Modules 9, 10, 11 circulation

Circulation modules:

  • Module 9: Heating of the earth
  • Module 10: Air circulation
  • Module 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), a serious issue for Mars exploration
  • 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)

Globe Demo

  • Seasons, tilt vs. perihelion (AUS)
  • counterclockwise
  • equinoxes, solstices
  • hadley, ferrel polar cells
  • deserts, rain forests
  • tradewinds
  • longitude vs latitude
  • GMT-why?

Atmosphere slice: layers

Air currents: RH, AH

3 energy modes: radiation, convection, conduction

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), some short (near the poles), some long (equator)
  • Longitudes are all long, go vertically (north to south), all the same length
  • 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 (tilt + proximity)
  • 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: the amount of water in the air at a certain temperature, relative to the maximum 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 water in that parcel of air (AH)

  • Saturation point: the max amount of water air can hold at that temp (rises with temperature, note how this compares with gases dissolved in liquids, like your dissolved oxygen (DO) lab.
  • 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. Why?
  • 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 feel see this with aerosol spray cans (cooler when you spray something).

Click for full-size image


  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, good AP question).
  • 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, and made up of floating trash.
  • Gyres describe the circular flow, some refer to the islands of debris as gyres (not accurate), gyres are the circles, most equatorials move west (arrows match)
  • 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 southern 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. Named for "the boy" or the Christmas child since it was first seen around December (winter solstice again).
  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. Named after "the girl", just the opposite of "the boy".
  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


Chapter 3: modules 6-8 energy and matter cycles

Module 6: Movement of energy
Biosphere-all life
Producer (also primary producer) gets energy from sun or heat directly, also known as autotroph
example: grass
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, older primitive source of energy (pre-oxygen)
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-eats 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
e.g. all of the money coming into your business
NPP net primary productivity = GPP minus respiration (think of 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 nutrients and 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

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Module 7: Movement of Matter
Biogeochemical cycles: bio=life geo = minerals chemical = chemical cycle = something that rotates

Hydrologic (water) 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)
Click for full-size image

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?
(you will see this mentioned in the Poisoned Waters video this weekend)

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
acidification or 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
Click for full-size image

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


  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
Click for full-size image

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
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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)
Click for full-size image

Here's something interesting:
Find Sulfur below:

Click for full-size image
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):

Click for full-size image
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?

Poisoned waters:
Weblog page:

On campus try these:


  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


Water, O-chem, food, energy


Key points:
Amphoteric: both an acid and a base, so pH is 7.0 (between 0 and 14), so pOH is also 7 (cool!)
Cohesion: recall the weak hydrogen bonds, these make water want to "hold hands": COhesion (think of pilot and copilot)
Adhesion: water likes to stick to other surfaces, just like adhesive tape
Capillary action: both of these working together-think of the meniscus in chemistry (U shaped dip)
Water has a U shaped meniscus, because adhesion is stronger than cohesion
Liquid mercury metal has an inverted U meniscus, because cohesion is stronger than adhesion
Why is this important?
Long hair and tall trees: both require fibers (adhesion) close together (cohesion) so the meniscus "climbs" up the tree
Surface tension: cohesion at work-think of water striders (evil trick: one drop of detergent makes all water striders fall into the pond)
Water molecules "holding hands" means insects can sit on the water surface.
Soaps and detergents break down surface tension, making water "wetter"
Why is this important?
Soaps are surfactants, and impact premature babies lungs (no surfactant, so the surface tension is so strong they cannot inflate their lungs). Vaping also dissolves this lung surfactant. Same with folks who breathe in gas fumes (like siphoning) who die from chemical pneumonia.
Osmosis: not in this chapter, but water anyway:
Water always follows salt or sugar, anything that is more concentrated.
Root hairs have sugar in them (why we chew on sugar cane), so the water in the soil is pulled into the roots.
Minerals or salts in the soil will prevent this, so we get "desertification" from using mineral rich well water on crops.
Romans also poured salt on fields of enemies so they could never live there, look up "salting the earth"

Acids and bases: the amount of hydrogen in an aqueous (water) solution
Very small numbers, so we use log10 for them:
[H+] = 1 ee-4 would be an acid with pH 4.0 and pOH of 12
pH and pOH always add to 14
[H+] =1 ee -0 is the strongest acid (pH 0), [H+] =1 ee -14 is the weakest acid and strongest base (pH 14)

Colligative (collected) properties:
Freezing point/melting point: can be depressed by adding other materials (salt, alcohol, antifreeze)
Boiling point: same deal, can be raised by adding salt (cooking pasta) or adding pressure (warm tea at altitude)
Solubility of gases: cool water can hold more dissolved gases, like oxygen or CO2 (perrier)
This is very important in thermal pollution, where heat from power plants starves fish of O2, same thing with dead zones like Chesapeake bay (more on this soon).
hint: don't ask for ice in your drinks, they must be cooled already to dissolve the carbonation

Chemical reactions: usually involve energy of some sort (heat, light-explosions, burning), and change of mass
Conservation of mass: matter never goes away in chemical reactions (it DOES in nuclear reactions)

Organic chem: any chemistry involving Carbon (why?)
Inorganic=either no carbon, or bound carbon (C02, like in carbon dioxide)
All life on our planet revolves around carbon in some form, so we use the term organic to describe this chemistry, 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)

Good example: alcohols-always involve some form of carbon and an OH group, but they are NOT bases, weird rules here...
One can live on alcohols in some cases (alcoholics)
methanol: CH3OH (this is what killed people in prohibition by making "bathtub gin", decomposes into ant poison)
ethanol: C2H5OH (you know this as the type that gets one drunk-poisonous in large doses)
propanol: C3H7OH (you know this as isopropyl alcohol, what they use before they give you a shot)
All organic chem follows these meth (1 carbon), eth (2 carbons), pro (3) , but (4), pent (5) prefixes, many like in geometry.
Another example: octane (in gasoline)
How many carbons?
Much more on this later...

Three main groups:
Proteins: always include Nitrogen
carbohydrates: CHO in chains (starches) or simple (sugars)
fats: CHO again, but in a special branch structure (glycol) that is good for energy storage and insulation (whales)

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?

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...
smallest: sugars, all end in -ose (glucose, sucrose) LOOK THESE UP, CHECK OUT THEIR MOLECULE SHAPE
glucose is a "monosaccharide" created by photosynthesis (next chapter)
longer chains: starches (rice, pasta) slowly digested (see diabetics, and glycemic index)
structural CHO: cellulose-little boxes with goo inside, need enzymes to break these down (cows)

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...

