Module 23, 24: Human Populations

First of all a flow diagram:
Click for full-size image
Note that this is for a country, not the planet, since people (so far) are not leaving the planet...or arriving from elsewhere.
National version as a formula:

If you look at the planet as a whole (sans aliens or Elon Musk):

so, there is a neat shorthand formula for this:

Which is an estimate, the real number is 69.3 (why? look below if you want to know)
Here is an example:

Note that as the growth rate increases, the doubling time decreases.
Look for this on the AP as multiples/fractions of 70: 14, 28, 35, and so on...

Now, to babies: TFR is the total number of babies a woman will have in her lifetime.
Replacement level fertility (RLF) is just above 2.0, (usually 2.1, as some babies don't reproduce or make it to reproductive age).
What does this mean in Japan, where young people are not having babies?

RLF depends on developed/developing nations as well (clean water, medical care, access to food, war)
Life expectancy: depends on these as well...
Infant mortality: under age 1 (reason for big Hawaiian one year birthdays)
child mortality: under 5

Look up life expectancy in 1900...
Look up the average family size and how many made it to age of 5 in 1900
What portion of the US population was farmers then?

Age structure diagrams/population pyramids-check these out: UAE, Japan, Sudan, Iraq/Iran, Russia----WHY?
See also baby boom and boom echoes...
Check this out:

...and look these up:
  1. Go to 1950 and look at the US population. Look again in 1960. Where is the baby boom? Why were there so few babies born during 1940-45?
  2. If you were a 42 year old American in 2000, when were you born? How old are your kids? Find the "boom echo".
  3. Find the impact of the Iran/Iraq war of 1980-89, which side had the biggest impact? If you were a 35 year old Iraqi man in 1995, how old were you during this war?
  4. If you are a 30 year old German man in 1950, when were you born? How old were you in WWII (1936-1945)?
  5. If you were a 35 year old woman in Japan in 1960, why are there so few men to choose from?
  6. Look at the UK in 1960. Where are the casualties of WWII, and are they both male and female? Explain.
  7. What the heck is going on in UAE?
  8. Look at Russia in 1960. What gaps do you see? Why?
  9. Information about China is very spotty-why would this be? See if you can find the impact of the one-child policy from 1979-2016.
  10. Compare present day Japan to Africa. What issues will they need to address?
  11. Look at present day Italy, Japan and Germany. What is common?
  12. Compare present day India and China. What do you see?

Module 23 Demographic Transition

Better diagram:

Another possible version:
Click for full-size image

IPAT formula:

GDP vs. GNP (nationalism, global economy)

Urban areas, UGB (Portland)

See also Ecological Footprint Calculator:

Rule of 70, er 69.3...The TRUTH!
We know that Nt =Noe^rt
When Nt/No = 2, this is the doubling time
ln (Nt/No) = ln (e^rt)
ln(e^x) = x just like square root of x squared is x. They are reverse of each other...
ln (2) = 0.693 = rt
0.693/r = t2, the "doubling time"
But wait! we saw 70, not .693...
Growth rates are in percent (part/100) so the percents cancel out, meaning you can just use percent as a number, like 14%.
You will certainly see this on an AP exam, usually as a multiple or fraction of 70: 14, 28, 35, 7, 3.5...
Rule of 70 rules! (or actually the rule of 69.3)....


Modules 18-21 Population ecology

Module 18-abundance and distribution
Start with this:
Click for full-size image

We covered ecosystem energy and matter a few weeks ago, this chapter is about population ecology.
Quiz: 10.16.19:
  1. What three things in order are necessary for evolution to succeed?
  2. What are the characteristics of an r specific species. Give an example.
  3. What are the characteristics of a K specific species. Give an example as well.
  4. The population of wolves may rise and fall along with rabbits, but not at the same time. Explain why.
Population dynamics

Notation: Pop size is represented as N (note not "n"): population size within a defined area at a specific time (brings in migration).

Check out the diagrams on pop distribution: random, uniform and clumped. Important vis a vis biodiversity
Structures: age and gender (sex)

Density dependent factor: e.g. food or reproductive rate in rats (more rats, lower fecundity)
Something that influences reproduction or survival...
Density IN-dependent factors: storms, disasters, fires (note density independent: one bambi or 100 bambi all perish in the same fire)

Limiting resource: usually food, but could include space, nutrients, etc.

Carrying capacity: K (note not "k"): how many individuals an environment can support

Module 19: growth models
Check this out:

This is called exponential growth, or "J shaped growth"
Note that it has no end, or limiting factor.
Small r is the growth rate. If you have had physics (yay!) this is usually "k" in some examples, or related to RC decay/growth.
Learning this equation is VERY useful.
Note that it depends on two things: the amount in the population (No) and the growth rate (r)
Here is an example:
Click for full-size image

Many systems follow J shaped exponential growth until they run out of food or space, then there is overshoot and die-off. A more ideal version of this is the S shaped curve, called logistic growth:

Here is a formula for logistic growth that we'll discuss:

Click for full-size image
dN/dt is just the rate of population growth (some of you may see this as the slope of the S curve)
Note that when the ratio N/K is very small, the parentheses become 1, so the formula is rate = rN
As N/K nears one (number of critters equals carrying capacity) the term in the parentheses becomes zero, so no growth.
Note also that if N/K is GREATER than one, the growth rate (slope of the curve) become negative. This is overshoot and die off.

Logistic growth worksheet

First: exponential growth:

Imagine 10 imaginary rabbits (No=10)

Assume r = 0.5 (50 percent growth rate, or each rabbit makes 0.5 rabbits per year)

Find the population 2 years later:

Nt = Noe^rt

Nt = 10e^0.5*2

Nt = 27 rabbits

After 4 years:

After 10 years:


Next, use the logistic growth formula, same data, with a carrying capacity (K) of 100:

Small population: 10 rabbits

∆N/∆t = rN(1-N/K)

= 0.5*10(1-10/100)

= 5(1-0.1)

= 5(0.9)

= 4.5 rabbits per year

Find the rabbits per year for these populations:

Medium population: 27 rabbits

Near K: 74 rabbits

Above K: 1489 rabbits

You can use the Apple Grapher app to see this (look in your Utilities folder):

Quiz: 10.17.19

10.17.19 quiz (you may use your worksheet from Wednesday)

  1. 30 rabbits live on an island with carrying capacity 200. They reproduce at a rate of 0.5 per year. How many rabbits will be on the island after 3 years?
  2. What will be the slope of the growth curve at this point?

Next: predator/prey phase diagrams
Check this out:

Click for full-size image
Note the phase (timing) relationship between the abundance of the food and the population of the prey, then the predator.
Predator Prey Lab:
Download file "predator-prey-simulation12.pdf"
Worksheet: (uses Numbers application)
Download file "Population Growth Model.numbers"
Worksheet: excel version:
Download file "Population Growth Model.xls"
Download file "ESI-24-modeling_population_growth.pdf"

Now we can discuss generalizations of r and K strategists:
Where do you fit in? How about Nemo?

There is a fourth: deer. How would you imagine this curve?
I just learned last week another reason why genocides are so damaging to cultures: If an oral tradition (e.g. Hawaiians) are decimated by smallpox for example, it is the very old (the holders of the legends and history) and the very young (those who have time to listen, not work, and will then grow up and tell their kids) that are gone. This is a sort of cultural bottleneck...

Module 20: Community ecology
Competitive exclusion principle: two species competing for the same resources cannot co-exist, leads to...
Resource partitioning: time, space, type of food (one species picks one, the other survives)
Predation: predator and prey, one lives, the other dies
Mutualism: both benefit
Commensalism: one benefits, no harm to the other
Parasitism: one benefits, harm to other
quizlet review

keystone species vs. indicator species

Keystone species-many others depend on it

Indicator species-signal health of a system

Succession: one species takes over another in time

Module 21: Community Succession

Primary succession: From bare rock, no soil: (e.g. lichen)

Click for full-size image

Secondary succession: from disturbed area with soil (e.g. after a fire)

Pioneer species: arrives first, sets up reliable system

Aquatic succession: from stream to pond to shallow pond to marsh

Island biogeography (like here in Waimea): habitat size AND distance from others influences diversity (e.g. birds)

Check out an alternate presentation of these in the Withgott text, with a special section about our island:

Frog book chapter 5:

Click for full-size image


Modules 15-17 Evolution

Quiz: 10.14.19:


  1. Your pond has only one color goldfish, what is the Biodiversity index?
  2. Another pond has equal numbers of 4 color fish, what do you estimate the index for this to be?
  3. Use your calculator to determine the H value for this pond:

100 fish total

30 “one fish”

30 “two fish”

20 “red fish”

20 “blue fish”

The formula is below:

H = -((x/n*ln(x/n)) + (x/n*ln(x/n)) + (x/n*ln(x/n)) + (x/n*ln(x/n)))

Mod 15: Evolution (see also chapter 5 in the Froggie book)
Three conditions must be met:
1. genetic variation (mutation)
2. some stress that favors this variation (adaptation)
3. survivors procreate, pass on the variation (reproduction)

Genotype: set of genes (dominant and recessive)
Phenotype: traits expressed in a living creature

Genetic drift-pretty much what it sounds like
Bottleneck effect-VERY important: when a species is almost extinct, there is little variation in the gene pool of the survivors, even if their population rebounds (e.g. whales)

