lab11: Human environment interaction

Note: Please refer to the GETTING STARTED module to learn how to maneuver through, and how to answer the lab questions, in the Google Earth () component.

KEY TERMS

You should know and understand the following terms:

Anthropocene Era                      Global climate change                               sustainability

Aquaculture (Aqua-farming)      Greenhouse gases  

Dam                                      Human-environment interaction  

Deforestation                              Oil extraction  

 

MODULE LEARNING OBJECTIVES

After successfully completing this module, you should be able to:

·         Explain how we are in the Anthropocene

·         Identify the relationships among population growth, resource consumption and sustainability

·         Recognize the global impact of human-environment interactions

·         Define and identify contributors of global climate change

·         Define and identify the effects of global climate change 

·         Describe the spatial patterns related to farming and aqua-farming

·         Determine the benefits and consequences regarding dams and water diversions on both society and the natural environment



 


INTRODUCTION

This module examines aspects of human environment interaction. Topics include the Anthropocene era, resource consumption, sustainability, deforestation, dams and water diversions, agriculture, and climate change. Many of these topics will use historical satellite imagery to assess human-environmental changes over time. The modules start with four opening topics, or vignettes, which are found in the accompanying Google Earth file. These vignettes introduce basic concepts and examples of human-environment interaction. Some of the vignettes have animations, videos, or short articles that will provide another perspective or visual explanation for the topic at hand. After reading the vignette and associated links, answer the following questions. Please note that some links might take a while to download based on your Internet speed.

 

 Expand the INTRODUCTION folder and then select Topic 1: Welcome to the Anthropocene.

 Read Topic 1: Welcome to the Anthropocene.

Question 1: What are three ways we have altered the Earth’s natural cycles? (Check all that apply).

 

A.   Resource consumption

B.   Burning fossil fuels

C.   Endangered species extinction

D.   Poor land management

 

 Read Topic 2: Population Growth. 

 

Question 2: What is the speaker’s solution to curbing population growth rates?

A.   Birth control and fresh water

B.   Global governance, investment in green technology, and investments to remove poverty

C.   Military intervention, government cooperation, and crop monitoring through remote sensing

D.   Converting ocean water to fresh water

 

 

 Read Topic 3: Resource Consumption

 Question 3: After reading the cartogram map (where a larger-than-actual sized nation means more fuel use and a smaller-than-actual sized nation indicates less fuel use) assess the fuel use of Japan (purple)?

 A.   Average because it aligns with nations in the middle east and India

B.   Less than average because its map representation is small

C.   Greater than average because it aligns with other large-consuming nations

D.   Purple denotes minimal consumption

 

 

 Read Topic 4: Sustainability.

 

Question 4: Which of the following items is not one of the seven programs working around the core principle of sustainability, as guided by the EPA Strategic Research Action Plan?

A.   Air, Climate, and Energy (ACE)

B.   Weather Reporting (WR)

C.   Safe and Sustainable Water Resources (SSWR) 

D.   Sustainable and Healthy Communities (SHC)

 

 Collapse and uncheck INTRODUCTION.


GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE

The ability of humans to modify the natural environments across the world is increasingly apparent. These four examples show you different ways in which we are impacting the Earth.

 Expand the GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE folder.

 Expand and click the Algeria and Tunisia folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 Double click and select 1988, and examine the image.

 Select 2000 and examine the image. Check the 2000 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 5: What new feature exists in 2000? (Check all that apply).

A.   Lakes

B.   Urban growth

C.   Clearcutting

D.   Reforestation

Question 6: What would create these new features?

A.   Excessive rain

B.   Global climate change

C.   Human interaction

D.   Drought

 Expand and click the China folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 Double click and select 1979 only, and examine the image.

 Select 2004 and examine the image. Check the 2004 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 7: What has significantly increased in this image?

A.   Watershed

B.   Urban growth

C.   Lakes

D.   Fresh water

Question 8: As a result, what has significantly decreased in this image?

A.   Watershed

B.   Urban growth

C.   Sedimentation

D.   Boating

 Expand and click the Brazil folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 Double click and select 1975 only, and examine the image.

 Select 2001 and examine the image. Check the 2001 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 9: What has increased from 1975 to 2001?

A.   Agriculture

B.   Forestry

C.   Urban Growth

D.   Fire

 Uncheck both 1975 and 2001 imagery.

Question 10: How does the 2001 imagery compare to the most recent imagery on Google Earth?

