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DOI: 10.1036/0071453199


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This book is dedicated to the environmental heroes of the past 200 years, who had the vision, courage, and quiet persistence to preserve pristine forests, open lands, and endangered species, as well as bring pollution issues into general view. Because of their efforts, we have a good chance of surviving our global growing pains. Thank you.

Linda D. Williams

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Acknowledgments ATMOSPHERE

xiii 1

Our Planet Earth 3

Ecosystems and Biodiversity 21

Atmosphere 41 Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming 73

Part One Test 91


The Hydrologic Cycle Oceans and Fisheries Glaciers

Water Pollution and Treatment Part Two Test

101 125 147 171 193






Weathering and Erosion Deserts

Geochemical Cycling Solid and Hazardous Waste Part Three Test


Fossil Fuels

Nuclear and Solar Energy

Wind, Hydroelectric and Geothermal Energy

Future Policy and Alternatives

Part Four Test

Final Exam

Answers to Quiz, Test, and Exam Questions

Terms and Organizations

Conversion Factors



203 221 243 261 277

287 303

319 335 351

377 383 393 395 401

This book is for anyone with an interest in Environmental Science who wants to learn more outside of a formal classroom setting. It can also be used by home-schooled students, tutored students, and those people wishing to change careers. The material is presented in an easy-to-follow way and can be best understood when read from beginning to end. However, if you just want more information on specific topics like greenhouse gases, geothermal energy, or glaciers, then you can review those chapters individually as well.

You will notice through the course of this book that I have mentioned milestone theories and accomplishments of geologists and ecologists along with national and international organizations making a difference. I've highlighted these innovative people and agencies to give you an idea of how the questions and strong love of nature have motivated individuals and countries to take action.

Science is all about curiosity and the desire to find out how something happens. Nobel prize winners were once students who daydreamed about new ways of doing things. They knew answers had to be there and they were stubborn enough to dig for them. The Nobel prize for Science has been awarded over 475 times since 1901.

In 1863, Alfred Nobel experienced a tragic loss in an experiment with nitroglycerine that destroyed two wings of the family mansion and killed his younger brother and four others. Nobel had discovered the most powerful weapon of that time—dynamite.

By the end of his life, Nobel had 355 patents for various inventions. After his death in 1896, Nobel's will described the establishment of a foundation to create five prizes of equal value "for those who, in the previous year, have contributed best towards the benefits for humankind," in the areas of Earth Science, Physics, Physiology/Medicine, Literature, and Peace. Nobel wanted to recognize the heroes of science and encourage others in their quest for knowledge. Perhaps the simple ideas that changed our understanding of the Earth, ecosys-

tems, and biodiversity will encourage you to use your own creative ideas in tackling important Environmental Science concerns.

This book provides a general overview of Environmental Science with chapters on all the main areas you'll find in an Environmental Science classroom or individual study of the subject. The basics are covered to familiarize you with the terms and concepts most common in the experimental sciences, of which Environmental Science is one. Additionally, I've listed helpful Internet sites with up-to-date information on global warming, atmospheric factors, and energy alternatives, to name a few.

Throughout the text, I've supplied lots of everyday examples and illustrations of natural events to help you visualize what is happening beneath, on, or above the Earth's surface. There are also quiz, test, and exam questions throughout. All the questions are multiple-choice and a lot like those used in standardized tests. There is a short quiz at the end of each chapter. These quizzes are "open book." You shouldn't have any trouble with them. You can look back at the chapter text to refresh your memory or check the details of a natural process. Write your answers down and have a friend or parent check your score with the answers in the back of the book. You may want to linger in a chapter until you have a good handle on the material and get most of the answers right before moving on.

This book is divided into four major parts. A multiple-choice test follows each of these parts. When you have completed a part, go ahead and take the part test. Take the tests "closed book" when you are confident about your skills on the individual quizzes. Try not to look back at the text material when you are taking them. The questions are no more difficult than the quizzes, but serve as a more complete review. I have thrown in lots of wacky answers to keep you awake and make the tests fun. A good score is three-quarters of the answers right. Remember, all answers are in the back of the book.

The final exam at the end of the course is made up of easier questions than those in the quizzes and part tests. Take the exam when you have finished all the chapter quizzes and part tests and feel comfortable with the material as a whole. A good score on the exam is at least 75% of correct answers.

With all the quizzes, part tests, and the final exam, you may want to have your friend or parent give you your score without telling you which of the questions you missed. Then you will be tempted not to memorize the answers to the missed questions, but instead to go back and see if you missed the point of the idea. When your scores are where you'd like them to be, go back and check the individual questions to confirm your strengths and any areas that need more study.

Try going through one chapter a week. An hour a day or so will allow you to take in the information slowly. Don't rush. Environmental Science is not difficult, but does take some thought to get the big picture. Just plow through at a steady rate. If you're really interested in deserts, spend more time on Chapter 10. If you want to learn the latest about the oceans and fisheries, allow more time for Chapter 6. At a steady pace, you'll complete the course in a few months. After completing the course, you will have become a geologist-in-training. This book can then serve as a ready reference guide, with its comprehensive index, appendix, and many examples of cloud structures, energy types, erosion, and geochemical cycling.

Suggestions for future editions are welcome.

Linda D. Williams

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Illustrations in this book were generated with CorelDRAW and Microsoft PowerPoint and Microsoft Visio, courtesy of the Corel and Microsoft Corporations, respectively.

National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and United States Geological Survey (USGS) statistics and forecasts were used where indicated.

A very special thanks to Dr. Karen Duston of Rice University for the technical review of this book.

Many thanks to Judy Bass at McGraw-Hill for her unfailing confidence and assistance.

Thank you also to Rice University's staff and faculty for their friendship, support, and flexibility in the completion of this work.

To my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren who will inherit the Earth that is left to them.

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