A.) You may use any source of information except human resources (you are to complete Part I of the exam without consulting any other person). Textbook, web sources, library sources, etc. are fine. Please list the sources that you have used at the end of each question. Your responses will be graded on how well you demonstrate your critical thinking ability, use your sources of information to support your arguments, and focus on the problem. Simply quoting web sources will not be rewarded significantly.
B.) Please type if possible. Feel free to write in figures, drawings, and equations if necessary by hand.
C.) As a rule of thumb, you are not expected to spend more than 1.5 hours per question. This means that you might spend ~1 hour researching the question and 30 minutes writing your answers.
D.) Please provide detailed support for any of your statements or answers. In other words, a simple “yes” or “no”, “agree” or “disagree”, or “I think it is clean”, is not a complete answer and will not receive credit. A complete answer takes the form of “Yes, because … and therefore…” or “I think it is clean because …. “.
E.) There is not necessarily any right or wrong answers to these questions. You will be graded on your ability to think and write critically in addressing these environmental issues. More detailed, supportive responses will be more valued than generalizations.
Once you have completed the exam,
Please sign the following statement : “I have not consulted any other person in completing this INDIVIDUAL Part I of the exam”:
For information purposes only (this will not affect your grade), how much time (hours) did you spend on this exam?
c.) Describe how would you assess (measure) the “health” of the Charles River Watershed? In other words, what data would you present to the public to support statements that the ecosystem was “healthy” or “not healthy”. (3 points)
2.) CLIMATE AND WATER
a.) Explain the 2015 hydrograph (graph of water discharge vs. time) of Town Brook in Quincy.
b.) Explain the 2015 hydrograph of the Charles River at Dover. (2 points)
c.) Compare and contrast the differences between the Town Brook and Charles River hydrographs for 2015? (3 points)
d.) Is it more likely to flood in Quincy, MA or Dover, MA? And why? (3 points) 3.) AIR POLLUTION
Above are the annual average (1990-2010) NO2 concentrations at sites in downtown Los Angeles and Boston.
a) What are the sources of NO2 in the urban atmosphere? (3 points)
b) Why is there a decreasing trend of NO2 concentrations in Los Angeles? (3 points)
c) Compare and contrast the air quality in Boston and Los Angeles. If you were to claim that Boston has better air quality than Los Angeles, provides some evidence and explain why. (Hint: Do some research. Consider more than just the 2 graphs of NO2 above.)
4.) ALTERNATE ENERGY SOURCES
All current estimates suggest that petroleum reserves will be (economically) used up in your lifetime.
a.) Describe the benefits of installing a wind turbine in your backyard or at UMassBoston (if you don’t have a backyard). Be specific. Hint: do some research. (4 points)
b.) What are the costs and environmental impacts of installing wind turbines? (4 points)
c.) Do the benefits outweigh the costs? Why or why not? (2 points)
You have seen that simple, closed systems (www.eco-sphere.com) are capable of sustaining life for 2-10 years. You have seen that Biosphere 2 could not sustain human life for 2 years without intervention. Consider the lessons learned from these systems in the following scenarios.
a.) What is the largest animal that could be sustained in Biosphere 2 for 10 years? Explain your reasoning considering life span, and carbon, water, and energy needs. (4 points)
b.) What modifications to the 1994 version of Biosphere 2 would need to be made to prevent oxygen levels from falling? (3 points)
c.) Could an enclosed, sustainable space station be designed that could support human life for 2 years? Explain your reasoning. Be as specific as possible regarding the carbon, water, and energy cycles. (5 points)
a.) If you bring 10 bags groceries into your home from the store, each weighing 10 pounds, please estimate how much (in pounds) of each type of waste leaves your home. Where do the various forms end up? (5 points)
b.) If you burn 180 therms of natural gas in a month, what is the equivalent energy measured in gallons of gasoline? You can use the following website calculator to help you convert units. How far could you drive a car in month with the same energy? (2 points)
c.) How many gallons of water can you save per 15-minute shower if you use a low flow (1.1 gallon/min) showerhead instead of a regular (2.5 gallon/min) showerhead? (3 points)
7.) CLIMATE CHANGE
a.) Describe 2 positive feedback systems and 2 negative feedback systems for global climate change (4 points).
b.) If all of the ice in the Arctic Ocean were to melt, how high would global sea-level rise? If all the ice in Greenland were to melt, how high would global sea-level rise? How likely is this in the next 10 years? (3 points)
c.) Describe three (3) impacts that this rise in sea-level would have on the world’s human populations. (3 points)