Founder effect: random selection of survivors, creating a new gene pool (birds, gilligan)

mod 16: speciation
Geographic isolation (e.g. Galapagos) also found where we disturb natural habitats with roads
Causes Allo (other) Patric (father) speciation
Eventually reproductive isolation will result: different breeds will not be able to procreate

There is another more rare form of speciation: Sympatric ("same father"), from polyploidy, ("many chromosomes")

GMO: see roundup ready corn and wheat, freeze proof tomatoes and others.
Not to be confused with Dwarf Wheat and Norman Borlaug (see population chapters for more on this).
Dwarf wheat was a simple hybrid, not a GMO.
Look up "gene guns" and CRISPR

mod 17: niches and species distribution
Check this out:

You'll see another like this in population distributions...
Range of tolerance-where it can survive
Fundamental niche-happy place
Realized niche-de facto place
Distribution-areas where they live (we'll see more of this in the chapter on population distributions: random, scattered, patterned)


Lab: biodiversity

Shannon's index of diversity (H):

  1. pour into your “pond” a random number of colored goldfish. Calculate the total, the number for each color, and the Shannon’s index for this trial:


n = 37

yellow = 25/37 = 0.675

orange = 6/37 = 0.162

green = 1/37 = 0.027

red = 5/37 = 0.135

H = (.675*-.393) + (.162*-1.82) + (.027*-3.61) + (.135* -2.00)

H = .265 + .294 + .097 + .27

H = 0.926

  1. Repeat with both a more diverse and a monoculture ecosystem. What do you notice about the range of H?
  2. Statistics folks use Chi-squared analysis of a system like this. How could you use this?
  3. Imagine two ponds separated by 10 kilometers. How could you prove that they were once connected?
Original biodiversity, Pond one:

n total =

yellow fish (one fish)

orange fish (two fish)

red fish (red fish)

green fish (blue fish)

x for each color


ln (x/n)

x/n * ln(x/n)

H total

Low biodiversity: pond two:

n total =

yellow fish (one fish)

orange fish (two fish)

red fish (red fish)

green fish (blue fish)

x for each color


ln (x/n)

x/n * ln(x/n)

H total

High biodiversity: pond three

n total =

yellow fish (one fish)

orange fish (two fish)

red fish (red fish)

green fish (blue fish)

x for each color


ln (x/n)

x/n * ln(x/n)

H total


Lab: gambling with biomes

Gambling with biomes

  1. Below is a list of locations around the world. Roll the dice and using your vast knowledge of biomes and the high tech globes on your desk, determine the biome and type of life you might find there.
  2. In the next round reverse the process with the biome list below, determining the locations around the globe.


  1. Chile
  2. Zambia
  3. Philippines
  4. Oklahoma
  5. San Luis Obispo
  6. Germany
  7. Seattle
  8. Greenland
  9. Ontario Canada
  10. Tunisia
  11. North Pole
  12. Kamuela


  1. tundra
  2. boreal forest
  3. temperate rain forest
  4. temperate seasonal forest
  5. woodlands
  6. temperate grassland
  7. tropical rain forest
  8. savannah
  9. desert
  10. cold desert
  11. taiga
  12. tropical seasonal forest


Biodiversity and Extinction, Ch. 5: modules 14-17


  1. Why is water depth related to life?
  2. What impacts coral most: temperature, pH or salinity?
  3. Louisiana development removed mangrove swamps. How did this change the impact of Hurricane Katrina?
  4. What is a “littoral Navy”?

Text: p. 147 chapter end questions:
Download file "ch. 4.pdf"
Unit 2 questions:
Download file "Unit 2.pdf"
Unit 2 from Cliff notes 2011:
Download file "cliff unit 2.pdf"
Mod 14: Biodiversity: (see also chapter 7 in Froggie book)

Click for full-size image

Species diversity:
richness vs. evenness. richness = number of species, evenness = balanced proportions
Click for full-size image

We can calculate biodiversity:
Click for full-size image

Mod 15: Evolution
Three conditions must be met:
1. genetic variation (mutation)
2. some stress that favors this variation (adaptation)
3. survivors procreate, pass on the variation (reproduction)

Genotype: set of genes (dominant and recessive)
Phenotype: traits expressed in a living creature

Genetic drift-pretty much what it sounds like
Bottleneck effect-VERY important: when a species is almost extinct, there is little variation in the gene pool of the survivors, even if their population rebounds (e.g. whales)

Founder effect: random selection of survivors, creating a new gene pool (birds, gilligan)

mod 16: speciation
Geographic isolation (e.g. Galapagos) also found where we disturb natural habitats with roads
Causes Allo (other) Patric (father) speciation
Eventually reproductive isolation will result: different breeds will not be able to procreate

There is another more rare form of speciation: Sympatric ("same father"), from polyploidy, ("many chromosomes")

GMO: see roundup ready corn and wheat, freeze proof tomatoes and others.
Not to be confused with Dwarf Wheat and Norman Borlaug (see population chapters for more on this).
Dwarf wheat was a simple hybrid, not a GMO.
Look up "gene guns" and CRISPR

mod 17: niches and species distribution
Check this out:

You'll see another like this in population distributions...
Range of tolerance-where it can survive
Fundamental niche-happy place
Realized niche-de facto place
Distribution-areas where they live (we'll see more of this in the chapter on population distributions: random, scattered, patterned)


Module 13-aquatic biomes


Shallow shore area=littoral (means shallow), see the "littoral Navy", photosynthesis here (shallow, light shines through)
Open water area=limnetic zone, no rooted plants (too deep), phytoplankton here, only as deep as sunlight can penetrate
Deep water=profundal ("profound") or deep zone: no light penetrates, bacterial decomposition.
Bottom=benthic zone: mud, dark, cloudy

Click for full-size image

Oligo (few) trophic=low productivity
Meso (middle) trophic=medium
Eutrophic (eu=good trephien=food)=lots of productivity (sometimes too much, like in "Poisoned Waters")

Freshwater wetlands-submerged most of the time (swamps, marshes, bogs) this is the history of all coal and oil we now use

Salt marsh: usually connected to the sea, act as a coastal buffer for Hurricanes, very productive, many nutrients, lots of organic material
Mangrove swamp: special version of this in Tropical areas (e.g. Florida)

Intertidal zone: area between high and low tide

Ocean zones:
Coral reefs-see coral bleaching, pH, temperature and salinity sensitive (see Hamakua coast vs. Puako)
Intertidal zone: between high and low tide
Photic (light) zone-shallow, photosynthesis, kelp, others
Aphotic (dark) zone-too dark for photosynthesis
Chemosythesis/thermosynthesis: deepwater steam vents, based on Sulfur instead of Oxygen, bacteria generate energy with methane (CH4) and H2S (instead of H20)
Benthic=deep ocean
Pelagic=open ocean (think of big sailing ships, whales, stuff like that)
Hadal zones: like Hades: deepest, darkest zones. Weird fish, no light...

Click for full-size image

Frog book notes:

Biodiversity next:


Biome game

Click for full-size image
Find these places in the first three climatographs:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
San Diego, California
Belem, Brazil

Find these biomes below:

tropical rain forest

tropical savanna


temperate grasslands

temperate deciduous forest

temperate rain forest

boreal forest


Find these biomes:

Tropical Savanna

Temperate Grassland





Temperate Deciduous Forest

Tropical Rain Forest


module 12-land biomes

Huh? Terrestrial=earth vs. aquatic, having to do with ducks...

9 Biomes are usually defined by precipitation (rain, fog, others) and temperature.
Big Island has 8 of the 9 biomes, or in the 12 biome model, we have 11/12, or 9 of 13, or 10 of 14 in another model. Many models...

Traveling up a mountain is like crossing biomes. Check this out:
Imagine driving from Hamakua or Hilo up to the summit of Mauna Kea: tropical rain forest to temperate (mild) rain forest to boreal (north) forest to tundra. There is even a glacier up on Mauna Kea. Cool.
This would be like starting in the upper right corner of the diagram and moving diagonally down and to the left.

Now check out the planet:

Click for full-size image

Notice the horizontal bands. If you've read "Guns Germs and Steel" you know that humans migrated horizontally, so their crops and livestock would thrive in similar biomes. See? Migrating north to south is tough.

Now look at this:

Click for full-size image

These diagrams are how we describe biomes without a cool map. The blue line is the amount of rainfall, with units on the RIGHT side of the graph. The red line is the temperature, with units on the LEFT side of the graph. The shaded region in the months below (jfmamjjasond) is the growing season when temperatures are above freezing. When the precipitation line is above the temperature line, growth is limited by temperature (e.g. freezing). When the blue line is below the red line, growth is limited by precipitation (e.g. the desert).

Start with the north: Tundra is what you'd see in Alaska. Permafrost is soon to be in the news. It is made of permanently frozen ground a few feet below the surface. Even roots cannot penetrate it, so some trees grow in a stunted fashion. It is also composed of frozen organic matter, which when it melts will decompose, releasing CO2 and CH4 (methane), which is 20x as powerful as CO2 as a greenhouse gas.


Note the cool temp, so growth is determined by temp, not rainfall. Lots of snow here, and little liquid water for plants, so yeah, mainly snow and glaciers.

Contrast that with the boreal (north) forest:

Note the short growing season. Any plants that survive usually have an oily sap (pine trees, evergreens) that does not freeze. Also note the serious cold in the winter-animals have to adapt to these (fur, hibernation, etc.)