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)

demo: walking/running upstairs-----------------

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: how heat moves around (cold does not move, but heat does)
Three ways heat moves: radiation, conduction, convection
Three laws of thermo:
1. you can't win (nothing has more than 100% efficiency)
2. you can't break even (you always lose something in every reaction, a "heat tax")
3. you can't get out of the game (all reactions tend towards disorder, like your closet)

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% efficiency, diesel engine 60%, Formula one racing car: 55%

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)

Feedback mechanisms:
Feedback: think of the howling speakers at assembly: microphone picks up the speaker, gets louder, goes on and on: positive feedback
Negative feedback: tends towards stability, e.g. a pendulum: the more you pull it away, the stronger the restore force, e.g. sweating, stable ships at sea
Positive feedback: tends away from stability, e.g. climate change: heat melts ice, dark water absorbs heat, more ice melts, also tall cruise ships, childbirth, blood loss in accidents, albedo decrease in the arctic...
Next: cycles


Worksheet 9.9.21

APES numbers worksheet 9.9.21

Another formula for decay:

amount left = starting amount/2^n

n = number of half lives

  1. An element has a half-life of 30 days. If the original sample is 100 grams, how many grams will remain after 30 days?
  2. How many will remain after 90 days?
  3. How many will remain after 45 days?
  4. A sample of carbon 14 is found in ancient bones containing 1/64 of the original amount. If the half life for carbon 14 is 5730 years, how old is the bone?
  5. How much will be left after another 5730 years?
  6. Graph the decay of the bone and attach a photo of your beautiful graph, with years on the X-axis and fraction as the Y-axis
  7. 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?
  8. Which is more acidic: NaOH or HCl? Why?
  9. How much more acidic is something with a pH 4 than one of pH 5?
  10. Which has a higher Hydrogen ion concentration [H+]?
  11. How about pH 4 vs. pH 8?
  12. What is the pOH of something with a pH of 4?
  13. You are told a solution has a Hydrogen ion concentration of 1 ee -12. What is the pH and pOH for this solution?


Week two 8.31.21: elements, energy, chem review


  • Frog book chapter 3: systems (3.1 and first part of 3.2 on your iPad)
  • FR chapter 2: systems (modules 3,4,5 in the FR text, Goodreader on your iPad)
  • Math bits: radioactive decay, pH

Chapter one was on overview of what Environmental Science 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 coveres 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, energy and reactions, and biology includes feedback loops and systems, as well as lots of gooey living stuff.
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.

Why this chapter now? How does it enable us to study other things?
Soils-capillary action
Populations-radioactive decay
Energy-PE/KE, thermodynamics
Global warming-radiation, thermodynamics, feedback
Water-pH, chemistry, colligative properties
Sustainability-feedback, thermodynamics

Some of these may be review for you, for others it may be new, so let's take our time...

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, CAT scan, 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)

Click for full-size image

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


  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
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: (n.b. you may see these referred to "rays" or "particles", they are the same)
  • 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 or lots of lead shielding
Radon gas
Biggest danger to you if you live near granite or other similar rocks (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington):
Alpha emitter, so not dangerous alone, but if breathed in, it emits alpha particles deep in your lungs, causing cancer (lung cancer and leukemia).
Second main cause of lung cancer in the US!
Much denser than air (226 grams per mole, vs. about 42 for room air) so found in basements or lower parts.
Ventilation is the solution, or not living in lower areas of a house.
Most states where this is found have laws requiring a ventilation fan system (ask someone from Alaska, Montana or Minnesota)

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.
Some math you will need to know:
A half life is the time it takes for half of something to go away.
In radioactivity, we use the formula: amount left = starting amount x (1/2)^n. where n is the number of half lives:

Sample problem:
Starting with 128 grams of unobtainium, which has a half life of 10 minutes, how much will be left after:
10 minutes
20 minutes
60 minutes
15 minutes (tough one, make sure you know how to use your calculator in real mode, not "hello Kitty" mode

You can also write the formula as: amount left = starting amount/2^n


  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?
Radioactive decay lab: M&Ms®
  1. pour at least 40 M&Ms® into a jar, close the lid and mix
  2. pour the M&Ms® out onto a plate, and count the total number
  3. remove any M&Ms® that have the logo face up
  4. count again
  5. repeat #1 above, one minute later
  6. graph your results, with the X-axis as number of tests and Y-axis as number remaining after each removal
  7. what does the X-axis represent?
  8. what does the Y-axis represent?
  9. what is the half life for emanemium?
  10. graph our results along with the data from other teams on one graph-what do you notice? (x-axis is minutes, y-axis is # remaining)
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!).
    • Hydrogen bonds are formed when a polar covalent molecule like water has one end (the hydrogen end) that bonds weakly with the negative charge (the oxygen end) on another molecule


  • What do blonde people and very tall trees have in common?
  • What do vaping teens and premature babies have in common?
Surface tension: cohesion (holding hands)-think of water bugs, and the soap example
Soap makes water "wetter" by reducing surface tension between water molecules
Soaps also have an ionic (water loving, hydrophilic) side and a covalent (water hating, hydrophobic) side, so they can carry away oils when in water, like washing your hands

Capillary action: cohesion and adhesion (think of adhesive)
Key to most plants...
  • Cohesion: water molecules want to "hold hands"
  • Adhesion (like adhesives): water molecules want to stick to other molecules
  • Capillary action: combination of these two, where walls are close together (hair, trees, all plants)


  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?
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

Here's the trick: Acids have more Hydrogen, but they have a lower pH (1) than bases (14)
pH: n.b. the notation, this means "potency of H+ ions" (don't misspell it)

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

Quick dive into pH and pOH:
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
pH of perfect acid is 0, which has a pOH of 14
pH of perfect base is 14, pOH is 0

Acids: battery acid, your stomach acid, fruit juice, vinegar, old wine, your skin (why?)
Bases: soaps, drain cleaners
<="colligative">Colligative properties<="colligative"> (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., (see below).
  • You could also use salt, which is hard on the bodies of cars (rust), 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 life in 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.
  • Fancy-pants word for this: amphoteric (both acid and base)

"Organic chemistry" means based on carbon
Any organic (carbon) molecule with OH attached is an alcohol (different from OH in acids and bases)
Look these up:
What do you notice?

----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 a carcinogen they embalm dead bodies in...

