ISP217L_LabManual_Spring2008 - Water and the Environment...

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Water and the Environment Laboratory ISP 217L Lab Manual Exercise 1 How much does temperature vary in large and small aquatic environments? Introduction One of the most important physical properties of water, with respect to aquatic environments, is specific heat. Water has a high specific heat, which means that it takes a relatively large amount of energy to raise the temperature of water, much more energy than is needed to raise air temperature by the same amount. This physical property has consequences for the amount of temperature variation we might expect in and around aquatic environments. The central question of interest in this exercise is how the size of an aquatic habitat influences the degree of temperature variation within it. Objectives After completing this lab, you should be able to calculate the mean (average) and standard deviation of a range of data in a spreadsheet, and make plots of temperature over time. You should also gain a hands-on appreciation for how temperature varies in water versus air, and in large versus small volumes of water. Ultimately, we hope you will gain a better understanding of how large bodies of water influence the climate of nearby regions. Tools During the first week of the lab, your group will perform a small-scale experiment using miniature bodies of water (cups, buckets, etc.) to determine how water bodies of different size change in temperature over time. In this case you will start with tap water from the sink and monitor the temperatures of each of the containers after you fill them. In science, we describe the size of objects in metric units (meters, liters, etc.), so your group will need to decide how you want to measure your containers or the amount of water in the containers. After some period of time measuring temperature, you should discover a relationship between how fast the water temperature changes compared to the size of the container. In week 2 (at the computer lab), you will apply what you learned from the small-scale experiment to help you interpret temperature data from larger aquatic environments collected during a previous semester. Temperature loggers (devices that record temperatures every hour for days at a time) were placed in 5 different environments: 1) bucket 15 liters 2) garbage can 200 liters 3) 2.5 m diameter tank 5000 liters 4) Red Cedar River 5) Open air The data have been downloaded from the loggers and are contained in a spreadsheet file that you will download from the course website on Angel. ISP217L Lab Manual Page 1
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To analyze these data you should first graph each series of data using the spreadsheet program Excel (available on all MSU computers). We will go over how to make graphs together in class. From what you learned from the small-scale experiment, you should have a qualitative idea
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ISP217L_LabManual_Spring2008 - Water and the Environment...

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