Temperate (mild) forests are nicer, longer growing season, and rarely freeze. They are usually near the ocean, so they do not freeze (ocean is a huge heat sink). The often have lots of rain (think of Seattle). You may recall these are places where the surface parts of Ferrell and Polar cells converge, bringing in clouds and as these clouds rise into the atmosphere, they release their water as precipitation.

Temperate (mild) seasonal forest actually has seasons:
Deciduous trees can live here, like maple and oak. It gets close to freezing, but no real dry season.

Woodland/shrubland is like much of southern California, or the Mediterranean. Wine can grow here:

Note it never really freezes, but growth is determined by precipitation (blue line is below the red line). This is also known as "chaparral" or the "fynbos" or "nice forest" in Afrikaans (South Africa). Look up the main wine regions of the world, they will fit this biome.

Temperate grassland/cold desert is a dry, grassy area, like Oklahoma, although it does get very cold there, so think more of Texas, or the Gobi desert. Again, growth is rain limited: (you may recall these are near Hadley/Ferrel cell subsidence, so dry air from space falls here)

Tropical rainforest is the rainiest of them all, and much of our island has this near the shore. Warm temperatures, and paradoxically poor soil nutrition (all of the nutrients are in the plants). On Mt. Waialeale on Kauai, the rainfall is 480 INCHES per year, 2.5 times as high as the high point on the chart below:

Africa and Brazil hold the next biome: Savanna or tropical seasonal forest. Think of Madagascar (the film): not many large trees, room for animals to roam, lots of grass, happy lions, maybe a bossy penguin or two...
Growth dependent on rainfall: (blue line below red one)

Finally, the subtropical desert biome, like what you'd see in the Sahara desert (another film), or most of Australia, the Atacama in Chile, the Mojave desert in California, and some of Mexico. Note the Gobi desert is not on this list-too cold. Again, note these areas are where dry air subsides (falls) from the Hadley and Ferrell cells.


Global Weather lab

APES lab notes: Global Weather

  1. Start with
  2. Find the forecast for the next few days here
  3. Find the forecast for where you are from, or want to go to college
  4. Find at least two places in the world with the worst air quality
  5. Find at least two places with the warmest ocean. What might start there?
  6. Find two places with the highest wind speed-why?
  7. Find a hurricane or typhoon. Which direction is the wind around it in the northern hemisphere? The southern? Why?
  8. What do you notice about the wave action near these?
  9. Look this location up on the world satellite images. What do you notice?
  10. Where do you find the most thunderstorms-why?
  11. Find places on both hemispheres where wind is traveling counterclockwise-is this low or high pressure?
  12. Do the same for clockwise air circulation-why is this?
  13. Why are there so many clouds in the ITCZ? (look this up)
  14. The salinity of the ocean is lower in the ITCZ-why?
  15. Look on for local radar. what do you see that relates to what you see on windy?
  16. Look at the wind direction over India. What happens next? How is this similar to Waipio Valley?
  17. Look up Hadley, Ferrel and Polar cells. How can you see them on the map?
  18. Look at the wind at the surface here, and compare with the wind at higher altitudes (look for the slider labeled "surface" on the right).
  19. Look at our island under “temeprature” and “humidity”. How are these related?
  20. Under the “More layers” find NO2 and find where this is highest-why?
  21. Try also with Ozone and PM2.5 (small soot particles). Where are these found?
  22. Also enable CAPE index. Look this up, then look at our island. Why are these units in J/kg?
  23. Will it rain tonight for Lava lounge? If so, from which direction?


ch 4 mods 9,10,11: Circulation

9: Heating of the earth

10: Air circulation

11: Ocean circulation


Module 9 heating of the earth

  • Tropo (top) sphere-heated by contact with earth, where most weather occurs
  • Strato (high) sphere-cooler, where commercial aircraft travel, more radiation there
  • Meso (middle) sphere-higher, but does not contain charged particles
  • thermo (hot) sphere-also known as the ionosphere, charged particles from interaction with the solar wind (charged protons and others), "hot" because of these particles slowing down, but so little atmosphere it would freeze you if you were there. Three layers: D, E and F, with F being the highest, all three reflect radio waves, but only the lower ones conduct/reflect in sunlight
  • Exo (outer) sphere-where space begins, freezing cold about one hydrogen molecule per square meter
  • Ozone: between the troposphere and stratosphere, this absorbs UV radiation
  • Magnetosphere: way out there, deflects solar wind, particles then spiral into the north and south poles creating the auroras.
  • If no magnetosphere, we'd cook like in a microwave oven (Film: The Core)
  • if no ozone layer, all plants would die, DNA would be mutated, life would cease except for deep thermal vents (possible origin of terrestrial life)

Click for full-size image


  • 4 seasons (not just a hotel), equinox means "equal night”, solstices are the extremes (why sacred?)
  • Earth spins counter clockwise when viewed from north pole (think: sun rises in the east)
  • Latitudes are like a ladder, go horizontally (east to west)
  • Longitudes are all long, go vertically (north to south)
  • Seasons are determined by earth tilt, not by distance to the sun
  • Although, Australia (southern hemisphere) summer happens when we are closer to sun in our elliptical orbit, so more extreme summers
  • Albedo-think of Albus (white) Dumbledore, means reflectivity. Earth is about 30%, snow is 95%

Click for full-size image

Module 10 Air currents and Water stuff

  • Relative humidity: amount of water in the air at a certain temperature, relative to the max it could hold at that temperature (RH). Look this up here: or
  • You can blow on the room sensor and see this rise.
  • Absolute humidity: true amount of water in percent (AH)

  • Saturation point: the max amount of water air can hold at that temp (rises with temperature)
  • You may feel more comfortable with high temp and low humidity because your body can evaporate and cool more effectively. Conversely, humid, hot weather is ugly. Cold, humid air insulates poorly, so feels chilly, so running your air conditioner when it is humid and cool may actually make you feel warmer.
  • You can look this up, it is called the "comfort curve" or psychrometric chart: Download file "comfort.pdf"
  • Dew point: weather term for the temp that water will condense from air, depends on humidity (think of cool mornings, wet grass, or water vapor condensing on a cool drink)
  • Adiabatic cooling: think of Waimea canyon, or the mountains of the Andes, Olympics, Coastal range, Himalayas, etc. As air rises, the reduced pressure makes it cooler. Opposite of pumps, which get hot (compression). You might also see this with aerosol spray cans.

Click for full-size image

Friday 9.27.19---------(weather lab here)

quiz 10.1.19

  1. You see a circular flow in the counter-clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere on Is this low or high pressure?
  2. Why is the ocean less salty near the equator?
  3. As a parcel of air rises (like Waipio or the Himalayas), what happens to the absolute and relative humidity? What happens next?
  4. What level of the atmosphere has most of the weather and why?
  • Adiabatic heating: reverse of this: think of Puako or Kawaihae: as air descends, it is compressed and gets hotter.
  • Latent (hidden) heat release: when vapor condenses from gas to liquid, it releases energy. Opposite of evaporation or boiling, which both require energy.
  • Convection: one of three means that energy moves from place to place:
    • radiation (like light, can be reflected),
    • conduction (contact),
    • convection (movement of mass, usually air or water).
  • Hadley cells: between 30N and 30S, convergence at the equator (hot air rises there), descends after shedding heat to space and water as it rises (rain), descending dry air forms deserts at 30N and 30S. Winds from the north to south at the surface, opposite in the stratosphere.

Click for full-size image

Check this out on,-155.533,5

  • ITCZ: intertropical convergence zone: the place near the equator where this convergence occurs, lower salinity in equatorial oceans (rains all the time)
  • Ferrell cells: between 30N and 60N, also on the southern hemisphere: deserts at the bottom, northward wind at the surface, opposite in space (stratosphere), which is why commercial flights usually have a headwind where they'd have a tailwind at the surface. Also why when trades are strong, mainland flights are faster/shorter.
  • Polar cells: southward wind from 60N to 90N, creates dry desert at the north pole.
  • Coriolis effect; spinning of earth makes air near the equator rotate faster around the axis than polar air. This difference creates hurricanes and ocean currents, therefore diagonal winds (see fig 10.6)
  • Rain shadow: think of the coast near Mahukona or Lapakahi, between Kawaihae and Hawi: very dry as all moisture has been wrung out of the air by ascending above mount Kohala. Think also of Eastern Washington, or the Desert in Chile, where the Andes dry out the air. Many more-find some!

Click for full-size image

Mod 11 ocean currents

Check this out:

Verify on again:,-155.533,5

  • Notice that the north pacific currents flow clockwise, south pacific counter clockwise. why?
  • There are places with little forward current, so they become islands of debris, e.g. the so called "Pacific Gyre", which is about the size of Texas.
  • Gyres describe the circular flow, some refer to the islands of debris as gyres (not accurate), gyres are the circles, most equatorials move west
  • Difference between flotsam and jetsam: one floats, the other is jettisoned from boats
  • Thermohaline (thermo=heat, haline=saltwater) circulation:

  • This upwelling of 2000 year old water off the Kona coast is the bases for Koyo water near the airport (why is this water so precious?)
  • Upwelling off the peruvian/chilean coast-Andean trench=great fishing when in normal conditions (not el niño)
  • ENSO= el nino souther oscillation-a really big deal, reverses the normal ocean circulation, impacts weather around the planet

El niño and la niña (ENSO)

Note: top diagram has strong OFFSHORE wind, pulling up nutrients from below, note also that it is one big box from Peru to Indonesia, with a strong warm, dry subsidence around the coast of Peru (good for beach folks), known as La Niña, or the little girl,

Note: lower diagram (El Niño) has main convection moving to the middle of the ocean basin, weakening the offshore wind around Peru, so sad fisher-folk. El Niño was often associated with Christmas, so the "little boy" reference.