A.   Urban growth has slowed significantly

B.   The rate of forestry has not changed

C.   The rate of forestry has increased

D.   Urban growth is more significant

 Expand and click on the Canada folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 Double click and select 1974 only, and examine the image.

 Select 2004 and examine the image. Check the 2004 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 11: What has expanded over the 20-year period?

A.   Mining

B.   Energy from oil

C.   Salmon fishery

D.   Forestry

 Click NASA - Athabasca. Click on the play button and watch the time series animation. Read the excerpt.

Question 12: Which of the following statements best describes the Athabasca site:

A.   Forestry, not oil, is a greater economic contributor to the region

B.   The Athabasca oil sands contribute only 15 percent to the gross domestic growth

C.   Starting in 2000, oil prices climbed, making the oil sands profitable again

D.   When considering all the factors, the oil sands do not offer a stable source of energy and economic growth

 

 Click Back to Google Earth at the top left of the 3D Google Viewer. 

 Collapse and uncheck GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE.

 GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE

Introduction

 Scientists who study climate change examine the variations in climate over long temporal scales, irrespective of the physical or human causes. However, most of society defines climate change using a more restrictive definition: specifically, one that incorporates a shorter temporal scale (usually a decade or longer) and within the context of how such changes influence or affect environmental, economic, or society/social phenomena (NSIDC) The current debate over global climate change has less to do with whether or not the climate is changing, and more on whether (and by how much) human activity is causing global climate change. 

 

 

Figure 1. Temperature Trends in the Contiguous USA, 1985-2006.

 Since the early 20th century, average global temperatures have increased nearly 0.8°C (NOAA, 2012). Scientists point to an increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2). While greenhouse gases are naturally found in the atmosphere (and necessary for moderating Earth’s temperatures), human activities such as deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels add CO2 into the atmosphere. Measurements of CO2 concentrations at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawai’i show a significant increase from 1959 (315.97 ppm) to 2011 (391.62 ppm) (NOAA, 2012).

While we may not be able to see CO2 in the atmosphere, we can see and feel some of the human induced causes and effects of an increase in CO2.



Contributing Factors

 We will be looking at two contributing factors to global climate change that are visible on the landscape –deforestation and fossil fuel extraction.

 

Deforestation

 Deforestation may be defined as the removal and conversion of forested land to non-forested land. Reasons for deforestation include agriculture, cattle ranching, expanding populations, logging, and biofuel production. The loss of these forested areas contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, as trees both absorb carbon (by converting CO2 to oxygen through the process of photosynthesis) and sequester carbon (by acting as a reservoir for carbon – trees are about 50 percent carbon). While we rely on trees for many things - lumber, fuel, pulp, paper and so on – the rate and extent of deforestation makes it a global issue.

 

 Expand and click the Deforestation folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 Double click and select 1973 only, and examine the image.

 Select 1999 and examine the image. Check the 1999 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 13: What physical evidence is there of deforestation?

A.   More roads were built

B.   Increased lake sedimentation

C.   Patches that infer forestry

D.   Mudslides from excessive rain



Question 14: What are the light green areas? (Hint: look at the shapes)

A.   Water

B.   Burn areas

C.   Urban growth

D.   Clearcutting

 

Fossil Fuel Extraction

 Fossil fuels are geologic deposits of organic materials that are burned (oxidized to carbon dioxide and water) to create energy. Coal, petroleum (oil) and natural gas are some of the fossil fuels used to generate electricity, create heat, and power motorized vehicles. Our society is highly dependent on fossil fuels, and the production of carbon dioxide from the burning of these fuels is linked to global climate change.

 

 Expand and click the Oil Extraction folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 Double click and select 1989 only, and examine the image.

Question 15: Are there any small circles on the 1989 image? If so, what are they?

A.   Oil

B.   Nothing

C.   Clearcutting

D.   Parking lots

 

 Select 2004 and examine the image. Check the 2004 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 16: Are there any small circles on the 2004 image? If so, what are they?

A.   Lakes

B.   Oil

C.   Housing

D.   Forest burn areas

 

 

 Expand Coal Extraction.

 Double click and select Surface Mine.

 

This is Hobet Mine, a surface mine located in Boone County, West Virginia. This type of coal extraction process is called surface mining, strip mining, and mountaintop removal. As the coal seams in this region are a thin layer near the surface, coal extraction can become quite extensive. Since the 1980s, this mine has rapidly expanded and as of 2012, encompassed approximately 10,000 acres (15.6 square miles) of land (NASA, 2012).

