AP Environmental Science Flashcards

Terms Definitions
a layer of soil.
Earth's rigid outer rock layer
Assert fundamental principles of ethics are universal,unchanging and eternal
devices containing alkaline substances that precipitate out much of the sulfur dioxide from industrial plants.
invasive species
an introduced, normative species.
Wladimir Koppen
German botanist & climatologist. Developed the most widely used climate-classifying system
Fixed Nitrogen
nitrogen that's chemically combined with hydrogen, oxygen or carbon
the worth of something or someone.
bacteria or fungi that absorb nutrients from nonliving organic matter like plant material, the wastes of living organisms, and corpses. They convert these materials into inorganic forms.
formed from populations of different species occupying the same geographic area.
tertiary consumers
organisms that consume secondary consumers or other tertiary consumers.
the carrier organism through which pathogens can attack.
Third step in Nitrogen Cycle. Nitrate (NO3), ammonia (NH3) or ammonium (NH4) is absorbed by plant roots, which incorporate the nitrogen into plant proteins and nucleic acids. Animals then eat the plants and take in the nitrogen compounds (amino acids) and convert them to animal compounds (proteins)
overarching models of the world that guide our interpretation of events.
environmental racism
unequal distribution of access to resources/being environmentally active due to one's race.
process for producing knowledge on a certain aspect of life.
the liquid that percolates to the bottom of a landfill.
a process in which cold, often nutrient-rich, waters from the ocean depths rise to the surface.
the region draining into river system or other body of water.
countries that have a renewable annual water supply of about 1,000,2,000 m3 per person.
inner core
the molten core of the Earth.
refers to when farmers plant seeds without using a plow to turn the soil.
primary pollutants
pollutants that are released directly into the lower atmosphere.
a symbiotic relationship in which one member is helped by the association and the other is harmed.
an organism that must obtain food energy from secondary sources, for example, by eating plant or animal matter.
an underground layer of porous rock, sand, or other material that allows the movement of water between layers of nonporous rock or clay. Aquifers are frequently tapped for wells.
Nitrogen fixation
first stage of Nitrogen cycle. gaseous nitrogen is converted to ammonia (NH3) or ammonium (NH4) by certain kinds of bacteria, such as cyanobacteria
movement of water from land to bodies of water such as lakes and eventually to the ocean
an if, then statement that provides a testable/provisional explanation.
environmental justice
A combination of human rights with environmental protection.
chronic effect
an effect that results from long,term exposure to low levels of toxin.
carrying capacity
the maximum population size that can be supported by the available resources in a region.
population density
the number of individuals of a population that inhabit a certain unit of land or water area.
a group of organisms of the same species that live in the same area.
biological weathering
any weathering that's caused by the activities of living organisms.
the place where two plates abut each other.
the unit used to describe the volume of fossil fuels.
the raising of fish and other aquatic species in captivity for harvest.
Hadley cell
a system of vertical and horizontal air circulation predominating in tropical and subtropical regions and creating major weather patterns.
low-level radioactive waste
radioactive wastes that produce low levels of ionizing radiation.
the part of the Earth and its atmosphere in which living organisms exist or that is capable of supporting life.
natural selection
the process by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive and transmit their genetic characteristics in increasing numbers to succeeding generations, while those less adapted tend to be eliminated.
global environmentalism
When the entire world is active in protecting/maintaining a clean/healthy environment.
photochemical smog
a mixture of air pollutants caused by nitrogen oxides. These pollutants hurt plant tissues and irritate humans' eyes and throats
the A layer of soil is often referred to as topsoil and is most important for plant growth.
photovoltaic cell (PV cell)
a semiconductor device that converts the energy of sunlight into electric energy.
peak oil (Hubbert peak)
an influential theory that concerns the long, term rate of conventional oil (and other fossil fuel) extraction and depletion. It predicts that future world oil production will soon reach a peak and then rapidly decline.
chemotroph (chemoautotroph)
an organism such as a bacterium or protozoan, that obtains its nourishment through the oxidation of inorganic chemical compounds, as opposed to photosynthesis.
industrial revolution
Use of new sources of energy from fossil fuels and later from nuclear fuels, and use of new technologies, to grow food and manufacture products
La Nina
a cooling of the ocean surface off the western coast of South America, occurring periodically every 4 to 12 years and affecting Pacific and other weather patterns.
second growth forests
areas where cutting has occurred and a new, younger forest has arisen.