Though ENSO is a single climate phenomenon, it has three states, or phases, it can be in. The two opposite phases, “El Niño” and “La Niña,” require certain changes in both the ocean and the atmosphere because ENSO is a coupled climate phenomenon. “Neutral” is in the middle of the continuum, also known as “La Nada” or “the nothing”.

  1. El Niño: A warming of the ocean surface, or above-average sea surface temperatures, in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Over Indonesia, rainfall tends to become reduced while rainfall increases over the tropical Pacific Ocean. The low-level surface winds, which normally blow from east to west along the equator (“easterly winds”), instead weaken or, in some cases, start blowing the other direction (from west to east or “westerly winds”). This makes for sad fisher-people off the coast of Peru
  2. La Niña: A cooling of the ocean surface, or below-average sea surface temperatures, in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. Over Indonesia, rainfall tends to increase while rainfall decreases over the central tropical Pacific Ocean. The normal easterly winds along the equator become even stronger. Happy fisher-people off the coast of Peru due to nutrient upwelling from the Peruvian trench.
  3. Neutral: Neither El Niño or La Niña. Often tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures are generally close to average. However, there are some instances when the ocean can look like it is in an El Niño or La Niña state, but the atmosphere is not playing along (or vice versa).

Figure 11.3 below——

Top: La Nada or La Niña: happy fisher-people off the coast of Peru (nutrient upwelling)

Bottom: El Niño: sad fisher-people off the coast of Peru


ch3 mods 6,7,8: movement of energy and matter

Module 6: Movement of energy
Biosphere-all life
Producer (also primary producer) energy from sun or heat directly, also known as autotroph
Photosynthesis: CO2 + water + energy (heat or light) -> sugars (CHO)
Reverse process is respiration: Sugars + O2 -> energy + CO2 + water

Anaerobic respiration (e.g. bacteria) don't use O2, less efficient
Consumer (heterotroph) consumes other primary autotrophs
Primary consumers eat plants (e.g. herbivores)
Secondary consumers eat them (carnivores)
Tertiary consumers eat other carnivores (algae->zooplankton->fish->eagles)
Trophe = nourishment
Trophic levels = food levels, see also food web
Scavenger-eats dead stuff
Detritovore-eat dead stuff that is decaying
Decomposers-break down into basic elements
GPP gross primary productivity= Total amount of solar energy into the system: like gross income in a business
NPP net primary productivity = GPP minus respiration (recall Maui onions) :gross income-expenses=net income
Biomass-total mass of all living things in an ecosystem-odd fact: rain forest soil is the lowest in biomass-why?
Standing crop-total plant biomass (e.g. forest)
Efficiency is low (around 10%)
trophic pyramid: 10x reduction in energy for each level (why?)-vegetarians vs. meat eaters
So, carnivores (us, wolves) are eating harvesting devices (cows) for autotrophs (grasses):
Not very efficient, unless you can't digest grass, or it takes too much energy to walk around all day. This IS, however a good argument for global sustainable survival, as the sun will not go away soon, and as long as we have arable (farmable) land to grow plants, we could survive with a global population of 8-10 billion.
But we'd need access to fresh water...
Recall: energy->water->food->culture

Module 7: Movement of Matter
Biogeochemical cycles: bio=life geo = minerals chemical = chemical cycle = something that rotates
Hydrologic cycle: Heat provides energy for evaporation, plants secrete water as transpiration, condensation is collection of water vapor to drops, precipitation is the falling of these drops as rain, snow, hail etc.
ETO evapotranspiration: amount of water moving through an ecosystem, usually plants.
Farmers need to know EtO to know how much water to supply to their crops.
Eto depends on sunlight, humidity, wind and temperature (think of how these impact transpiration)

Runoff-just like it sounds
You will need to know about "transit time" which is the time it takes rain to reach a water body after hitting the ground
Why is this crucial?

Carbon cycle: photosynthesis, respiration, exchange, sedimentation, burial, extraction, combustion
photosynthesis-CO2 to sugar (air to plant structures or fruits-e.g. corn)
respiration-sugar to CO2
exchange-HCO3 (carbonic acid) e.g. seawater changing pH, remember?
sedimentation-CaCO3 (seashells, limestone) most efficient long term carbon sink (solids are dense)
burial-just like it sounds, oil, coal, nat gas
extraction-mining fossil fuels
combustion-burning fossil fuels with oxygen to release CO2

Nitrogen cycle:
6 macronutrients needed by plants: N,P,K, Ca, Mg, S (sulfur becomes part of Methionine, an amino acid)
NPK from fertilizers
N is a limiting nutrient
N fixation is when you can't get Nitrogen off your mind
----Tuesday 9.24.19-----

10.11 end of q1 apes exam? discuss

quiz 9.26.19

  1. Define N, P, K and how each impacts plants
  2. Define evapotranspiration, condensation and precipitation
  3. Which biogeochemical cycle only has a solid phase in the environment?
  4. What element replaces oxygen in chemosynthesis?

It also means bringing N2 gas from the atmosphere into the biome, biotically or abiotically (without life)
abiotic: lightning or burning fossil fuels (high temps) direct to nitrate (NO3) (that interesting smell after rainstorms)
biotic: nitrogen fixing bacteria: N2 ->NO2 ->NO3 ->NH3 ->NH4 ion (used by producers, it is aqueous)
commercial N fixation: petrochemicals to form fertilizers (NH3, anhydrous ammonia, ammonium nitrate NH4NO3, which is used in ANFO bombs)
nitrification: NH4+ ->NO2- ->NO3-
nitrite kills bacteria (used in preserving meats), but nitrate is a good plant fertilizer (ANFO bombs)
assimilation: producing amino acids and then proteins (chains of AA)
Dead stuff: mineralization or ammonification (dead fish smell: NH4+ and amines)
Vitamins = "vital amines"
denitrification: NO3- goes to N2O to N2 gas (anaerobic bacteria, swamps)
Leaching: washing N out of soil

Phosphorus cycle:
Mainly rocks, between land and water
biotic: animals uptake PO4--- (see also phosphoric acid H3PO4), turn it into bones, teeth as CaPO4, then back to soil
abiotic: phosphate sediments in ocean-> become rocks, erosion on land dissolves into watershed
Humans: phosphate detergents, fertilizers (Dead zones)
Algal bloom: PO4 -> lots of algae on surface (light) -> these die, fall to the bottom, and as they decompose, they take all O2 from the water (hypoxia)
Arsenic in bananas---why we cannot use greywater for irrigation

Ca, Mg and K: dust (Kauai dependent on Gobi desert dust for K)
Sulfur cycle:
rocks -> SO4, can become part of methionine
See also SO2 (vog, acid rain, pollution)

Here's something interesting:
Find Sulfur below:

Ok, now find Oxygen.
Hydrothermal vents use sulfur instead of oxygen for a thermal (heat) version of photosynthesis called chemosynthesis

Module 8: Response to disturbances
Recall negative feedback (stable ships, relationships): greater the disturbance, the greater the restoring force (pendulums too)
Resistance is how hard it is to move the pendulum (ecosystem) away from center
Resilience is how fast the pendulum (ecosystem) returns to normal
Biodiversity and disturbances:
This is strange stuff:
Rare disturbances = competition, so only a few species dominate
Common disturbances = only fast reproducers survive, so low biodiversity
Intermediate disturbances = highest biodiversity

Watershed: drainage basin usually leading to a large body of water (Chesapeake watershed is huge):
How do you think this impacts the water quality, phosphates, nitrates and silt in the Chesapeake bay?
Why are we not allowed above the fences behind Pu'u La'e La'e?
On Oahu, the watershed is guarded by a barbed wire fence-why?
How are the Himalayas acting as a watershed?

quiz 9.27.19

  1. why is the soil on Kauai so poor, and how does it get its Potassium?
  2. how does the size of the Cheseapeake watershed impact eutrophication in the Chesapeake bay?
  3. what is the difference between resistance and resilience in natural systems?
  4. why do rotting fish smell so bad?