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-ask Ms. Anton!)
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)
Food stuff:
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...
smallest: sugars, all end in -ose (glucose, sucrose) LOOK THESE UP, CHECK OUT THEIR MOLECULE SHAPE
glucose is a "monosaccharide" created by photosynthesis (next chapter)
longer chains: starches (rice, pasta) slowly digested (see diabetics, and glycemic index)
structural CHO: cellulose-little boxes with goo inside, need enzymes to break these down (cows)

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)


  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?
This is what an iPhone calculator looks like:
Click for full-size image

How to do half lives:

Let's say you are given 64 grams of something with a half life of 7 days. This means every 7 days, half of what you started with goes away.
If they ask you how much is left after 21 days, you first divide 21 by 7 to get "n" the number of half lives: 3

Then you set up your calculator like this:
Amount = Starting amount (0.5)^n
Best way is to do this from right to left (backwards)
Enter 0.5
hit the xY key (just below m+)
enter n (3 in this case)
press equals
multiply all of this by your starting amount (64)
you should get 16 grams left

Try this with 128 grams and a half life of 6 days, after 42 days
You should get 18/6 = 3 = n
0.5 xy 7 = 0.125
128 x 0.125 = 16 grams

How to do pH calculations:

pH is a number between 0 (acid) and 14 (base)
pH is defined as -log10 [H+]
What this usually means is just the exponent of the [H+] concentration
[H+} of 1 ee -4 has a pH of 4
[H+} of 1 ee -6 has a pH of 6
[H+} of 1 ee -4 has a pOH of 10
pOH is just 14 - pH, so pH + pOH always = 14
On your calculator, calculate the pH of something with a hydrogen concentration of 1 ee-3
enter 1
press ee key (to the left of 1 on the calculator)
press 3
press the +/- key (above 8 on the calculator)
press log10 (left of 4 on the calculator)
change the sign from minus to plus
you should get the answer: 4

This also works for complicated numbers like [H+] = 4 ee -3: pH = 2.39

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)

demo: walking/running upstairs-----------------

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% efficiency, diesel engine 60%, Formula one racing car: 55%

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


  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


Tuesday 8.24.21

Check this out:

You can look at our seismic sensors in the monlab, or here:


  • Review your responses to the HW questions
  • Discuss next HW assignment
  • Tour your critical issues papers
  • Begin the 8 country cause and effect project on sustainability
Global Footprint Network:

Our worksheets:
Complete worksheet:
Download file "Openhagen Teacher Training Part 1.pdf"
8 country worksheet:
Download file "openhagen countries.pdf"
--------------Thursday ("Thor's day") 8.26.21-------------------
Global footprint mystery sleuthing:
1. How would you group the countries? Language? Economy? Sustainability? History? Religion? Political?
2. What cause and effect incidents can you see on the graphs?
3. Surplus is green, deficit is red, over what time frame? when did/will the lines cross? when did they start?

Australia-what about the red bumps?
Pakistan-what happened in 1978?
US-what happened in 1973?
NZ-how can fishing areas increase?
Bengaladesh-what causes the bumps?
Brazil-1984, what happened?
S. Korea has two cliffs-why?
When did the UK become in deficit? Why?


Day 2: Friday 8.20.21

Plan for today:
1. Overview, review chapter 1: FR (links below)
2. Big picture project-your goals
3. iPads, Froggie book (time permitting)

First, some clarity:
This is "the frog book" only available now on the iPads:

This is another text we'll be using, Friedland and Relyea, 3rd edition (note THIRD edition):
Here's a link to chapter one, so you can do the homework over the weekend

You might notice 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.

The FR text is divided into modules, with practice questions (PQ) at the end of each section and chapter questions (CP) at the end of each chapter. Your homework will often be the PQ during the week, and the larger CP over the weekend.

These notes are all about context, what you can't get just from the textbook...

FR Module 1 -------------

Fracking-What is it? 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? Who developed it around 1960? What did he later put all of his money into?

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)

FR 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)

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 an interesting 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 (APHG?)

Anthopogenic (anthro=man, genic=cause) Climate change:
Greenhouse gases (see car windshield as an example)
Not too many people know we need some CO2 on our planet to keep water above freezing-think of this as we search for exoplanets...
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:
  • electricity?
  • water? (pumped by electricity)
  • food?
Our key concept:

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

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?

Weekend Homework, Due Wednesday (yay!) 8.25.21:
Read modules 1-3, complete the practice questions at the end of each module, email your answers.

Cause and effect, email your answers:

Why does the girl think her dad is an alien?

What don’t we see between the kiss and him driving home?

Monty Python Witch scene:

  1. Can you follow cause and effect?
  2. What is their logical path?
  3. Why do folks associate fracking with earthquakes? (chapter one in the text)
  4. Why do folks associate fossil fuels with global heating?
  5. Who might be against this line of reasoning and why?


APES 2021-2022!

Welcome folks,
This is the physics server, and you have found the weblog.
You might also want to check out the link lower on the blue page, where documents, texts and videos live.
Here are some notes on our first class together:

Intro to tools:

  • weblog: (links below)
  • discussions: weblog thread, text notes
  • homework: email answers, I comment
  • iPads: ebook, pdfs, test prep apps

Big topics:

  • cause and effect
  • climate change
  • resource scarcity


  • HW: small percentage
  • Daily quiz: multiple of HW
  • Exams: rarely, multiple of quiz
  • AP diagnostic: December, March
  • HW, lab policy: no late work as we review in class (no challenge)
  • BUT: your first missed HW is dropped
  • If you miss none, you get one extra HW credit (yay!)
  • Check out the syllabus on myHPA for more info

Class time:

  • no phones please
  • taking notes is a wise move, here and later
  • I learn from your questions
  • be an explorer...
  • Biggest toolset: elab tour-end of class

Elab notes for students:

  1. Please fill any water containers using the sink water, not bottled water
  2. If you have trash, please use the correct container (ask Greg if you are curious)
  3. If you use the bathroom, leave your phone behind
  4. There are no student access printers in the elab
  5. Please be aware of other classes in the elab, sound carries
  6. Please return your chair under each desk, in full lifted position
  7. Please leave all food and drinks out of the elab, ants are an issue

Cool stuff to check out: out hurricane Linda, due here Sunday! air quality network

iPads? You mean we get to keep them?

  • previous AP courses?
  • home?
  • other science courses?

text link:

Physics server links

Download Firefox:

From off campus:

From on campus:

Off campus, during the zombie apocalypse:

On campus, after the zombie apocalypse:



AP central ($)

Joining AP class section:

Tentative plan for week one:

Wednesday: who are we, what tools do we have

Homework: Powerful questions

Friday: what is most important to you, your future, and what about those zombies?

Homework: chapter one in FR3e, Monty Python and witches...

It is May 2022…
What are three things you are celebrating?
What is one thing that happened because of this class?
What is something you are really proud of?
What makes a really good teacher?
What makes a really good student?


