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UCR / geosciences / GEO 2 / What are examples of disturbances in ecology?

What are examples of disturbances in ecology?

What are examples of disturbances in ecology?

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Winter 2016


What are examples of disturbances in ecology?



Geo 2 Lecture Notes: Week 2

Terms to know:

System: a complex whole made up of diverse inter­related parts that function together.  Ex: Human body, the earth, a clock

Components: individual parts of a system, generally coupled

Ex: The heart, the lungs, the ocean, the atmosphere, cogs, clock hands

State: The set of attributes that characterize the system at a particular time  Ex: body temperature, blood pressure, etc.

Equilibrium state: State of a system where there is no change unless the system is  disturbed.

Perturbations: Temporary disturbances of a system 

Ex: Volcanic eruption putting particles in the air blocking sunlight and lowering  surface temperature of the earth.

Aerosols: Tiny solid or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere


What are aerosol particles in the atmosphere?



Note: it takes ~ 1 year for the atmosphere to mix (atmospheric circulation) and ~1000  years for the ocean to mix

Forcings: more persistent disturbances of a system

Ex: increasing sunlight over billions of years

Negative feedbacks: tend to diminish the effects of disturbances (return the system to  equilibrium stabilizing it)

Positive feedbacks: amplify the effects of disturbances (pushing the system away from  equilibrium destabilizing it)

Climatic Response to Volcanoes We also discuss several other topics like What is responsible for transmission of hereditary material?

Krakatau (1883, Indonesia) with a Volcanic Explosively Index (calculated from volume  of products, eruption cloud height, qualitative details) of 6 caused 36,000 deaths.

Caused prolonged sunsets because of the particles put into the atmosphere  provided inspiration for (The Scream , Munch)


How can we reduce the impact of volcanoes?



We also discuss several other topics like What were hester's punishments in the scarlet letter?

Tambora (1815, Indonesia) VEI 7 caused 92,000 deaths

Decreased the surface temperature of the earth by blocking sunlight causing crop  failures for 2 years of eruption. The dust tossed into the dry upper atmosphere can

Winter 2016

remain for weeks to months before settling and block sunlight cooling large areas  of the earth.

100­150 cubic km of ash and debris were ejected from the mountain in 

comparison to ~20 cubic km from Krakatoa

Sulfur compounds (sulfur dioxide) have stronger effects than dust Don't forget about the age old question of Who is the father of western civilization?
If you want to learn more check out What is a commodity chain?

∙ Because of the ability to combine with water to form a haze of tiny droplets (aerosols) of  sulfuric acid that reflect sunlight. 

∙ Causing significant cooling for as long as 2 years after sulfur­bearing eruption (evidence  found in ice core data)

Effects of Tambora

∙ 1816 became the year without a summer because of surface cooling by 3 degrees Celsius. ∙ No summer for Europe (written about), crop failures in India (both happened  everywhere)

∙ Linked to 117,000 deaths as a result of starvation and disease

∙ Lead to riots in France because of weather. Famine created conditions for typhus  epidemic as well

∙ Effected the arts, Darkness by Lord Byron, painting by William Turner, Frankenstein Chemical equilibrium (buffer against change, + or – feedback?)

NaCl = Na+ + Cl­ , where Na+ is a reactive solvent and Cl­ is a poisonous gas Constant (K) = conc. of Na+ * conc. of Cl 

The mineral halite is the salty crust left after the evaporation of sea water

Imagine salt in a pot filled with water

The salt in the pot would dissolve over time because the charged ions react with the  polarity of H2O. The constant K can predict how much salt will dissolve. If you want to learn more check out What is the space between each neuron called?

∙ When the solution dissolves as much salt as it can it is at saturation. (Reaches  equilibrium with the concentrations of salt ions)  If you want to learn more check out What are the five benefits of reading news daily?

∙ If the concentration of solvents is too much and the salt precipitates out of the  solution, then it is super saturated. (Negative feedback)

∙ If there is too little sodium to satisfy the equilibrium then the solution is under  saturated. (Negative feedback)

Stable equilibrium = steady state

Condition in which the state of a system remains constant over time, despite flow into  and out of the system. 

Winter 2016

Residence time = reservoir size (mass, vol)/ rate of inflow or outflow (g/gy­1) The average length of time a substance spends in a given reservoir that is at a steady state

Albedo Feedback: the reflectivity of a surface, expressed as the decimal fraction of total  incoming energy reflected from the surface.

Ex: Fresh snow has a larger albedo than a forest

Fig. 3-21. Systems diagram showing the positive feedback loop that includes snow  and ice cover.

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