Summary notes:
  • systems are usually connected, exchange matter and/or energy
  • main energy source is our sun, or past suns (e.g. uranium)
  • feedback loops (again)
  • spheres: litho=stone, bio=living, hydro=water, atmo=above
  • geosphere: crust-mantle-core-inner core (spins, no way!)
  • plates-who thought this up? need to understand convection
  • where are oldest parts of crust? trick question
  • subduction zones, mid atlantic ridges (atlantis?)
  • eq: deep near subduction zones, shallow in transform faults
  • mid atlantic ridge: how do we know this? submarines
  • himalayas-how? matterhorn-what?
  • water cycle: evaporation and transpiration (eTO)
  • precipitation-condensation is first (condensation nuclei, e.g. vog)
  • aquifers-underground lakes, low turnover rate (pesticides) Oglalla
  • water can be ground water: aquifer, water table, water lens or surface water
  • conservation of matter (neglect E=mc2)
  • nutrient cycles: carbon, oxygen, phosphorus, nitrogen COPN
  • primary producers-photosynthesis: CO2, water and light/heat
  • create sugar as stored food, structural element
  • consumers-eat primary producers, decomposers break down waste/detritus
  • cellular respiration (flowers in hospitals) at night
  • carbon also in HCO3- ion (seawater) and CaCO3 (seashells, limestone)
  • greenhouse effect from CO2 captured as plants->oil/coal "carbon bank"
  • phosphorus: rocks and water (stone and sea), erosion, very limited supply in biosphere (Waterloo bones)
  • P only absorbed in aqueous form (aq)
  • too much = eutrophication (also nitrogen) see dead zones
  • eutrophication: too much of a good thing, when algae dies, decomposes, creates hypoxic zones
  • aerobic vs. anaerobic bacteria-wounds
  • nitrogen cycle-NPK
  • N2 to life: lightning and bacteria (N2 to ammonia NH3 then to NO2 and NO3 (plants absorb NO3)
  • denitrifying bacteria change NO2 back to N2 (gas)
  • Haber process
  • See figure 3.30-nitrogen uptake
  • golf courses-Mauna Kea, iBoat


HEAT Frontline video-climate change

(pick the version that matches your internet speed)

Team, many questions here, which we will break into several assignments:

Part One:

1 What river is China planning to divert that will cause conflict with India?

2 Why did Brashears go back to that specific site to take the photo, and what did he see? What possible explanations are there for this? Take both sides of the climate crisis argument in your answer.

3 What was so surprising in the dorky 1958 movie? Was this common knowledge? How can you tell?

4 How did the cheapness of energy influence public opinion?

5 Is the climate crisis an energy issue, a tree issue, an albedo issue, or a permafrost issue?

6 What happened at Kyoto? What was the most embarrassing part? Why did the US behave so?

7 Why would China's growth outweigh any changes the US might make to change carbon emissions?

8 What is Geely? Where? What model is their biggest seller? Is this scary? Why? What did their director say?

9 How many coal plants does China create every week according to the video?

10 Dr. Ling Wen says 30% growth over 5 years. What is the doubling rate for this in years? (divide 70 by the percent growth). Why is his line "if we can" so scary? What are his responsibilities, in what order?

11 In what year will India's population exceed that of China? Why?

12 What is the third largest contributor to greenhouse gases? Where?

13 What reduction in CO2 did the Indian guy say they could do by 2050? What is the growth rate? What did Sunita Narain say about this? Why is this not sustainable?

14 What did Pachauri say? What are his reasons?

15 What did the US negotiators say? Why is this unfair? What did China say?

16 Google Senator Inhofe, and find out why he was a global warming skeptic. Where did his money come from?

16 This video was filmed in 2008. What was the position of each candidate then?

17 What did Jeffrey Sachs say?

18 How many tons of coal are mined in the Powder River basin each day?

19 The director of the West Virginia power plant (Charlie Powell) says: "we produce 1300 kilowatts of power every hour" which is like saying "my car goes 60 miles per hour every hour". What is wrong with his statement?

20 How many pounds of Coal power your TV for one hour? What percentage of power in the US comes from Coal?

21 Analyze the term "clean coal" from both sides of the argument. What are the motives of each side and why?

22 Senators Byrd and McConnell represent which states? What is their bias?

23 What is IGCC? Where is it located? Has it been tested? Where would they inject the ground? Why is this dangerous? Are we "carbon capture ready"? Where would this be tested first, and why is it problematic? If pipelines were used, why would these be dangerous?

24 How many tons of CO2 does the US emit every day?

25 The US is called the "Saudi Arabia of Coal". Why?

26 What is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases? Now list the top three in order.

Part Two:

27 What are CAFE standards, and what does it stand for? What happened in the last few years to the CAFE standards? When were they created, and track the mpg numbers since then. How did auto manufacturers get around the CAFE standards since the Ford Explorer came out?

27 What was John Dingell's motive? Why? Where was he from? Why did he block seat belts? Was his responsibility only to his 800,000 citizens or to the country, or the planet as a whole?

28 What MPG was the terminator seeking for California? By when? Jerry Brown is next in the video. What was his job later?

29 In the 1970's all cars in the US came in two flavors: "49 state" or "CA". Why?

30 What pressure was put on the EPA in December 2007? Who was in office then?

31 What is the clean air act?

32 Who was the EPA administrator during the Bush administration? What did he do? What do you think about his actions?

33 What was the target of the CA emissions standards?

34 What is Hibernia owned by Exxon? How much oil did it pump since coming into operation? At 80 million bbl/day, how many days of global oil supply did it provide? (bbl means barrel)

35 How did the Exxon lady defend their lack of investment in renewable resources?

36 Dan Kammen says what? Where does he work? (hint: Go Bears)

37 How much did Exxon make in the year of the movie? How much did they invest in renewable energy? Explain.

38 It has been said that if you drive a Prius hybrid with fuel from the tar sands of Canada, it's the equivalent of driving a Hummer. Why?

39 During the 2008 video, they state that oil is at $90/bbl. What is it today?

40 The car companies were working on a diesel-electric hybrid: what happened and why?

41 What did Toyota build, and why? How long is their advantage now?

42 Do you believe the lady from GM? Explain.

43 What happened to the Chevy Volt in the Photo Shoot?

44 Is corn ethanol really a green solution? Who is pushing corn ethanol and why?

Part Three:

45 Why does Dan Kammen say corn is not a good biofuel?

46 Explain the three sources of bio-ethanol: corn, cellulosic and sugar cane. Brazil produces which of these?

47 How does Amy's statement about small interests resonate with Senator Dingell's actions earlier in the film?

48 Compare renewable energy in Germany to the US.

49 How does the smart grid fit into the renewable energy solution?

50 T. Boone Pickens (who died last week) sold his oil investments and moved into wind farms in Texas. Why?

51 About 150,000 megawatts of power is what Pickens planned on installing, which would be worth how much per year? (assume 1 mW for a day is about $2400)

52 Why is nuclear energy getting a fresh look?

53 Who became president?

54 What is the difference between Navy nuclear power plants and commercial industrial power plants?

55 How is nuclear waste storage involved in this problem?

56 Explain cap and trade, and the plus and minus for this proposal.


Model UN

The teams:

US: Georgia, Noah
China: Maddy, Nakai
India: Ana, Koa
Maldives: Caitlin, Anson
Bangladesh: Chloe, Conor
Brazil: Alyssa, Gabby
Germany: Natalie, Anna
Saudi Arabia: Ford, Kaimana

UN Protocol:

  1. What am I willing to do
  2. What am I not willing to do
  3. Where am I open to compromise
Your questions:
  1. What is the present impact in your country on/from global warming?
  2. What will your country look like in 2025?
  3. What will it look like in 2050?
  4. What steps are you willing to take to make this happen?
  5. Who would you like to collaborate with and how?
  6. What threats do you face?
  7. What resources to you have at your disposal?
  8. What impact do you want to have on this group?


Climate Change Crisis

Download file "Climate change.pdf"

Climate change

In any crisis, the following steps might help you survive, thrive, or perhaps impact change:

  1. What is the crisis? What words define it? What is the lexicon?
  2. Why should I care? How does this impact me? How will it impact my kids/grandkids?
  3. What are the mechanisms of cause and effect?
  4. What impact timeline can I expect?
  5. What can I do: directly, locally, globally?
  6. How can my understanding of the situation help me impact the situation?

Climate change process

  1. CO2 process: photosynthesis ca. 2 by, CO2 to "stored carbon" (hydrocarbons, carbon/coal)
  2. CO2 warming process: blocks IR, result: heat, acidification, +feedback
  3. Political-follow the money, who benefits from denial?
  4. US CO2 sources: transport, energy, industry
  5. Global CO2: energy, concrete, transport, energy
  1. sea level rise (salinization, displacement, storm surge/barrier loss
  2. storm intensity: stronger heat engines, hurricanes, storm surge
  3. ocean acidification: coral bleaching, fish populations
  4. permafrost melting: methane decomposition, + feedback
  5. ice melt: albedo decrease, + feedback
  6. CO2 and brains: impairment
  7. Himalayan ice pack: loss of rivers in Asia, drought, food shortages, relocation, war
  8. Some areas too hot to support crops, so drought, famine, population relocation

“We are on the precipice of Hell”-Frontline video HEAT

“Climate change is the biggest business opportunity in the history of Mankind”-Tito Jankoski, climate change activist, carbon sequestration pioneer, HPA ’05

“Greenhouse”-why? how does a normal greenhouse work? what parts relate to which physical systems?

Demo: car dashboard is dark, absorbs visible radiation passing through the car windshield, re-radiates at lower frequency/longer waves (heat), which is trapped by the glass windshield.

glass=greenhouse gases (CO2, methane, water vapor)


  1. If you live in the northern hemisphere, what day will you have the shortest night?
  2. Why are the trade winds not purely north to south here?
  3. In the diagram from the big bang until present day, what is the connection between 2 billion years of plants and climate change?
  4. From your reading, what is a proxy indicator? Give an example.

Recent CNN townhall of Presidential candidates: What common themes do you see, which are possible?

Climate change: some interesting facts:

For every degree CO2 warms the atmosphere, it means more water vapor evaporated in the atmosphere, giving us a 2° increase for every 1° increase from CO2. CO2 emitted now will be in the atmosphere for 100-1000 years.