Week of 4.26

Please review the following law worksheet:
Download file "apenvirolaws.pdf"

Free Response practice questions:
Download file "ap11_frq.pdf"


Crash course screenshot


Practice test

Princeton review "cracking the AP"
Download file "Practice Test 1.pdf"
Download file "Practice Test 2.pdf"


Ch. 17: Environmental health and toxicology

Ch. 17 in F/R text:

  • mod 56 Human Disease
  • mod 57 Toxicology and chemical risk
  • mod 58 Risk Analysis

Module 56 Human Disease
Bacteria e.coli in produce/food: summary
  • 1992 Jack in the box-CA, 700 infected, 3 died
  • 2002 ConAgra beef, recalled 19 million pounds of beef
  • 2005 California spinach
  • 2015 Chipotle restaurant
  • 2017 IM Healthy granola
Key terms:
Disease: impaired health
Infectious disease: caused by agents-"pathogens"
Acute (sharp) vs. chronic disease
Click for full-size image
Note global rate of cardiovascular/heart disease (red), usually preventable
Pathways (vectors)
"Vector" in physics means magnitude and direction
In APES, we usually mean something (a "pathogen") that carries disease:

Epidemic: rapid increase in disease (think of epidermis, the top layer of your skin)
Pandemic: entire continent or world (COVID19)
Plague: bacterium from fleas (modern antibiotics can cure this if given in time)
Malaria: from the Spanish for "bad air", also why Buenos Aires is such a nice place. Plasmodium in blood, no cure, just cure for symptoms. Once you have it, you have it for life, and it can recur.
Tuberculosis: airborne bacterium (like in Les Miserables), very contagious, modern threat is from drug resistant TB, esp. in Russia (selling antibiotics for alcohol)
Emergent infectious diseases:
AIDS/HIV: first seen in early 1980's (along with certain music and hair)
First showed up in babies, homosexuals and blood transfusion recipients
No known cure, but can be managed. Drugs are expensive, so this is still a threat in Sub Saharan Africa, among other places.
HIV mutates to avoid the immune system, and folks usually die from opportunistic infections, like pneumonia

Ebola: Hemorrhagic fever, about 90% fatality rate, very contagious, from primates originally in Africa

Mad Cow disease (bovine spongiform encephalopathy): "prion" protein pathogen, basically a toxic protein that survives cooking, originally found in UK, banned all beef from there for a certain time in 1996.
Caused by using ground up sick cows as feed for other cows (gross!)

Influenza A viruses:
Swine Flu, Bird Flu H5N1: both jumped from animals to humans (like Covid-19). If this jump is not human-to-human transmitted, then only a few humans die, if it jumps or mutates, then things get serious.
H5N1 refers to the histology (H) and nucleotides (N) in the virus, so we can discern it from others
18000 deaths in 2009 from swine flu

SARS: Severe acute respiratory syndrome, 2002, 10% fatality rate, air transmission, coronavirus
All boarders from Asia were kept at HPA for the year due to this breakout in Asia
person to person transmission, 8000 infected, 10% fatality rate

MERS: another coronavirus in 2012, ME stands for Middle East, 34% fatality rate (!)

COVID-19: SARS-CoV-2: Coronavirus, airborne and contact on surfaces (perhaps through food), mutating now with "variants" with different internal and spike protein structures.
Named COVID for CoronaVirus
President Biden says by April 19, 2021 90% of you (over 16) will be vaccinated.
3.31.21 news: Pfizer vaccine 100% effective for kids 12-15
Vaccines are either binary or solo (Johnson and Johnson), based on testing not on structure
Vaccines prep the immune system by mimicking the spike proteins on COVID-19, one reason you have an immune response.
Deb Birx the COVID coordinator in 2020 now says 400,000 deaths could have been prevented with masking (disinformation)
#3 cause of death in 2020 behind CV disease and cancer
"Long COVID". patients have many long term challenges, some have seen vaccine improves their outcome even after exposure
Exposure impacts everything in the cardiovascular system, and kidneys, as it attacks the lining of blood vessels and the angiotensin pathway that regulates blood pressure
2 day latency period (no symptoms, asymptomatic)
Note loss of smell, confusion and kidney impact, some are thought to be permanent
Fatality rate varies with age and pre-conditions, about 8% in early cases

West Nile virus: in birds from mosquitoes, to humans, causes brain swelling
Lyme disease: from deer ticks, incidents are further north now due to global warming
Zika: pathogen causing babies brains to be damaged/small

Module 57 Toxicology
6 Main chemical toxins:
Neurotoxins-disrupt the nervous system, e.g. insecticides, lead, mercury
Carcinogens-cause cancer, e.g. dioxin, PCB, many others
Mutagens-cause mutations and often cancers, e.g. radon, asbestos, formaldehyde, tobacco
Teratogens-cause birth defects, e.g. mercury, thalidomide, alcohol
Allergens-cause allergic reactions, e.g. dust, pollen, animal dander
Endocrine disruptors-interfere with hormones, e.g. BPA

Click for full-size image
Note the heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic) the artificial chemicals (PVC, VC, Alcohol, phthalates) and the pesticides (atrazine, DDT).
Asbestos is a natural fiber, used in places that can cause cancer through inhalation in humans (insulation, flooring, etc.)
Radon occurs naturally, and concentrates in lower dwellings or in the lower lobes of your lungs.

Allergens: not usually taken seriously, but are often synergistic with toxins above (you may have some)
Endocrine disrupters: can interfere with growth, metabolism and others, often estrogens or similar
Can be hormone blockers or hormone copies (hormone mimicry)

Dose response studies: acute or chronic, seeks to find an LD50 or an ED50 (non-lethal)
LD50 means lethal to 50% of the test population
ED50 means non-lethal impact on 50% of the population

Test data is surmised to be linear, but often not so, e.g. drugs for the aged are not cleared by their liver/kidney as effectively, so blood levels of the drugs increase.
THC decay curve: if half life is 8 days, make a graph of dosing every 4 days

NOEL: no observed effect level-non-lethal impact
Bioaccumulation: A single organism, collecting in fat tissues (PCB, dioxins) or muscles (mercury)
Biomagnification: MANY organisms eaten by an apex predator, increasing the level of a toxin, e.g. you eating Ahi, getting mercury poisoning: See Jack Black and Sushi.
POPs: persistent organic pollutants (carbon based): note half lives
n.b. roundup was recently banned in CA and EU, suspected of causing cancer
Module 58 Risk Analysis

Click for full-size image
Note difference between lightning and heart disease...
Risk = probability of exposure x probability of being harmed
Probability of exposure example: is you live in Nebraska, not much risk of sharks
If you surf in Hawaii, different story
Probability of being harmed: flying is safe, but if the plane crashes, fatality rate is around 100%
Withgott (author of our Froggie iBook)
Sixth edition of his text, chapter 14 notes:
Download file "withgott 14 health-toxicology.pdf"

APES withgott 6e.14

BPA-bisphenol-A Water bottles, food, baby bottles, tupperware

Endocrine disruptors: what are they, how do they work?

