capacity
the number of individuals that can be sustained in an area
R strategist
reproduce early, many small unprotected off spring
(fish, frogs, insects)
Positive feedback
when a change in condition triggers a response that intensifies the changing condition (ex. warmer earth leads to snow melt, less sunlight is reflected and more is absorbed by earth leading to an even warmer earth)
Natural Selection
organisms that possess favorable adaptations pass them onto the next generation
said human population cannot continue to increase the result is war famine and disease
Doubling time
Rule of 70

70 divided by the percent growth rate
Replacement level fertility
number of children a couple must have to replace themselves (2.1 developed countries 2.7 developing)
World Population is:
US Population is:
almost 6.5 BILLION
300 million
Preindustrial stage
birth and death rates high, population grows slowly, infant mortality high
Postindustrial stage
low birth and death rates
Age structure diagrams
broad base rapid growth
narrow base negative growth
uniform shape zero growth
1st and 2nd most populated countries
China and India
Biological Oxygen Demand
amount of dissolved oxygen needed by aerobic decomposers to break down organic materials
rapid algal growth due to an excess of N and P
when aquatic plants die, the BOD rises as aerobic decomposers break down the plants the DO drops and the water cannot support life
Minamata Disease
mental impairment caused by Hg
Primary Air Pollutants
produced by humans and nature (CO2, CO, SO2, NO, hydrocarbons, particulates)
Negative Feedback
when a change in some condition triggers a response that counteracts the changed condition (warmer earth -more ocean evaporation - more stratus clouds-less sunlight reaches the earth - cooler earth
Particulate matter (source, effect, reduction)
burning fossil fuels and car exhaust, reduces visibility and respiratory irritation, filtering, electrostatic precipitators, alternative energy
Nitrogen Oxides
auto exhaust
acidification of lakes, respiratory irritation, leads to smog and ozone
acid formation = NO+O2=HNO3
Catalytic converters
Sulfur Oxides
coal burning
acid deposition,respiratory irritation, damages plants
scrubbers, burn low sulfur coal
Carbon Oxides
source e
auto exhaust,incomplete combustion
CO binds to hemoglobin reducing ability to carry O in blood, CO2 contributes to global warming
catalytic converter, emission testing, oxygenated fuel, mass transit
Secondary pollutant, NO2+UV =NO +O O+O2= O3, with VOCs
respiratory irritant, plant damage,
Reduce NO emissions and VOCs
radioactive gas, formed from the decay of Uranium, causes lung cancer
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
H2O, CO2, O3, CH4, CFCs
trap outgoing infrared heat
energy causing earth to warm
Effects of Global Warming
rising sealevel (thermal expansion), extreme weather, droughts (famine), extinctions
Ozone depletion caused by
CFCs, 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
chemicals buried in old canal and school and homes built over it causing birth defects and cancer - Superfund Site
Municipal Solid Waste
is mostly paper and most is landfilled
True cost/External Cost
harmful environmental side effects that are not reflected in a products price
Sanitary Landfill problems and solutions
leachate, liner with collection systems
methane collect gas and burn
volume of garbage compact and reduce
Incineration advantages
volume of waste reduced by 90% and waste heat can be used
Incineration disadvantages
toxic emissions, polyvinyl chloride - dioxin
scrubbers and electrostatic precipitators needed, ash disposal contains heavy metals
Best way to solve waste problems
reduce teh 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 a natural ecosystem, 50-90% of pest species are kept under control by
predators., diseases and parasites
Major insecticide groups
chlorinated hydrocarbons -DDT
organophosphates - malathion
Pesticide Pros
saves lives from insect transmitted diseases, increases food supply increases profits for farmers
Pesticide Cons
genetic resistance, ecosystem imbalance, pesticide treadmill,persistence, bioaccumulation, biomagnification
Natural pest Control
better agricultural practices, genetically resistant plants, natural enemies, biopesticides, sex attractants
Electricity is generated by
using steam (from water boiled by fossil fuels or nuclear power) or falling water to turn generator
Petroleum forms from
microscopic aquatic organisms in sediments converted by heat and pressure into a mixture of hydrocarbons
Pros of petroleum
cheap,easily transported, high quality energy
Cons of petroleum
reserves limited, pollution during drilling, transport and refining burning makes CO2
Steps in coal formation
peat lignite bituminous, anthracite
Major parts of reactor core
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, geothermal, fuel cells,
LD 50
amount of chemical that kills 50% of the animals in the test population
Mutagen, Teratogen, Carcinogen
causes hereditary changes, Fetus deformities, cancer
Endangered Species
Northern Spotted Owl (loss of old growth forest)
Bald Eagle )thinning of egg shells caused by DDT, Piping Plover, nesting areas threatened by development
LI Exotic Species
gypsy moth
Asian Long Horned Beetle
Garrett Hardin and the Tragedy of the Commons
Freedom to breed is bringing ruin to all, Global commons such as atmosphere and oceans are used by all and owned by none.
Volcanoes and Earthquakes occur
at plate boundaries (divergent, spreading, mid-ocean ridges)(convergent, trenches) (transform,sliding, San Andreas)
Ozone Depletion caused by
CFCs methyl chloride, carbon tetrachloride, halon, methyl bromide, all of which attack stratospheric ozone
Effects of Ozone depletion
increased UV, skin cancer, cataracts, decreased plant growth
K strategist
reproduce late, few, cared for offspring
decomposers convert organic waste into ammonia
Ammonia is converted to nitrate ions NO-3
Most endangered species
have a small range or require large territory or live on an island
inorganic N is converted into organic molecules suchas DNA/amino acids and proteins
industrial stage
decline in birth rate, population growth slows
transitional stage
death rate lower, better health care, population grows fast