Cows fed grass don't produce as much methane as corn fed cattle, who emit methane out of both ends, as corn is not a natural feedstock for cows.

In 1975, we passed clean air acts, which reduced the amount of soot (black dust) in the atmosphere. We got cleaner air to breathe, but it no longer reflected solar radiation, so the global temperature rose.

Banks in Miami will no longer invest in land near the coast, knowing that they will be underwater before the loans are paid off.

How thick is our atmosphere? Troposphere is about 6 miles thick:

Is the greenhouse effect always bad? See diagram:

Click for full-size image

Earth would be 0°C without any greenhouse effect, so we'd be frozen, and little life would be present on the surface.

These gases have different impact and lifespans:

Click for full-size image

Where have I seen these before? You might not, but your parents certainly did, about 30 years ago, when the ozone layer was being destroyed by refrigerants (gases we created called “Freons” we used in refrigerators, freezers and air conditioners)

Without the ozone layer, everyone on the planet would suffer from UV radiation, causing skin cancers, plants would die, so would some life in the oceans. This was serious, causing an “ozone hole” over Antarctica:

Here’s how we know we can act globally to avoid disaster:

In 1997, most of the countries of the world met in Montreal Canada to create the Montreal Protocol, banning these CFC’s (chlorinated fluorocarbons) like Freon.

Here’s how we know it worked:

Click for full-size image
Note the bottom graph. What do you see? When did things change?

Here’s what the trend is for greenhouse gases: (2011 version on the link below)

2017 version:

Click for full-size image

Click for full-size image

NASA simulation:

NASA Eyes simulation:

Where is this stuff coming from?

Ok, what gases are naturally sourced:

Volcanic eruptions (complex, as the ash can actually block sunlight, temporarily cooling the planet-see Mt. Pinatubo)

Decomposition/digestion (methane from termites and cow gas, or the truly horrific possibility of melting permafrost)

Denitrification (wet soils, wetlands where NO3 turns into N2O)

Evaporation/evapotranspiration (water vapor)

Don't clouds reflect light? Yep, but higher clouds (cirrus) are made of ice crystals, which actually trap more heat. One geo-engineering proposal is to remove these crystals using soot or sulfur dioxide.

Human (anthropogenic) causes:

Fossil fuels use (coal, then oil then natural gas)


Agriculture (nitrogen fertilizers)

Landfills (methane again)

Two graphs are important to you:

Here is the pattern of CO2 measured at Mauna Loa since 1958, the famous “Keeling curve”

Click for full-size image
Here is the historical record, from ice cores and other data:

Click for full-size image

Note the date...
Where is this coming from, by nation?

Why? US burns fossil fuels like maniacs, China is opening two coal fired power plants EACH WEEK, India is making concrete by heating CaCO3, releasing CO2 to make CaO (“Portland cement”)

So what?

Global warming will change the global temperature, impacting weather, sea levels, severe storms, glaciers, water and food supplies

High CO2 causes ocean acidification, killing corals, and impacting all life in the ocean, a major absorber of CO2 and source of food

Finally, high CO2 levels make us stupid. Anything over 800 ppm has been demonstrated to impact learning, memory and complex thought. There is no escaping this, much like the ozone crisis of the 1980’s

Here’s how warm it is getting:

Click for full-size image
How do we know CO2 and temp are related?

Check this out:

Click for full-size image

What causes these cycles?

Here’s what this will look like when you are having grandchildren:

The first picture is 2020-2029, the right side is 2100, when you are in your 90’s:

Click for full-size image
These assume a constant rate, which is unlikely if the permafrost begins to melt, releasing more methane, and the polar ice caps melt, changing the albedo (remember Albus Dumbledore).

This is an example of a positive feedback loop.

n.b. most folks believe that ocean levels will rise from the melting ice caps and glaciers. This is only a small impact, the greatest impact is that water expands when it warms, so ALL of the water in the ocean is expanding at once, and the ocean is several miles deep around the world-think of that!

What can we do?

The IPCC (intergovernmental panel on climate change) inspired the 1997 Kyoto Protocols, which the US has not followed.

Here’s what they say:

Click for full-size image
Dr. Chip Fletcher, speaking in Waimea in 2017:

quiz 9.11.19-------------

quiz 9.11.19

  1. Explain how CO2 makes the ocean acidic
  2. Why would a warming global climate mean famine in Asia? (hint: two reasons are possible)
  3. The planet has faced another existential threat, which we averted. How is this different from the present climate crisis?
  4. Why would the Keeling curve be inverted in Brazil?

How will this impact Hawaii?

Ecosystem impact:

Animals can migrate to cooler/wettter regions, plants cannot.

If our clouds increase in elevation (1m/year on Mauna Kea now), they will precipitate less, which is where we get our rainfall (shallow clouds).

Notice the Kona coast is most severely impacted.

Coral Bleaching:

Note relation to pH.

CO2 + H2O <--> H2CO3 <--> H+ + HCO3-

So, back to our questions:

  1. What is the crisis? What words define it? What is the lexicon?
  2. Why should I care? How does this impact me? How will it impact my kids/grandkids?
  3. What are the mechanisms of cause and effect?
  4. What impact timeline can I expect?
  5. What can I do: directly, locally, globally?
  6. How can my understanding of the situation help me impact the situation?


Homework 9.3.19

APES Homework: elements, half lives and pH

Please listen here:

starting at 26 minutes, about the origin of elements, and the "bomb pulse"

If you are off campus, this address will work:

As an investigating scientist at Fukushima Japan, you are tasked with evaluating the decay of radioactive Cesium after the accident.

Problems part I: Due Thursday 9.5.19

  1. look up the half life of Cesium 137
  2. If the initial percentage of Cesium 137 at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident is 100%, how much will be left after 60 years?
  3. graph the decay of Cs 137 on paper, through 6 half lives, labeling your diagram
  4. how much of the initial 100% will be found after 70 years?
  5. take a photo of your most beautiful graph and data table, and email it to me as part of this assignment.

We can use a simple formula to determine amount left in a half-life scenario like yours. (see your lab sheet as well)

The formula is

At = A0 (0.5)^t


At is the amount at some time t

A0 is the initial amount

t is the number of half lives

This works for uneven numbers of half lives as well.

Example: to find the amount in the above example left after 45 years, divide 45 by the half life in years. Use this number as t.

On your calculator, you might use the y^x keys, or similar keys on your computer.

Verify the answer for 45 years by plotting a dot on your graph above.

Problems Part II: Due Thursday 9.5.19

  1. Strontium 90 was found in dairy products in New Zealand after the French tested nuclear bombs on islands near Tahiti in 1960, which they claimed. How much of the original amount would be left in the dairy products today?
  2. Chernobyl in the Ukraine exploded in 1986, releasing among other things loads of Cesium 137. How much of the original amount is there today?
  3. You find an archaeological bone sample that has 1/64 of the original amount of Carbon 14 present. How many half lives is this?
  4. If the half life of Carbon 14 is 5730 years, how old is the bone?
  5. The pH of a sample is 1. Is this an acid or a base?
  6. The Hydrogen concentration of a second sample is 1 ee -4. What is the pH for this?
  7. is this sample more or less acidic than the first?
  8. Why are fats more efficient at storing energy than sugars or starches? What other benefits do they offer?
  9. Why does crude oil have sulfur in it?
  10. Look up Plutonium (the core of a bomb we dropped on Nagasaki), and explain why the dust is so toxic.
  11. An element has a half-life of 30 days. If the original sample is 100 grams, how many grams will remain after 30 days?
  12. How many will remain after 90 days?
  13. How many will remain after 45 days?
  14. Using your lab notes, what is the k (decay) value for this? (assume t is in days as well)
  15. Another element has a half life of 300 days. What would be the k for this?
  16. What is the connection between k value and decay rate?
  17. Which is more acidic: NaOH or HCl? Why?
  18. How much more acidic is something with a pH 4 than one of pH 5?
  19. Which has a higher Hydrogen ion concentration [H+]?
  20. How about pH 4 vs. pH 8?
  21. What is the pOH of something with a pH of 4?
  22. You are told a solution has a Hydrogen ion concentration of 1 ee -12. What is the pH and pOH for this solution?


Week of 9.2.19

Quiz: half lives------

Notes from chapter 2:
Quick dive into pH:
pH of perfect acid is 0, which has a pOH of 14
water has pH of 7 and pOH of 7
pH of perfect base is 14, pOH is 0
pH is LOWER the stronger the acid
n.b. the pH and pOH always add to 14:
water is pH 7 and pOH 7
some acid might be pH 2 and pOH 12
some base might be pH 12 and pOH 2

Here's why:
pH is the -log10 of the [H+], so larger numbers are actually closer to zero
log10 of 1EE-14 is -14
log10 of 1EE-1 is -1
See? The negative sign in the formula makes these into positive numbers, so:
pH of acid is 1, pH of base is 14

As if that was not enough for one module...
Chemical reactions: usually involve movement of energy (light, heat), no mass is created or destroyed (conservation of matter)
melting and boiling don't count, sorry

Organic stuff (this could be an entire separate chapter)
Organic=contains carbon, the base for life on our planet usually C-H or C-C bonds.
Look on the periodic table below Carbon, we could be Silicon, but we'd have to be lava creatures since the energy needed for chemical reactions would be higher.
n.b. some thermal creatures use thermosynthesis instead of photosynthesis, using sulfur instead of oxygen (look again at the periodic table)

Inorganic=either no carbon, or bound carbon (C02, like in carbon dioxide)

Proteins, fats and carbohydrates: all contain C-H-O in some combination, only proteins have N as well...
Dive deep if you dare:
CHO=carbohydrates (clever name), usually in a chain, short chains are sugars (used for fuel), longer ones are starches and can be used for structures (e.g. cellulose in plants) or pasta...