BPA is an estrogen analog:

Hormone mimicry:

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Possible impacts of hormone disruptors:

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4 Hazards:

  • Physical e.g. UV radiation (DNA damage)
  • Chemical e.g. drugs, pesticides, venoms, synthetic and natural
  • Biological e.g. infectious diseases (vectors)
  • Cultural e.g. smoking, COPD, seat belts, hang gliding, swimming with sharks

Non-infectious diseases: genetics + environmental factors, e.g. cancer, heart disease, obesity

Infectious diseases (ID): ebola, influenza, AIDS, SARS, Covid-19

These spread much faster due to air travel, trains, trucks (see AIDS in Africa, bubonic plague, SARS)

Kinshasa "AIDS highway"

Toxicology-chemical hazards

Radon: 226 mass, stays in lower lobes of the lungs, found in basements where Uranium ores are present (Colorado, Alaska)

Asbestos: fibrous non-burning insulating material, mined for ages as an insulator, tabletop, flooring, insulation. Fibers in the air cause asbestosis in the lungs, and various forms of lung cancer (carcinoma)

lead: used in many manufacturing processes, batteries, plumbing/solder, gasoline (yes, gasoline as tetra ethyl lead), causes brain retardation (see romans and lead), replaced in gasoline by MTBE, which causes cancer.

PBDE (polybrominated diphenyl ethers) fire retardants (e.g. TRIS), PBDEs are also hormone disrupters

Risk vs. reward (see malaria and DDT)

VOC in drinking water, also atomizers (like in some classrooms)

Heptachlor in green chop hawaii

EDB in water on Oahu (ant poison)

DDT-foggers in 1960’s….


Carcinogens-cause cancer, long term or short term

Mutagens-mutate you or your kids (reproductive DNA)

Teratogens-cause birth defects: fetal alcohol syndrome (huge in Russia), thalidomide

Neurotoxins-mercury and other heavy metals (Minamata Bay), many derived from insecticides

Allergens-airborne or food borne

Pathway inhibitors-endocrine disruptors, BPA, Phthalates (plastics)

Exposure can be acute (short) or chronic (long term)

Bioaccumulation-A single creature

Biomagnification-MANY trophic levels, MANY creatures (see below)

Dose response analysis: determining the dose to have some sort of immediate impact, usually on test animals, but can also be part of a "natural experiment" where something happens to a human or other population, not planned, but well documented.

LD50 and ED50 (not the same)

LD50 is the dose that kills 50% of the population, so LD50 means "lethal dose to 50%"

ED50 is the effective dose (ED) in a test, which can be good or bad: good might be aspirin, but usually it means amount to cause some non-lethal effect, like mice losing their hair.

Threshold dose (non linear)

Pesticide poisoning: Yaqui indians, PCB endocrine disruptors

Synergistic effects-combined impact greater than sum of separate impacts, e.g. Endocrine disruptors

Risk probability: perception vs. reality

Regulation: Innocent until proven guilty vs. precautionary principle

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Laws to know:

TOSCA 1976 in the US

REACH 2007 in EU (see difference below)

12 POPs: persistent organic pollutants: review for AP exam:

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Terrestrial Waste

Plan for the week: Ch. 16 (text), Ch. 19 (frog iPad book)
Class one: Definitions, generation, reduce/reuse/recycle (modules 51-52)
Class two: Landfills, hazardous waste, future solutions (modules 53-55)
Free Response questions: 2016.3, 2015.2
Module 51: Humans and waste
Terrestrial Waste:
Waste: Defined as anything from human activity that is not saved or re-used
"Humans are the only organism that produce waste others cannot use"
n.b. Previous chapters around air pollution and water pollution BOTH had as part of their solution burying waste:
air pollution: fly ash, smokestack ash->sanitary landfill
water pollution: sewage treatment plant sludge-> sanitary landfill
Sample FR question:
The wonderful city of Fremont, on the banks of the beautiful Fremont River hosts 10,000 people in 2021 (about the size of Waimea). Each person produces 5 lbs (2.5 kg) of solid waste per day. The sewage treatment plant produces 2 kg of waste per day per person, and the coal fired power plant produces 1.5 kg of coal ash per day per person.
a. What is the total daily landfill impact of the current population of Fremont?
b. If Fremont has a growth rate of 3.5%, how many years will it take for the population to double?
c. When this doubling has occurred, what will be the daily landfill impact then?
d. If the landfill is 100m x 200m in size, how deep will this have to be in meters for each day, assuming a waste density of 1 kg/m3
e. What steps could the population take to reduce this?
p. 573: paper or plastic?
  • Lighter
  • Better insulator
  • Cheaper to transport
  • Can be reused
  • 3 grams of petroleum
  • No water
  • Toxic emissions in production
Paper cups:
  • Need liners HOT!
  • 2 grams petroleum
  • 33 grams of water
  • 2x energy
  • More water
  • Uses bleach and dioxin

Typical waste stream:
MSW=municipal (city) solid waste
Creepy comparison:
  • US: 2.2 kg/day (about 5 lbs)
  • Japan: 1 kg/day
  • Developing world: 0.5 kg/day
  • Indigenous people: 0 kg/day WHY?
Module 52: Recycling
MSW recycling (2014)
How and why is this different here in Waimea?
E-waste: a growing issue, why? What companies are doing something about it?
Daisy, the Apple robot that recycles iPhones:

Question: why would the white mac laptops in our classroom cost more to recycle than the aluminum ones? Which is cheaper? Which is cheaper after counting the value of the parts inside each?