 

 Double click and select Surface Mine Tour. Make sure your elevation exaggeration in the Google Earth 3D Viewer is set to 1.

 

Question 17: What are the white or off-white areas?

 A.   Pot ash deposits

B.   Salt deposits

C.   Burn areas

D.   Remains of strip mining

 

Coal operators are required by law to restore the shape of the land after the coal has been removed. Assess how well the topography has been recreated in the reclaimed areas (specifically, how well do the mountaintops and valley bottoms look compared to the original topography of the surrounding area?).

 Close the tour control panel: .

 

 Select and click NASA – Hobet. Click the play button and watch the time series animation. Read the excerpt.

 

Question 18: Generally speaking, in which direction (N, E, S, or W) has the growth and expansion occurred?

A.   North

B.   East

C.   South

D.   West

Question 19: What percentage of streams in the Mud Water watershed is being impacted by the surface mining?

A.   20 percent

B.   40 percent

C.   60 percent

D.   80 percent

 Click Back to Google Earth at the top left of the 3D Google Viewer. 

 

Effects

 

You have examined some human induced contributors to global climate change. In this section, you will examine some of the visible effects of climate change on the landscape.

 

 Expand and click the Antarctic Ice Shelf folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 

 Select A and B.

 Double click and select 2002, and examine the image.

 Select 2006 and examine the image. Check the 2006 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

 

Question 20: What happened between A and B?

A.   Increased ice accumulation

B.   No change

C.   Increase ice melting

D.   Oil intrusion

 Select Larsen Ice Shelf and read the paragraph.

 

Question 21: How large was this ice shelf?

A.   1000 square kilometers

B.   3250 square kilometers

C.   5350 square kilometers

D.   200 square kilometers

Question 22: What were the temperatures like in the summer of 2002 when the event occurred?

 

 Expand and click the Disappearing Lake folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 

 Double click and select 1963, and examine the image.

 Select 2007 and examine the image. Check the 2007 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

 

Question 23: What has happened to the lake between 1963 and 2007?

A.   Excessive rain caused more sediment to fill the lake basin

B.   Increased irrigation and consumption, plus less rain fall, depleted the lake water

C.   Heavy concentration of minerals made the lake water unusable

D.   Animal and human waste destroyed the lake

Question 24: Where has been the most change - the northern part of the lake, or the southern?

A.   The southern part because most of the inhabitants live there

B.   The southern part because heavily forested

C.   The northern part because it gets most of the rain

D.   The northern part because it has the most people and the least rain

 

 Select Lake Chad and read the paragraph.

 

Question 25: Compare the rainfall on the southern one-third of the lake to the northern two-thirds of the lake.

A.   The southern rainfall amount is greater than the northern rainfall amount

B.   The southern rainfall amount is less than the northern rainfall amount

C.   The rainfall amount is consistent around the entire lake region

D.   The lake depends solely on runoff from rains that occur elsewhere

Question 26: Why is the lake particularly susceptible to climate change?

 

A.   The elevation of the lake influences storm activity

B.   The southern one-third region is more arid

C.   The depth of the entire lake exceeds 50 meters

D.   The northern two-thirds region is more arid

 

 Collapse and uncheck the GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE folder.

 

 

FARMING

As the human population grows, our need for food also grows. While approximately 38 percent of land area is used for agricultural purposes, only 11 percent of Earth’s land area is arable, or suitable for growing crops (en.worldstat.info). However, arable land is not spread out evenly across the Earth’s land, and some countries have more arable land than others. For many locations with increased populations, crops are being grown on marginal lands, such as shallow soils, areas prone to drought or flood, or steep slopes. These lands show intense land modification in order to grow food.

 

 Expand the FARMING folder.

 

 Expand and click the Crops folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 

 Double click and select 1986, and examine the image.

 Select 2004 and examine the image. Check the 2004 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 27: What country is this?

A.   Ireland

B.   Saudi Arabia

C.   China

D.   Australia

Question 28: What are the green circles in the 2004 image?

A.   Scars from oil drilling

B.   Forest plantation

C.   Housing

D.   Center-pivot irrigation

Question 29: Explain why center-pivot irrigation (CPI) systems would be used here.

A.   Aquifer water source

B.   High number of days of sunlight

C.   Endless labor resource

D.   Limitless energy source

 

 Expand and click the Produce folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 

 Double click and select 1974, and examine the image.

 Select 2000 and examine the image. Check the 2000 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

 

Question 30: What country is this?