Fats/lipids: same chemical structure as CHO, but built along a glycol (alcohol) backbone. If the fats have long carbon chains with only single bonds, they are saturated (lots of Hydrogen atoms) and can hold together (e.g. animal fat)
If the long chains have double bonds and don't fit together, they melt easier (e.g. oils) and are called "unsaturated", usually better for your health.
n.b. McDonalds® got into real hot water a while ago for frying all of their stuff in "supersaturated fats". Ugh...

Proteins: complex molecules of CHO and N. Look up amino acids, note the common structure.
Now look up the amino acid methionine. What element does it contain as well? Why do rotten eggs, swamps (and Kilauea volcano) stink?

Nucleic acids: DNA and RNA (another whole chapter)

quiz 9.5.19

  1. What is the difference between carbohydrates, fats and proteins?
  2. How much more acidic is something with a pH 4 than one of pH 5?
  3. An element has a half-life of 30 days. If the original sample is 100 grams, how many grams will remain after 45 days?
  4. Which is more acidic: NaOH or HCl? Why?

Module 5 (FINALLY!)
Energy is the ability to do work (heard that before?)
Units are joules ("jowles in England), and a few others (calories, Calories, BTU, kWh)

Power is how fast you can do the work (climbing stairs or running up stairs), so Power = work/time
Units are Watts (joules per second or j/s) among others

energy->Joules (work~amount of water)

power->Watts (how fast the work is done~flow)

KE/PE: Kinetic and potential energy

PE: chemical bonds, height, spring

KE: motion, freewheel, flowing air/water

temp: KE=1/2mv^2 (macro level)

molecular level:

KE=3/2kT, so T prop to v^2 of molecules

EMR: shorter wavelengths more energy e.g. UV, X-rays
Light is one form of EMR or electromagnetic radiation (needs no medium, so we get light from the sun through the vacuum of space)
What you need to know: EMR has higher energy with higher frequency (e.g. ultraviolet light damages DNA, infrared heat can only burn)
See visible spectrum:

Energy can be potential (ability to do work) like altitude or chemical bonds or kinetic (see Kinesias in Lysistrata), the energy of motion or heat (molecules in motion, KE = 3/2kT)
Temperature is not heat, but the average speed of the molecules...
Temp in the upper atmosphere is 900°C but you'd freeze there, as there is no atmosphere to conduct the heat to you.
Interesting fact: Concorde passengers could not touch the windows, not because they were too cold from the altitude, but too hot from the air friction of the plane going 2x the speed of sound.

Thermodynamics (heat in motion)
Laws: Physics version
1. you can't win (no such thing as more than 100% efficiency)
2. you can't break even (not even 100% is possible, there is always a "heat tax" on every reaction)
3. you can't get out of the game (all reactions tend towards disorder, the "heat death" of the universe, or ∆S>0 for the universe)

Chemical version:

  1. energy cannot be created or destroyed
  2. energy can move, but always at a cost (entropy, disorder increases, ∆S>0 universe)

Efficiency is the amount you get out of any energy reaction, divided by the amount that went in, always less than 100%
efficiency; never 100%, 30-60% common
Human 35% eff, diesel engine 60%

Energy "quality" is the degree of organization of the energy (sugar molecules vs. heat coming from your body, or well organized gasoline "octane" molecules breaking into heat, CO2 and H2O)

Entropy: degree of disorder in any system, all reactions tend towards more disorder (e.g. your closet or bedroom-tell this to your parents)
energy quality-entropy, disorder, e.g. closet ∆S>0, takes energy input to reduce S (entropy)

System dynamics----- (had enough yet?)
Open system: stuff comes in, goes out, e.g. energy
Closed system: everything stays in e.g. mass
Steady state: balance of inputs and outputs (money example)
Feedback: think of the howling speakers at assembly: microphone picks up the speaker, gets louder, goes on and on: positive feedback
Positive feedback: response makes the situation stronger/unstable: capsizing ships, childbirth, bleeding to death, climate change, melting permafrost, albedo decrease in the arctic...
Negative feedback: response makes the situation more stable, tends towards recovery: stable ships at sea, sweating, good relationships

----quiz 9.6.19 Friday-----

Quiz 9.6.19

  1. Explain the difference between energy and power
  2. UV radiation will cause sunburns but infrared will not. Why?
  3. What are the 3 laws of thermodynamics?
  4. Give an example of positive and negative feedback


Week 2: 8.26.19

quiz 8.26.19 module 4 HW

  1. If density = mass/volume, why is this a good definition of matter?
  2. Hydrogen can be an atom, while Hydrogen gas is a molecule. Explain
  3. What is the difference between atomic number and atomic mass?
  4. Carbon 14/12 is an isotope of Carbon 12/12. Explain

Here is the link to chapter 2 in the text:

Chapter one was on overview of what ES is all about, what your greatest challenges will be in this century (good luck), and some bits about the scientific method (and how to find witches).
The iBook covered these as well, but in a more interactive overview.
Chapter two is all about systems, matter and energy, the subject of other courses as well: physics is all about energy and matter, chemistry is about matter and reactions, and biology includes feedback loops and systems.
For this chapter, cause and effect will be your guide-keep these in mind.
Reading: Chapter 2 in FR text, modules 4 and 5. Module 4 is huge, so don't give up.

Module 4: Systems and matter----------
matter=takes up space and has mass (better definition: anything that has density since d = m/v)
mass=amount of matter (n.b. NOT weight, you can be weightless in orbit, but you still have mass-watch the film Gravity...)
atom: a=not, tom=cut (look up tomogram, or go to subway)
atom=smallest particle (known then) that cannot be cut further (we now know there are protons, neutrons, electrons, and quarks, even smaller things than these are predicted, look up string theory)

Element: recall all of your previous science courses-this is a collection of atoms that share the same identity, usually noted on the periodic table by their number of protons, NOT neutrons (e.g. isotopes) or electrons (e.g. ions)
Look at carbon 12, 13 and 14-look at the notation for each (isotopes=iso, same tope, type)
Look at sodium atom and sodium ion, note the notation for each

Why do they have certain charges? Who does every element "want" to be? Why?
Diverge here into orbitals if you like; s,p,d,f (sharp, principal, diffuse and fundamental spectral lines)

Molecules: more than one atom (H2)
Compound: more than one element (NaCl)

Radioactivity: unstable nucleus (usually more neutrons than protons), releases particles (often neutrons, but includes electrons as beta rays, or energy as gamma rays)
Largest and slowest radiation is alpha rays: slow Helium nuclei (2 protons, 2 neutrons, no electrons, so they are + charged)

Radiation summary:
alpha rays: Helium nuclei, slow, charged, stopped by your skin or paper
beta rays: fast electrons (137,000 mph), charged, stopped by foil
gamma rays: fast photons with very high energy, penetrates almost everything, stopped by lead
neutrons: can be fast (bad) or slow (thermal, useful in creating steam in nuclear power plants), goes through everything but 2 meters of concrete

Half life: not just a boring Saturday night
Time it takes for half of whatever to decay, depends on amount left, like water leaking from a large water tank

If you are into math, this is known as a differential equation, meaning the rate is dependent on the amount left. We'll see more of this in population curves, but any time a rate is dependent on how many there are, you'll see the half life rear it's head.

Lab: M&Ms® (Thursday)

quiz 8.28.19

  1. What is similar and/or different between U 234/92 and U 238/92?
  2. How many protons, neutrons and electrons in each?
  3. Would you expect this to be radioactive?
  4. A news announcer says:”Iodine 131 has a half life of 8 days, so it will all be gone in just 16 days”. What is wrong with this?

Bonds: (not the money kind)
Covalent: weak, think of plastic, butter or things that can melt. Electron is shared between both atoms (e.g. pilot copilot)
examples: any twin (H2)

Ionic: strong, electron moves from one atom to another (NaCl is a good example), hard to melt, usually dissolves in water

Polar molecule: has one end more + than the other (like water, which is polar covalent-confusing!)

Surface tension: cohesion (holding hands)-think of water bugs, and the soap example

Soap makes water "wetter" by reducing surface tension between water molecules
It also has an ionic (water loving, hydrophilic) side and a covalent (water hating, hydrophobic) side, so it can carry away oils

Capillary action: cohesion and adhesion (think of adhesive)
Key to all plants...

Colligative properties (collected properties): bp (boiling point), fp (freezing point), mp (melting point, often the same as fp)
Can be influenced by other substances, e.g. antifreeze, which is ethylene glycol, an alcohol. You could use any alcohol in your car to raise the boiling point, but ethylene glycol is less flammable (yet toxic to animals) than ethanol
n.b. anything that ends in -ol is an alcohol: methanol, ethanol, butanol, propanol, etc.