(see cradle to cradle design-William Mcdonough) and "source design"
"all children of all species for all time"
Re-use: upcycling
Recycle: new use for old stuff, or re-creating
Plastic to fleece: open loop recycling
Aluminum cans: closed loop recycling

Composting: similar to sewage treatment, aerobic breakdown of organic solids (not metals or glass)
needs AIR, so labor intensive
also a pest issue if not contained (e.g. rats)
Reduce and reuse:

Recovery rates:

Bottle Bills:

Module 53: Landfills
2 types: open landfill and sanitary landfill
Both produce methane (gas) and leachate (toxic)
Open landfills may have extraction tubes for methane
Closed landfills may also, but need a waterproof floor (not always perfect, often leaks into groundwater)
"Tipping fees": high in Kona (so no commercial trucks at the Waimea dump)
$6 per BAG of trash in Orcas Island, San Juan Islands
Sample problem:
Another option: incineration (burning at high temperatures, often with oxygen or forced ventilation)
Still creates ash (needs to go into sanitary landfill, it is toxic with heavy metals)
Fly ash is banned for use in construction in EU
Waste to energy: H-Power plant on Oahu
Module 54: Hazardous Waste
Definition: solid, liquid, gas or sludge that is toxic to humans
Household hazmat: batteries (acid), cleaning supplies (chlorine), smoke detectors (Americium 231, radioactive), motor oil, fuels
  • Ignitable. Likely to catch fire (for example, gasoline or alcohol).

  • Corrosive. Apt to corrode metals in storage tanks or equipment (for example, strong acids or bases).

  • Reactive. Chemically unstable and readily able to react with other compounds, often explosively or by produc- ing noxious fumes (for example, ammonia reacting with chlorine bleach).

  • Toxic. Harmful to human health when inhaled, ingested, or touched (for example, pesticides or heavy metals).

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You might look for the red label ("1993") on trucks. Here are some common numbers:
1075: Propane
1203: Gasoline
1202: Diesel fuel
3334: Aviation fuel

Look up BLEVE on youtube (Boiling liquid expanding vapor explosions)

Two key laws:
CERCLA ("Superfund"): (1980) Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act
-taxes chemical and oil industries to fund cleanup and recovery sites "superfund sites"
RCRA: (1976, 1984) Resource Conservation and Recovery Act-solid waste laws
Look up Love Canal, Hooker Chemical
Look behind the elab for a brownfield site...
Module 55: Future solutions
Life Cycle Analysis: Cradle to grave analysis (e.g. white MacBooks vs. aluminum MacBook pros)
(see cradle to cradle above)

e2: design 3.6 super use
  1. Cesere says that “the only abnormal thing is mankind” Why?
  2. Do you recognize the recycling station in the Netherlands? (hint: think locally)
  3. What is the connection with waste streams?
  4. Why are architects uniquely crucial in the video?
  5. What recycled materials to you recognize in the espresso bar?
  6. What is the psychological aspect they mention?
  7. How is the design process “backwards thinking”?
  8. What did you think of the shoe store? Would you shop there? Why?
  9. What can you imagine using 6 billion tires per year for globally?
  10. If the tires are not recycled globally, what disease do they promote?
  11. There is a "gimmicky" aspect of these projects-how practical are they, and what special intelligence must be involved in any project? How does this compare to traditional projects?
  12. Again, psychologically how does curiosity about a store engage the customers?
  13. What is the "harvest map”? How could the internet make this more possible?
  14. What are the health aspects of using recycled materials? Why is it easier to use new materials from this aspect?
  15. Quantity, standardization and ease of use are cited-why?
  16. If "cradle to cradle” reuse becomes more pervasive, could some materials be created with recycling in mind? What are you thinking of?
  17. How does the Welpeloo project (glass home lady, Ingrid Blans) compare with the elab Living Building Challenge? Were any recycled materials used in the elab?
  18. What about her kitchen?
  19. All wood in the elab was “SPF” and “FSC certified”. Why are these important?
  20. Rotterdam was completely demolished in the second world war, as was Dresden and several other European cities. Architects love the architecture of Chicago. What do these three cities have in common, and what opportunities do they present?
  21. Why would the newer apartment buildings have insulation on the North side, and glass on the South side?
  22. Refurbishing existing buildings is a huge market, as opposed to tearing down a structure and starting from scratch. What are the benefits outlined in the video?
  23. What does "cheaper" really mean in the broadest sense?
  24. Why is "close by" important?
  25. Why are the “layers” in the design mentioned important?
  26. How does this reverse the normal design process?


Ch 15: Air Pollution

chapter 15: air pollution

Big ideas: air is shared by everyone on the planet, crosses international borders without consent, impacts innocents with little power.

6 major pollutants: “criteria pollutants”

  • Sulfur dioxide: SO2
  • Nitrogen oxides:NOx
  • Carbon monoxide: CO
  • Particulate matter: PM (PM 2.5, PM 5, PM10)
  • Ozone: O3
  • Lead: Pb

Mnemonic: SOX/NOX, CO/O3, PM/Pb

2007 added CO2, VOC, Hg

SOx: Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) and other SOx versions

From Methionine (amino acid in living things) in fossil fuels

Combines with water in the air to make H2SO4 (sulfuric acid)

NOx: Nitric oxide (NO2) and other NOx versions

Various forms of oxidized nitrogen, which alone is inert and makes up 78% of the atmosphere at sea level

From high temperature combustion (e.g. auto engines, esp. high efficiency ones, which burn at higher temps)

Also from decomposition of fertilizers (e.g. Ammonium Nitrate)

CO: Carbon monoxide

Emission from car exhaust, or other incomplete combustion:

C + O2 —> CO2

If not enough O2, then CO forms, like in a closed space (tent, hut, cold house in Texas)

Toxic, permanently attaches to your hemoglobin rendering it useless for respiration. 30 day life cycle for hemoglobin

See also CO2 and climate change, > 400ppm since 2012, 420+ppm today (look this up)

Air Quality monitoring: Purple Air:|313232&orderby=L&latr=0.28062097322957413&lngr=0.3714752197265625

Check out other locations...

PM: Particulate Matter

PM2.5 is 2.5 microns in size, PM10 is 10 microns in size

PM2.5 is most dangerous, smaller particles lodge deep in the lungs, beyond ability of pulmonary cilia to flush out

PM5, PM10 larger particles

Main cause: coal fired power plants, diesel engines, oil fired power plants (soot)

See also vog: PM2.5 particles of ash with SO2 dissolved in water droplets: physical abrasive + corrosive acid = respiratory damage


Ozone in stratosphere is good, in troposphere bad

Ozone (O3) blocks UV radiation, while Oxygen (O2) does not

Stratospheric ozone is necessary to filter UV radiation. CFC (chloro-fluro-carbons) destroy this layer this way:

Click for full-size image

This caused an ozone hole over antarctica:

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How did we solve this? The 1987 Montreal Protocol:

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Tropospheric ozone causes lung and eye irritation, and is toxic to some organisms

You may have heard of ozone generators used in hotel rooms to absorb smoke

Pb: Lead

Gasoline additive (tetraethyl lead, improves octane rating cheaply), replaced by other worse carcinogenic (cancer causing) chemicals like MTBE:

Decreases mental capacity (e.g. Roman insanity theory)

Found in coal smoke, along with Mercury and other heavy metals. Sludge from mining is worse.

