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  • Published on: 15th October 2019
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Exam 2

10. Please name three options discussed in class for flood mitigation, provide details in your answers.

Three options or constructs that can be used to reduce flood intensity and severity, flood mitigation, are dams, retaining basins, artificial levees, as well as structures on an artificial fill. Artificial levees pertain to flood control in their attempts to keep flood waters within the river channel or store water for slow release at a later time. Ironically, these flood control levees may actually increase flood risk, because flood plain development occurs in response to the assumptions that floods have been controlled. One example of artificial levees being put to use is when they were built along the Mississippi River to protect farmland. The floodplain was then urbanized, and the existing levees, although adequate to protect farmland, were not adequate for protecting home sites. Three methods of “flood-proofing” are: 1. Raise structures above the 100-year flood level by artificially filling with soil, 2. Build walls and levees to resist flood waters, and 3. Use water-resistant building materials.

12. How can we prevent floods or at least minimize the property damage caused by flooding?

Yes, there is a variety of methods of approach and means by which we can prevent floods or at least minimize the property damage caused by flooding; namely, tackling the underlying causes such as climate change. Another method of prevention and minimization of property damage is exceptionally performing, highly responsive flood warning hazard systems that can effectively and immediately inform local residents within the nearby vicinity of a flood.

14. How do dams benefit society? What harm can those same dams cause people and the environment?

The greatest positive benefits society derives from dams is that they are supposed to control floods and attempt to prevent any destruction that an uncontrolled flood might commit. They aid in generating cheap hydropower renewable electricity. They also function well at storing water, drought mitigation, and providing reservoirs. Most of the time, they do control and prevent floods, but some devastating floods have been caused by the failure of dams, both natural and constructed. Natural dams are formed when landslides or glacial moraines block streams, and can fail terribly. When a dam breaks, it can cause a lot of property damage as well as harm and kill both human and wildlife. Other drawbacks of a dam are that they block fish migration, destroy habitats, disturb natural cycles of flooding and sediment disposition, change aquatic and riverine biology, and artificially alter and retransform free-flowing ecosystems.

15. Many beverage manufacturers claim the water in their drinks is pure because it comes from artesian wells or springs. Comment on these claims.

First of all, these are just claims. Claims made beverage manufacturers are more than likely deceptive, at the very least misleading and/or misinforming. Claims are subjective. They are not truths or facts. These claims are presented behind a profit-seeking agenda, to maximize profits and minimize expenses. Any for-profit driven company, most likely does not put quality or the health of its customers as top priority. Clearly, anyone who understands the water cycle can also comprehend that what we put down the drain usually is absorbed and contaminates local artesian wells and springs. We are a product of our environment, just like how the environment reuptakes by-products created, produced, used, distributed, and polluted by us humans. Our actions always have indirect and direct effects on both humans and the environment. It works reciprocally. You get what you give. When humans take advantage of nature, exploit natural resources, and constantly pollute more than we clean, we see the after effects and how they detrimentally impact ecosystems, species, etc., So, my subjective claim in response to beverage manufacture claims, is do not take it for truth, but rather with a grain of salt. What I mean by that is, the only way to find out is for you to independently test, analyze, and conclude whether the water is “pure” yourself. That being said, you have to conclude what constitutes a “standard” of pure with regards to water quality and the purification process.

16. Name three organic compounds sometimes found dissolved in groundwater that are hazardous to human health. How are they harmful?

Three organic compounds sometimes found dissolved in groundwater that are hazardous to human health are: Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), and benzene. Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), is a synthetic organic compound used as an insecticide. It is both harmful to humans and the environment. DDT can have both effects on human health, such as convulsions and kidney damage, as well as on the environment, such as reproductive failure in animals, and eggshell thinning. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are toxic aromatic compounds, often formed as waste in industrial processes, whose molecules contain two benzene rings on which hydrogen atoms have been replaced by chlorine atoms. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) can have both effects on human health, such as vomiting, abdominal pain, and liver damage, as well as on the environment, such as eggshell thinning in birds, and liver damage in mammals. Benzene, is a carcinogenic derivative of gasoline fumes that is a colorless volatile liquid hydrocarbon present in coal tar and petroleum that is used in chemical synthesis. Its use a solvent has been reduced due to its carcinogenic properties. Benzene can have both effects on human health, such as anemia and bone marrow damage, as well as on the environment, such as it being toxic to some fish and aquatic invertebrates.

18. Where and when do hurricanes originate, and how do they obtain their energy? Distinguish hurricane from a nor’easter.

Hurricanes get their energy from the equatorial oceans in the summer and early fall months, when seawater is warmest, usually about 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Hurricanes begin as tropical depressions when air that has been heated by the Sun and ocean rises, creating reduced atmospheric pressure, clouds, and rain. As atmospheric pressure drops, the warm air moves toward the center of low pressure, what later may become the eye of the impending hurricane. When the moist, rising air reaches higher elevations, the water vapor in it condenses and releases heat, causing the air to rise even faster and creating even lower atmospheric pressure and greater wind velocities. Wind blowing toward the center of low pressure is given in a counterclockwise rotation by the Coriolis force in the Northern Hemisphere and a storm is born. The difference between a hurricane and a Nor’easter is that a Nor’easter is a powerful storm that forms during the winter and spring, threatening the Atlantic Coast. Their name comes from the direction that their winds most frequently blow onshore as the storms track north just off the U.S. East Coast. They do not just differ in terms of the season they occur in. Nor’easters are cold storms, born in the western Atlantic. They are usually triggered by small, low pressure systems moving from the west and then develop turbulently along the coast, often getting their start off Cape Hatteras. Nor’easters are huge and can be slow moving, lingering for multiple days. Their strength and persistence create particular hazards, because they can bring in record winter snows and dramatically alter coastlines, as wave heights can build gradually over days, with waves relentlessly pounding beaches and sea walls.

19. What is a storm surge, and why is it such a danger in low-lying coastal communities? Please explain.

A storm surge is the sudden rising of the sea level on an open coast as a result of atmospheric pressure changes and strong onshore winds associated with a storm. The result is a coastal flood deriving from a hurricane pushing and piling up nearby water onto and up against the shoreline. Storm surges are such a danger to low-lying coastal communities because they frequently have the potential to be the most catastrophic part of a hurricane due to rising water levels’ ability to elevate several feet in just a few minutes, leading to mass amounts of damage in a short amount of time. Storm surges can also be enhanced and/or increase in strength through high tides and low atmospheric pressure.

22. How does the width of the beach vary naturally over the year? Please explain.

Beaches change shape with the season. It generally follows that, winter beaches are narrow, because high-energy winter-storm waves erode sand from the upper part of the beach (the berm) and deposit it in offshore sandbars parallel to the beach. Winter beaches are also more probable to be covered in gravel, rather than sand, as the sand is more easily moved offshore. With the onset of long, low-energy summer waves, the sand in the offshore bar gradually moves back onto the beach, and the beach berm widens. Therefore, the natural annual beach cycle is from narrower and coarser in the winter to wider and sandier in the summer. On the East Coast, beach narrowing is related to waves generated by long-duration storm events that may occur at any time of the year, but are more prone to occur during the winter.

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