Final Exams


Final—Part I

Individual Part (75 points)

A.) Yse 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.





Imagine if you were the environmental manager responsible for assessing the value of the Neponset River Watershed.  The area of the Neponset River Watershed is 300 km2, and 330,000 people live in the Neponset River Watershed.  The Neponset River Watershed includes 14 communities, and the river itself meanders some 47 km from Foxborough to UMassBoston.

a.) Describe five (3) ecosystem goods and (3) ecosystem services that the Neponset River Watershed provides. (6 points)

b.) Assign a dollar ($) value to (1) ecosystem services of the Neponset River Watershed.  Please be clear about how you assessed this economic value [for example, if clean air is worth $1 per person per day, the total ecosystem service is worth $1 x 365 days x 900,000 people= $328 million per year (but you cannot use clean air since I gave you this example)].  (3 points)

c.) Describe how would you assess (measure) the “health” of the Neponset River Watershed? In other words, what data/evidence would you present to the public to support statements that the ecosystem was “healthy” or “not healthy”. (4 points)





Graph of  Discharge, cubic feet per second


Graph of  Discharge, cubic feet per second



a.) Explain the graph of water discharge vs. time (hydrograph) of the Charles River at Dover in 2016.      (2 points)


b.) Explain the graph of water discharge vs. time (hydrograph) of Town Brook in Quincy in 2016.            (2 points)


c.) What is different between the Town Brook and Charles River hydrographs for 2016?  What is the same between the Town Brook and Charles River hydrographs for 2016?  (3 points)


d.) At which one of these sites is it more likely to flood? And why? (3 points)







The concentration of NO, NO2, and O3 are shown during a typical day in Los Angeles in A).


a.) What is NOx? What are the sources of NO2 in the urban atmosphere? (4 points)


b.) Why is there a peak in NO2 in the morning? (3 points)

c.) Why is there a decreasing trend of NO2 concentrations in Los Angeles from 1990-2010? (3 points)






 newbig_hydrate   oceanturbine    solar-cell-intro


Petroleum and coal can meet the energy demands of the United States for decades to come, but are causing costly climate changes locally and globally due to emitted CO2.


a.) What are some of the benefits of installing solar panels on your roof?  Be specific. Hint: do some research. (4 points)


b.) What are some of the costs and environmental impacts of installing solar panels? (4 points)


c.) Do the benefits outweigh the costs?  Why or why not? (2 points)











Biosphere 2 failed to sustain human life for 2 years without adding oxygen.  However, simple systems like Eco-sphere prove that shrimp can sustain life for greater than 10 years.



a.) Could an elephant survive in Biosphere 2 for 10 years?  Explain your reasoning considering life span, and carbon, water, and energy needs. (2 points)


b.) Could mouse survive in Biosphere 2 for 10 years?  Explain your reasoning considering life span, and carbon, water, and energy needs. (2 points)


c.) How could you prevent oxygen levels from falling in a new version of Biosphere 2? (3 points)


d.) Please describe a space station that could support human life for 2 years? What are the different components? Explain your reasoning.  Be as specific as possible regarding the carbon, water, and energy cycles.  (5 points)












a.) Suppose you bring 100 pounds of groceries into your home each week.  Please estimate how many pounds of each type of waste leaves your home.  Does this add up to 100 pounds? Where do the various forms end up?  (5 points)


b.) If you use 1000 kilowatt-hours of electricity 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.) If you install a low flow (1.1 gallon/min) showerhead instead of a regular (2.6 gallon/min) showerhead, how much water would you save for a 10-minute shower? (3 points)







a.) Complex systems such as the climate are characterized by thresholds and feedback loops. Describe 2 positive feedback loops for global climate change. Describe 2 negative feedback loops 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) specific cities that would be catastrophically impacted by sea-level rise by 2100. Please provide evidence and mechanisms in your response  (3 points)





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