VOC: Volatile Organic Compounds

Volatile organic compounds, e.g. gasoline vapors (why your gas cap must be on or you get a dashboard warning):

Smog and other photochemical reactions:

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Primary and secondary pollutants:

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Secondary pollutants: need a chemical reaction (often energy from sunlight) to form (see figures above)

Example: PhotoChemical Smog: Photo (light) Chemical (reaction) smog

See PANs: Peroxyacyl nitrates: formed from VOCs, NOx

Thermal inversions: London fog, US, Donora, PA 1948 k.20, sick 7000

Click for full-size image

1952 London 4000-12,000 dead, three nights

Mexico city 1996 300 dead, 400K sick


Normally, the sun heats the surface, warming the air there, which rises. Cooler air aloft then falls to replace this rising air.

In an inversion, warmer air aloft traps the air at the surface (no temperature difference, so no mixing), causing the pollution to be trapped in the lower levels. Most dangerous in valleys or bowl shaped cities (London, Mexico City, Denver, Donora).

Los Angeles has severe smog in the daytime, when hotter air draws in ocean air ("onshore breeze"), but the cycle reverses at night when the water is warmer than the land, so they have an "offshore breeze". Surfers like the first one.

Acid rain: plants, fish, structures. Check this out:

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SO2 + O2, water = H2SO4 (sulfuric acid)

NO3 + O2, water = HNO3 (nitric acid)

“Acid snow” yes, acid snow...

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W. VA had rain more acidic than stomach acid in the 1970's

Important: Know how a power plant air scrubber works (just like the nuclear plant diagram)

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IAP-indoor air pollution

Leading cause of death in LDC (women). LDC is the latest term for "Lesser Developed Countries"

Burning manure for fuel, open pit fires, CO, PM10

Sick building syndrome: formaldehyde, CO2, VOC

Check out the Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum in the elab hallway

Main culprits:

  • VOC (paints, aerosols, vaporizers)
  • CO (burning), Radon (radioactive rocks)
  • Lead (paint, gasoline)
  • Formaldehyde (adhesives, wood products, carpet glue)
  • Asbestos (insulation, tiles, flooring)
  • PM10 (soot from burning)

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Asbestos-asbestosis, mesothelioma (like the ads on TV, usually aimed at Military folks or shipyard workers)

Radon 222-lung cancer (smoke demo-lungs)-#2 cause of lung cancer in the US (behind smoking of course)

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AIR QUALITY LABS-From the AP exam folks

Air Quality: Air quality can be assessed using various


Particulates: Sticky paper can be used to collect

air particulates from various sources, and then the

paper can be examined under a microscope. It is

not possible to see the smallest particulates, but

they do color the white paper.

Ozone: In this lab, an ecobadge or a homemade

potassium iodide gel sampler is hung or worn in

order to collect data on tropospheric ozone. The

badge or KI sample changes color in the presence

of ozone and becomes more intensely colored as

the amount of ozone increases.

Carbon dioxide: In this lab, a commercial sampling

device is used to determine the amount of

carbon dioxide in an air sample. Car exhaust,

burning tobacco, or other pollutants can also be


Pollution roundup:

Chapter 8 of Princeton Review for AP:


Unit 7: pollution, health

————Unit 7 pollution, waste—————

Ch. 14 Aquatic pollution (frog 14.3) poisoned waters

2001.4, 2002.2, 2003.3, 2007.1, 2008.2, 2009.3, 2010.1, 20011.2, 2012.4, 2013.1, 2014.2, 2015.1, 2017.1, 2019.3

  • mod 41 wastewater
  • mod 42 heavy metals
  • mod 43 oil
  • mod 44 non chemical
  • mod 45 laws
  • PEX p. 533

Ch. 15 Air pollution (frog 15.2, 15.3)

2000.1, 2001.3, 2006.2, 2007.3, 2009.1, 2010.1, 2013.3, 2019.3

  • mod 46 criteria pollutants
  • mod 47 smog, acid rain
  • mod 48 controls
  • mod 49 ozone
  • mod 50 IAP
  • PEX p. 569

Ch. 16 Waste (frog 19)

2000.2, 2004.3, 2006.3, 2008.2, 2015.2, 2016.3,

  • mod 51 generation
  • mod 52 RRR
  • mod 53 landfills
  • mod 54 hazmat
  • mod 55 future
  • PEX 16 p.604

Ch. 17 Health, disease (frog 9)

2001.3, 2002.3, 2004.1, 2005.1, 2012.3, 2018.4,

  • mod 56 disease
  • mod 57 toxicology
  • mod 58 risk
  • PEX p. 641
  • Unit 7 PEX p. 647

Poisoned waters video:

  1. Chesepeake Bay
  2. Factory farms
  3. Endocrine disrupters
  4. Puget Sound
  5. Fairfax
  • Chesapeake watershed
  • EPA CWA 1970
  • Perdue/hog Ag farms
  • endocrine disrupters-drinking water
  • bioaccumulation-PCB
  • Puget Sound-Boeing
  • runoff-water transit time King County
  • Tyson’s corner/Fairfax-transit time, sediment runoff
  • Loudon county-traffic
  • Arlington-urban planning


Ch. 14 Water Pollution

Water Pollution-Ch. 14 F/R, 14.3 in Frog book (iPad)
Big ideas:
1. Rivers are continuous, so easier to find sources along the route (continuity analysis: all sources add to total)
2. Groundwater is harder to determine point sources, as flow is over larger area (not confined by river banks) and there is no continuity analysis possible (we don't know sources and sinks)
3. Oceans are the hardest to trace, and impact everyone eventually

Surface water impairment:

Module 41-Humans and livestock
Point source vs. non-point source Legal liability? Tracking? How is this different in oil spills?
BOD: impacted by anything that will decompose aerobically

Dead zones: low DO levels (via BOD or thermal pollution)
Eutrophication: too much food (nutrients), algal bloom (know the mechanism)
Cultural Eutrophication: anthropogenic
Pathogens: cholera and hepatitis (esp. after disasters)
Explain cholera mechanism: intestinal, shock dehydration, cure for infants: salt and sugar water
Fecal Coliform: e. coli from humans, used as an indicator species (see recent rains here)
Septic systems:
Septic tank: septage into leach field (elab into the trees)
Cesspool: deeper, raw sewage leaks into groundwater/ocean (e.g. puako)

Wastewater treatment:
Primary: sedimentation tanks
Secondary: bacterial breakdown
Tertiary: chemical breakdown (chlorine, ozone-only ozone kills viruses)