A.   Spain

B.   Mexico

C.   Cuba

D.   China

 

1: Question 3:Produce is being grown here. What are the green gray (plastic) rectangles in the 2000 images where the produce is being grown (Hint: Produce now grows “indoors”)?

A.   Solar panels

B.   Row crops

C.   Water retention ponds

D.   Greenhouses

Farming is not exclusive to land. Aquaculture, or aquafarming, is becoming a more common – and sometimes more profitable - means of obtaining seafood worldwide. Many locations around the world have modified the natural environment to create aquatic farms where fish, crustaceans, mollusks and other aquatic organisms are cultivated under controlled conditions.

 

 Expand and click the Shrimp folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 

 Double click and select 1987, and examine the image.

 Select 1999 and examine the image. Check the 1999 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 32: What country is this?

A.   It’s the border shared by Honduras and Nicaragua

B.   It’s the coastline for Papau New Guinea

C.   Greenland

D.   Florida, U.SA.

Question 33: What evidence do you see of aquaculture, or aquatic farming?

A.   Settlements are on high ground and the farming is at sea level

B.   The dendritic shape of the river

C.   The prominent green color

D.   The regular patterns including squares and rectangles

 

 Select C.

 

Question 34: The rapid growth has caused many environmental problems, including the degradation and destruction of mangrove ecosystems, the changes in the Gulf’s hydrology, and over declines in water quality and aquatic biodiversity. From the imagery, which of these issues is visually most evident at location C?

A.   The degradation and destruction of mangrove ecosystems

B.   The changes in the Gulf’s hydrology

C.     Over declines in water quality and aquatic biodiversity

 

 Collapse and uncheck the FARMING folder.

 

 

DAMS AND DIVERSIONS

Dams are barriers that impound, or retain water. Dams are built to prevent flooding downstream, to generate hydroelectric power, to divert water for irrigation, and to reclaim land from the sea. Although we have the knowledge, technology, and audacity to control these bodies of water, dams are laced with environmental issues, many of which manifest on the physical landscape. Dams not only disturb natural fluctuations in water (particularly areas that have seasonal flooding), they degrade water quality, decrease biodiversity, and disrupt sediment (that is, rock, mud and so on) transport. Reservoirs can even emit carbon dioxide from the decomposition of flooded trees and other non-aquatic vegetation.

 

 Expand the DAMS AND DIVERSIONS folder.

 

 Expand and click the Aral Sea folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 

 Double click and select 1973, and examine the image.

 Select 2006 and examine the image. Check the 2006 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 35: What has happened to the sea?

A.   Drought and evaporation

B.   Excessive runoff

C.   Urbanization

D.   Salinization 

 

 Select NASA - Aral and read the paragraph.

 

Question 36: What is the primary reason for the Aral Sea shrinking?

A.   Lack of snow melt

B.   Salinization

C.   Drought

D.   Irrigation

Question 37: What happened to the fishing communities that relied on the Aral Sea?

A.   They collapsed

B.   They annexed with other communities

C.   They flooded

D.   They turned from farming to industrial livelihoods

 

 Expand and click the Three Gorges Dam folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 

 Double click and select 1987, and examine the image.

 Select 2004 and examine the image. Check the 2004 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

The Three Gorges Dam, located on the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River, is the largest dam on Earth. It is used primarily for hydroelectric power and flood control; however, there are many negative environmental issues and social impacts.

 Double click and select D.

Question 38: What has happened to villages near location D?

E.   They flourished because of the availability hydroelectric power

F.    They annexed with each other to become a larger jurisdiction

G.   They were flooded when the dam was constructed

H.   They chose to remain with old farming methods

 

 Double click and select Length.

 

Question 39: What is the length of the dam, in miles?

A.   0.12 miles

B.   1.2 miles

C.   12 miles

D.   122 miles

 Expand and click the Isahaya Bay folder. To close the citation, click the X in the top right corner of the window.

 

 Double click and select 1993, and examine the image.

 Select 2003 and examine the image. Check the 2003 image on and off to see the change between the two images.

Question 40: What has happened between 1993 and 2003?

A.   Boat marinas

B.   Flood control

C.   Housing

D.   Shrimp or fish farms

 

 Select H.

 

Question 41: What is the primary role of the sea wall gates, found at location H?

A.   Regulate the sea water entering and leaving the shrimp/fish farms

B.   Control boating traffic

C.   Encourage fish spawning

D.   Generate hydroelectric power

 

 

 Collapse and uncheck the DAMS AND DIVERSIONS folder.



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    lab 11:human environment interaction

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