You could also use salt, which is hard on the guts of car engines, but is great for melting ice on roads, or making ice cream (freezing point depression)

Water is weird stuff: as it boils, it gets less dense (e.g. steam) AND when it freezes, it gets less dense (e.g. ice)
Why is this critical for lakes in the winter?

It is also a "universal solvent" since it has pH of 7, dissolves ionics and is polar covalent. Nice to drink as well.

Acid: more Hydrogen ions free (H+)
Base: fewer Hydrogen ions free (more OH-)
Water: amphoteric (both sides): balanced H+ and OH-
Water is H-O-H or H-OH, so has a balance

quiz 8.29.19

  1. what is the connection between water striders, tall trees, premature babies and vaping?
  2. what is the connection between wifi, microwave ovens and dry toast?
On alcohol being used as food for alcoholics:
Ethanol is metabolized in the body into ethanoic acid also known as acetic acid. You bio folks may recognize this as one of the inputs in the TCA (citric acid or Krebs) cycle. Once a human body "learns" how to live off of ethanol (e.g. alcoholics), many of their calories come from this source. One theory uses this as a possible explanation for certain genetic predispositions towards alcohol dependence.
This is what the chemistry looks like:
C-C-OH ---> C-C-O-O-H ---->C-C-H-O
ethanol --> ethanoic acid --> ethanal
The other name for ethanal is acetaldehyde, which is the strange smell you detect coming off the breath and skin of alcohol drinkers.

Methanol takes a far more toxic path:
C-OH --->C-OOH ----> C-HO
methanol --->methanoic (formic) acid ---> formaldehyde
You might recognize the second one as the sting from fire ants, and the third as something they embalm dead bodies in...
--------back to pH------
pH: n.b. the notation, this means "potency of H+ ions" (don't misspell it)
------Thursday 8.29.19----m&m lab


Week of 8.19.19

APES notes



  1. With energy you can move/purify water
  2. With water you can grow food
  3. With food you can maintain a culture

What is the "environment"?

Front of ship fell off-

"we towed it out into the environment"

"you mean into another environment"

Environment: Everything around us, including us

Topics from you:

  • Pollution, Renewable Energy + different types of energy, Biodiversity/Biotech, Solar system/universe/stars :)
  • Human impact on Earth. Overpopulation. Climate Change
  • Climate change, pollution, animal extinction (more about how to help/change), and things that I (and anyone else) can do to make an actual positive impact
  • Harvesting sustainable energy, OTEC, working with animals outside of high school
  • Discover more about climate change and its direct effect on us
  • How long our world can last if we keep doing what we are doing, sustainable vs. corporate greed companies, endangered species, present and possible government policies, pollution, Hawaii-specific environment problems, artificial intelligence, and sustainability prospects of other planets
  • help improve and take care of the Earth. I would like to learn more about the natural world and how I can make small changes in my life to help. Aside from that, I would like to learn how environmental problems occur.
  • The main thing I want to learn this year is the truth and the facts about the state of the environment, the harm humans are currently doing to it, and the small things human could do to make a major beneficial change in the future. I want to learn how to help and to do that I need to learn more about the environment itself. I want to learn about ocean pollution, greenhouse gasses, and our carbon footprint. I want to learn things so that I could possibly help even more in the future by spreading my knowledge.
  • Climate change, especially the methane ice cap ordeal

    Conservation v preservation

    how we can prevent species of animals from going extinct

    alternate energy sources, what is the most efficient?

    discover negative trade offs of environmentally focused products, in depth food chains, and island biogeography.

    deforestation, climate change, and what we can do to counteract these problems.

    Some topics I'd like to learn are how biological life is affected by human actions, the state of the earth before and after global warming was discovered, and environmental problems that we face today.

Reducing your carbon footprint:

Climate change map

Nebraska->Alberta by 2050

Your footprint:

Notes on the texts:

From FR:

Note that the FR text is more detailed. The first two chapters of both this and the frog book (iBook) deal with defining environmental science, the scientific process and how APES covers many different topics.


  1. what was your footprint in planets?
  2. why do you think this was so?
  3. where should you move if you want to have the climate of Nebraska in 50 years? why?
  4. explain fracking

Module 1 -------------

Fracking-know what it is? Why is it controversial? How has it changed how we generate electricity in our country? At what cost? Why is this politically important? Why are the solvents they use secret? What is the impact of these solvents on water?

Bio=life, so biotic means living, abiotic means not living (druids had a neat view on this)

How systems are defined enables us to create models of cause and effect (favorite topic of physicists and historians as well)

Mod 1 answers:

Module 2 ---------------

Environmental indicators: what we know and can observe that indicate the condition of a system

Ecosystem services: can be economic, direct or cascading (off shore oil for example, impacting fishing in the gulf of Mexico)

Click for full-size image

Long list. Let's go for something more digestible:

Click for full-size image

Note that biodiversity is a key indicator (why?)

These are the 5 challenges that you will deal with in this century. Knowing about them will enable you to impact change.

It's all about you.

More terms:

Genetic diversity: variation in a population (could be age distribution in our class)

Species: different in obvious ways (definitions vary on this)

Species diversity: variation of species in a habitat (age distribution in the school or elab)

Speciation: an adaptation based on stress

Evolution needs three things:

  1. some form of genetic variation
  2. some stress that favors this variation
  3. survivors have to reproduce and carry on the variation
Think of giraffes as an example:
  1. longer necks in some animals
  2. drought that kills all short neck creatures (just like in land before time)
  3. long neck animals survive to reproduce and carry on the variation
There is a theory that the background rate of mutation/speciation was much higher long ago because our atmosphere was thinner, and enabled more cosmic rays to penetrate, causing much higher rates of mutation/speciation.
Cool stuff:
In England, butterflies have adapted since 1850 to look more like soot from coal fires.
In NYC, a species of "subway mosquitoes" have been found that feed on humans in a dark, cool place

Extinction is the opposite of speciation, where species die off.
There is such a thing as a "background rate of extinction", which we have surpassed by many times
Diversity is good: think of monoculture food crops: one pest kills everything.

Food production: see Malthus and Norman Borlaug, e.g. Mexico famine

Anthopogenic (anthro=man, genic=cause) Climate change:
Greenhouse gases (see car windshield as an example)
Not too many people know we need some CO2 to keep water above freezing-think of this as we search for exoplanets...

8.21.19 quiz -----

  1. Explain the Norman Borlaug story
  2. Why was China’s one child policy eventually a problem for China?
  3. Why is natural gas a better fit for future renewable energy?
  4. What three things are essential for evolution to occur?
Resource depletion is hard to grasp, but resource constraints are easier:
If we had a major tsunami here that closed airports (all near the shore) and ports, how long would we have:
water? (pumped by electricity)

Recall our first concept:

  1. With energy you can move/purify water
  2. With water you can grow food
  3. With food you can maintain a culture

Homework questions:

APES Openhagen country questions:

  1. compare two countries by their red and green lines
  2. describe one economic change you saw on the charts
  3. describe one physical change
  4. explain how this demonstrates cause and effect analysis

quiz 8.23.19

List four examples of cause and effect on global footprint that you discovered.

Sustainability: Thinking of forever

Click for full-size image
Notice that these are not your usual "energy, food and water" items people think about.
Sustainability is living within your means.
Starbucks example...

Ecological footprint: created by Jurgen Randers and Mathis Wackernagel (both here for the opening of this famed structure)
  1. energy
  2. settlements
  3. timber
  4. food
  5. seafood
  6. carbon
  7. built up land
  8. forests
  9. cropland
  10. fisheries
What impacts your global footprint?

Mod 2 answers....

Module 3 -------
Next: The notorious scientific method
Look up "cold fusion"
Look up "Monty Python witch scene"

Why are lab notebooks done in pen?
What were the last words of Alfred Nobel's brother?
Why is there no Nobel prize for Mathematics?

Replication is key: if you have magic beans, and nobody can replicate your results, you are in trouble.
See also Korean claims of cloning humans (not sheep, we already did that-her name was Dolly)
Key idea: even wrong experiments are valuable: Edison: "I learned 800 ways not to make a light bulb"

Read about Chlorpyrifos, then look up Round up (glyphosate) in the recent news. Which of these do we use at HPA? Explain.

Control group is the population you don't mess with, to determine change.
Natural experiment is something you observe cause and effect from, but not by what you setup (look up Mount Pinatubo and cooling of the planet)

Frog book (iBook) chapter one:

Ozone hole example: compare and contrast with anthropogenic climate change-why different?

Renewable vs. non-renewable resources (one politician recently tried to get nuclear energy classified as a renewable resource-it takes billions of years)

Renewable can be a forest, if used at a sustainable rate, otherwise not

Malthus again, Norman Borlaug again, and a new name: Paul Erlich (1968) "The Population Bomb"
In short: famine and conflict will arise from population growth.
In reality, it is much more complex, involving politics (e.g. Syria), economics (e.g. refugees from sub-Saharan Africa) and water rights (e.g. Palestine).
Jurgen Randers told me during the Elab opening that he thought in the next 50 years, China would invade Mongolia to the north, stating as a cause "religious instability" but the real cause would be access to water there.
If the Himalayan snowpack ceases to be a seasonal flow for the rivers of Asia, most of Western China would be in a drought, unable to produce food.

Ecological Footprint again:

Tragedy of the Commons:
Garrett Hardin, UCSB (look this up)
We will duplicate this with a fishing example:
Download file "TOTCGoldfishActiv.pdf"


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