Module 42-Heavy metals and chemicals
Lead-heavy metal, damages brain, nervous system and kidneys, can be chelated from body using EDTA:
Arsenic (e.g. ant poison, mystery novel poison), found in well water in E. India/Bangladesh:
Often found where mining occurs:
n.b. no arsenic in Hawaii (why not?)
Mercury-organic Methyl Mercury and inorganic (thermometers) "elemental mercury"
Burning coal, gold refining, mining, battery production (Minamata:
Limits to large fish consumption in pregnant women
"mad as a hatter" Milliners
Acid deposition:
Sulfur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen dioxide (N2O)
"acid snow" and acid rain
also runoff into streams
Pesticides with long decay rates (e.g. DDT)
Hormones and drugs:
Endocrine disrupters, not cleared by municipal water treatment systems
From rocket fuels (solid rockets, boosters) and explosives (Pohakuloa Training Area: PTA)
PCB: Poly chlorinated biphenyls (recall the orcas from "poisoned waters"), fat soluble, bioaccumulation in orcas, used as an insulating fluid in transformers (n.b. fire departments use hazmat suits when a transformer catches fire)
PBDE: poly brominated diphenyl ethers-brain damage (TRIS in children's clothing as flame retardant)
POP: persistent organic pollutants
Module 43: oil pollution
Slow to decompose, settles to bottom of ocean, e.g. Exxon Valdez (captain was drunk on duty) and BP oil spill in Gulf of Mexico ("Deepwater Horizon")
Oil plumes to 3000' deep in ocean
Damage to fisheries, beaches and corals/seabed animals
Module 44: solid, thermal and noise pollution
Flotsam=floating stuff, jetsam=thrown (jettisoned) stuff
Garbage patch in pacific: pacific gyre
Thermal pollution: usually associated with power plants (30% efficient, so 1000 mW power plant spews 2000mW of heat into water system)
Decreases DO levels, also thermal shock to smaller organisms
Noise pollution: serious threat to animals and humans
notice health impacts
dB (decibel scale): 210 dB = Saturn V rocket blastoff, 0 dB = anechoic chamber
>100 dB causes permanent hearing damage (ringing in the ears=dead cilia in cochlea)
Module 45: water pollution laws
Clean Water Act (CWA) 1972-protection and propagation of fish, shellfish and wildlife. Maintain and restore chemical, physical and biological props. of surface waters (n.b. not aquifers, n.b. economic impact of violations, externalized costs)
CWA 1972
RCRA 1976
TOSCA 1976

Safe Water drinking act (SWDA)
1974-EPA (formed under Nixon) est. max contaminant levels (MCL) (see list)


e2: state of resolve

e2 state of resolve:

APES questions energy 4 state of resolve

  1. What is the double entendre in “left coast”? “Fruits and nuts”?
  2. If you have ever been to LA, would you describe it as a pedestrian friendly city? How did this evolve, and why is it key to urban sprawl?
  3. What is the advantage of CA vs. the government vis a vis change and action?
  4. This was filmed in 2007. Who was president then? Did he support emission standards? Explain.
  5. it is said that what happens in CA is what will happen in the US ten years later. Why?
  6. Look up Fran Pavley, and see what has happened since the video was produced.
  7. What percentage of US cars are sold in CA?
  8. Car manufacturers used to produce two models of car: “CA” and “49 states”. Why don’t they do this now?
  9. What is the #2 polluter in CA? What did they do about this?
  10. What did Senate bill 1368 do? Why? What economic driver does this present?
  11. What the heck is “dirty energy”? What does Dan Kammen (Go Bears) say about this?
  12. How is the dirty energy plan like the car plan in how it might lead change in the US?
  13. Why are subsidies bad?
  14. What are the 5 parts of the CA plan?
  15. The price of PV panels in 2008 (when the elab was being built) was $10/Watt. What is the price per Watt for PV panels now? Why?
  16. What is the million roof plan in CA?
  17. Who replaced Bodman as Secretary of Energy? What was his strength?
  18. How much money have oil companies contributed to political campaigns, and how many dollars did they get back for every dollar invested in these campaigns?
  19. What does Kammen say about voluntary compliance? Do you agree?
  20. President Bush declared in 2007 that global climate change is a problem. Why are some folks still resisting this admission?
  21. What percentage of the global population is the US, and how much energy do we use?
  22. What does a large state like CA enable other states to do? How does it exclude any excuses?


e2: Paving the way

APES questions—e2 Energy 3: Paving the way

  1. How many gallons of gas does each American use each day?
  2. Why is it encouraging that the VP of research and development (R&D) at GM says what he does?
  3. Look up Amory Lovins, what does he think represents the best solution?
  4. Hydrogen is not really a fuel, but an energy transport technology. why?
  5. What kind of car was Henry Ford’s car for his wife?
  6. How many mpg did the Model T get, compared to today?
  7. How efficient is the fuel in a car? why?
  8. Vijay says the solution involves what?
  9. FiberForge is in Colorado, not the normal industrial centers, why is this important?
  10. Why is "stamping" familiar for car makers?
  11. What is Amory’s reference to “The Graduate”? how is this relevant to you? (look up "one word-plastics" on youtube)
  12. What are the most expensive parts of a car plant?
  13. What is the role of public policy in this solution?
  14. Why is the Chevy Volt different from the Prius and the Tesla?
  15. Why is the Prius mileage better in the city than the freeway, the opposite of normal cars?
  16. Your fossil fuel car has a mileage rating in miles per gallon (mpg). How would you rate the mileage of an EV (electric vehicle)?
  17. Why is the battery technology Elon Musk is developing such a game changer?
  18. Why is the hydrogen fuel cell better than most battery solutions?
  19. Imagine you are having a conversation with your parents about getting a more efficient car. what would you tell them?
  20. If you were planning on getting an electric vehicle (EV or plug-in hybrid), what changes would you make at your home?
  21. Since this video came out (2007), GM and other car makers were near bankruptcy, and were rescued by the US government. What was the tradeoff for this rescue?
  22. Summarize Vijay’s argument at the end of the video. how would you make this happen?


Free response #2

Download file "consumes 8,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electrical energy each year. The price paid to the electric utility by.png"
Download file "Upon receiving notice from their electric utility that customers with solar power systems are permitted to sell.png"


Energy labs

Download file "APES Energy lab-hot water heater.pdf"
Download file "APES Energy lab-solar thermal panel.pdf"
Download file "APES Energy lab-PV panels.pdf"
Download file "APES Energy Lab-Monitoring and conservation.pdf"
Download file "APES Energy lab: ROI:TCO.pdf"