I Acidic Precipitation

1.                  Even clean rain is still a bit on the acidic side because of the presence of what gas in the atmosphere? CO2


2.                  a. What pollutant causes HNO3 to appear in rain? NO2

b. What pollutant causes H2SO4 to appear in rain? SO2

3. a. How does burning coal and roasting metal ores lead to the formation of acidic precipitation?

The processes release SO2, which leads to the formation of H2SO4.

b. How do cars, trucks and airplanes contribute to acidic precipitation?

They contribute by releasing NO2. Also in refining the fuel needed for these vehicles, So2 is also released.

4. How does acidic precipitation have an impact on(don't be too brief!)

a.                   people's health? Sulfates complicate respiratory diseases.

b.                  our cities? Marble, limestone, cement, and metal structures are attacked by acid.

c.                   our lakes? Sensitive fish species are killed. Different algae take over.

d. our forests? Trees are damaged or killed by acid.

II Global Warming

5. a. List the two main gases that cause global warming. Methane and carbon dioxide. (Water vapour is a more powerful green house gas, but the amount we contribute does not apparently influence the contribution what is already there.

b. What human activities release these gases in large quantities? Combustion of fossil fuels account for over 60 %. Methane comes mostly from agriculture.

6. Use 2 diagrams to explain what is meant by the greenhouse effect.

        The first diagram should include a sketch of the earth and the gases that cause global warming.

        The second diagram should include a diagram showing how an actual glass greenhouse traps heat.

        Then include a written explanation of what you've drawn.

7. What evidence do we have for global warming? Mention data from both the recent and distant past.

In this century temperatures have been increasing, and so have carbon dioxide levels. But stronger evidence comes from ice core analysis of isotope ratios that are linked to temperature and also of carbon dioxide that is trapped in ice. There is a strong correlation between those two parameters, suggesting that increased CO2 levels lead to global warming.

8. How is global warming a threat to society?

Melting of ice caps will flood coastal areas. Wheat-producing areas in Canada and Russia may become too dry. Storms such as hurricanes will continue to be more severe.

Read this article from BBC(January 30,2006) BBC NEWS

Stark warning over climate change

By Richard Black
Environment Correspondent, BBC News website

Rising concentrations of greenhouse gases may have more serious impacts than previously believed, a major scientific report has said.

The report, published by the UK government, says there is only a small chance of greenhouse gas emissions being kept below "dangerous" levels.

It fears the Greenland ice sheet is likely to melt, leading sea levels to rise by 7m (23ft) over 1,000 years.

The poorest countries will be most vulnerable to these effects, it adds.

The report, Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, collates evidence presented by scientists at a conference hosted by the UK Meteorological Office in February 2005.

The conference set two principal objectives: to ask what level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is too much, and what the options are for avoiding such a level.


It's the irreversibility that I think brings it home to people
Margaret Beckett

In the report's foreword, UK Prime Minister Tony Blair writes that "it is now plain that the emission of greenhouse gases... is causing global warming at a rate that is unsustainable."

Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said the report's conclusions would be a shock to many people.

"The thing that is perhaps not so familiar to members of the public... is this notion that we could come to a tipping point where change could be irreversible," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"We're not talking about it happening over five minutes, of course, maybe over a thousand years, but it's the irreversibility that I think brings it home to people."

Vulnerable ecosystems

The report sets out the effects of various levels of temperature increase.

The European Union (EU) has adopted a target of preventing a rise in global average temperature of more than two degrees Celsius.

But that, according to the report, might be too high, with two degrees perhaps enough to trigger melting of the Greenland ice sheet.

This would have a major impact on sea levels globally, though it would take up to 1,000 years to see the full predicted rise of 7m.

Above two degrees, says the report, the risks increase "very substantially", with "potentially large numbers of extinctions" and "major increases in hunger and water shortage risks... particularly in developing countries".

'Without delight'

The report asked scientists to calculate which greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere would be enough to cause these "dangerous" temperature increases.


No country is going to turn off a power station which is providing much-desired energy for its population to tackle this problem
Sir David King

Currently, the atmosphere contains about 380 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide, the principal greenhouse gas of concern, compared to levels before the industrial revolution of about 275ppm.

To have a good chance of achieving the EU's two-degree target, levels should be stabilised at 450ppm or below, the report concludes.

But, speaking on Today, the UK government's chief scientific adviser, Sir David King, said that was unlikely to happen.

"We're going to be at 400 ppm in 10 years' time, I predict that without any delight in saying it," he said.

"But no country is going to turn off a power station which is providing much-desired energy for its population to tackle this problem - we have to accept that.

"To aim for 450 (ppm) would, I am afraid, seem unfeasible." But Myles Allen, a lecturer on atmospheric physics at Oxford University, said assessing a "safe level" of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was "a bit like asking a doctor what's a safe number of cigarettes to smoke per day".

"There isn't one, but at the same time people do smoke and live until they're 90," he told Today.

On the other question asked at the 2005 conference - what are the options for avoiding dangerous concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? - the report says that technological options to reduce emissions do exist.

It concludes that the biggest obstacles to the take up of technologies such as renewable sources of energy and "clean coal" lie in vested interests, cultural barriers to change and simple lack of awareness.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2006/01/30 11:00:31 GMT


III The Ozone Problem

9. Fill in the blanks.

a.                   Ozone is actually formed from the common gas __oxygen_

b.                  The stratosphere is where harmful ___UV____is/are converted into heat.

c.                   Older refrigerators, air conditioners, and freezers are a source of ___CFCs________.

d.                  The atom from CFC's that actually destroys ozone is _Cl_.

e.                   A disease that results from overexposure to UV is ____melanoma(skin cancer)__________.

10. Why is there an ozone hole over Antarctica but much less thinning of the ozone over warmer areas?

NO2 normally neutralizes some of the Cl, but in colder areas, especially in winter, the NO2 is tied up in cloud crystals.

IV Miscellaneous Forms of Pollution(see chart in yellow book p 46)

11. What two metals can attack the brain and the nervous system?

Hg and Pb

12. What waste product from nuclear power plants is carcinogenic (cancer-causing)?

Radioactive waste

13. From class notes: What is the connection between acid rain and arsenic in treated wood?

When they first introduced arsenic-based preservatives in wood, they were tested with tap water, which is not acidic, and the arsenic ions seemed to remain stuck in the wood. But in the real world the wood is subjected to acid rain which dissolves and releases the arsenic into the environment.

V Mixed Bag of Questions

14. Match the chemical or technology with the associated environmental problem. For some letters, more than one number is necessary.

a. CO2 _____2__________ 1. Acid rain

b. SO2 _____1__________ 2. Global warming

c. CFC's _____2,3_bit of 2

(but not becasue of the ozone hole)______ 3. Ozone depletion

d. CH4 ______2_________ 4. Soil and water pollution

e. NO2 _____1__________

f. Cl ______3_________

g. Hg ____4___________

h.                   deforestation____2_______



j.                    cattle ranches___2________