Shifting Cultivation
Clearing a plot of ground in a forest, especially in tropical areas, and planting on it for a few years typically 2-5 years until the soil is depleted of nutrients or the plot has been invaded by a dense growth of vegetation from the surrounding forest. T
U.S. Noise Control Act
gave the EPA power to set emission standards for major sources of noise, including transportation, machinery, and construction.
photosynthetic or chemosynthetic life
symbiotic relationship where one partner benefits and the other is unaffected
El Nino Southern Oscillation, see-sawing of air pressure over the S. Pacific
Large distince terrestrial region having similar climate, soil, plants and animals
decomposers convert organic waste into ammonia
organic, dark material remaining after decomposition by microorganisms
removal of dissolved materials from soil by water moving downwards
Ways to conserve water
Agriculture=drip irrigation; industry=recycling; home=use gray water, repair leaks, low flow fixtures
using waste heat to make electricity
ammonia is converted into nitrate ions
Petroleum Pros
relatively cheap, easily transported, high-quality energy
Demographic Transition
as countries become industrialized, first death rates and then birth rates decline
Oceanic Crust
Composition of iron, magnesium, and silicon, basalt-rich oceanic crust
Sources of Mercury
burning coal, compact fluorescent bulbs
Kyoto Protocol
(2005) controlling global warming by setting greenhouse gas emissions targets for developed countries
Endangered Species Act
(1973) indentifies threatened and endangered species in US and puts their protection ahead of economic considerations
Alternative Energy Sources
wind, solar, waves, biomass, geothermal, fuel cells
Steps in Coal Formation
peat, lignite, subituminous, bituminous, anthracite
deposit of leached material in lower soil layers (b horizon)
Low Quality Energy
disorganized, dispersed (heat in ocean, wind power, solar energy)
Which type of radiation is most penetrating?(18)
 Age Structure Diagram
the proportion of the population/gender at each age level
Planetary Differentiation
As earth formed dense materials sank toward center of Earth while less dense materials rose developing into layers
Transitional Stage
death rates drop, birth rates still high, population grows quickly
Nuclear Fussion
two isotopes of light elements (H) forced together at high temps till they fuse to form a heavier nucleus (He). Process is expensive; not affordable at this point
Estimate of how long a radioactive isotope must be stored until safe
10 half-lives
National Environmental Policy Act
(1969) Environmental Impact Statements must be done before any project affecting federal lands can be started
the ability to meet the current needs of humanity without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs
Threshold Dose
the maximum dosae that has no measurable effect
Acid Depostion
caused by sulfuric and nitric acids, resulting in lowered pH of surface water
R Strategist
reproduce early in life; many small unprotected offspring
Mutagen; Teratogen; Carcinogen
(in order) cause hereditary changes through mutations; cause fetus deformities and cancer
Comprehensive Envir. Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)
(1980) "Superfund" designed to identify and clean up abandoned hazardous waste dump sites
List the forms of ionizing radiation.(15)
Heat wavesRadiowavesInfrared lightVisible lightUltraviolet lightX-raysGamma rays
Baby Boom Generation
following the great depression and WWII birth rates sky rocketed, 79 million ppl were added to the U.S. population
Effects of Global Warming
rising sea levels, extreme weather, drought, famine, extinction
Biotic and Abiotic
Living and nonliving components of an ecosystem
Most important thing affecting population growth
status of women in society
Tragedy of the Commons
global commons such as atmosphere and oceans are used by all and owned by none, leads to overuse and misuse
Ocean Dumping Ban Act
(1988) bans ocean dumping of sewage sludge and industrial waste
Electricity generation methods
using steam from water to turn a turbine
Total fertility Rate
an estimate of the average number of children a woman will have during her childbearing years if between ages of 15 and she bears children at the same rate as woman did this year
Major Parts of a Nuclear Reactor
core, control rods, steam generator, turbine, containment building
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
(2004) seeks to protect human health for the 12 most toxic chmicals(includes 8 chlorinated hydrocarbon pesticides/ DDT can be used for malaria control)
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act
(1976) controls hazardous waste with a cradle to grave system
List the forms of natural capital(2)
The planet's air, water, soil, wildlife, forests, rangelands, fisheries, minerals, and natural purification, recycling and pest control process.
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES)
(1973) lists species that cannot be commercially traded as live specimens or wildlife products
Explain exponential growth. How does it occur?(3)
A quantity increases by a fixed percentage of whole in a given time. It starts slowly, but after only a few doublings it grows to enormous numbers.
Best way to solve waste issue
Reduce the amount of waste at the sources
What does the atomic number tell you about the sub-atomic makeup of an atom?(10)
# of protons in the nucleus
Phosphorous cycles less easily than Nitrogen because
it doesn't exist as a gas, but instead is released by weathering of phosphate in rocks
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