Intro to Environmental Science
Acute Effects
A sudden onset of symptoms or effects of exposure to some factor
Bioaccumulation
The selective absorption and concentration of molecules by cells
Biomagnification
Increase in concentration of certain stable chemicals (e.x: heavy metals, fat-soluble pesticides) in successively higher trophic levels of a food chain or food web
Carcinogens
Substances that cause cancer
Chronic Effects
Long-lasting results of exposure to a toxin; can be a permanent change caused by a single, acute exposure or a continuous, low-level exposure
Emergent Disease
A new disease or one that has been absent for at least 20 years
Endocrine Hormone Disrupters
Chemicals that interfere with the function of the endocrine hormones (e.x: testosterone, estrogen, thyroxine, adrenaline, cortisone)
LD50
A chemical dose lethal to 50% of a test population
Mutagens
Agents, such as chemicals or radiation, that damage or alter genetic material (DNA) in cells
Milankovich Cycle
Periodic variations in tilt, eccentricity, and wobble in the earth’s orbit (Milutin Milankovich suggest these are responsible for cyclic weather change)
Neurotoxins
Toxic substances (lead, mercury) that specifically poison nerve cells
Pathogens
Organisms that produce disease in host organisms, disease being an alteration of one or more metabolic functions in response to the presence of the organism
Persistent Organic Pollutants
(POPs)
Chemical compounds that persist in the environment and retain biological activity for a long time
Risk
THe probability that something undesirable will happen as a consequence of exposure to a hazard
Teratogens
Chemicals or other factors that specifically cause abnormalities during embryonic growth and development
Toxins
Poisonous chemicals that react with specific cellular components to kill cells or to alter growth or development in undesirable ways
Albedo
A description of a surface’s reflective properties
Atmospheric Deposition
Sedimentation of solids, liquids, or gaseous materials from the air
Carbon Cycle
The circulation and reutilization of carbon atoms, especially via the processes of photosynthesis and respiration
Conventional (criteria) Pollutants
The 7 substances identified by the Clean Air Act as the most serious threat of all pollutants to human health and welfare
-Sulfur Dioxide
-Carbon Monoxide
-Hydrocarbons
-Nitrogen Oxides
-Particulates
-Photochemical Oxidants
-Lead
Carbon Sink
Places where Carbon accumulates (e.x: large forests, ocean sediments)
Climate
A description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area
Convection Currents
Rising or sinking air currents that stir the atmosphere and transport heat from one area to another
Greenhouse Effect
Trapping of heat by the earth’s atmosphere, which is transparent to incoming visible light waves but absorbs outgoing long-wave infrared radiation
Kyoto Protocol
An international treaty adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997, in which 160 nations agreed to roll back on CO2, methane, and nitrous oxide emissions to reduce the treat of global climate change
Mesosphere
The atmospheric layer above the stratosphere and below the thermosphere; the middle layer; temperatures usually very low
Stratosphere
The zone in the atmosphere extending from the troposhere to about 30 miles above the earth’s surface; temperatures are stable or rise slightly with altitude; very little water vapor; contains ozone layer
Thermosphere
Last layer of earth’s atmosphere before space
Troposphere
THe layer of air nearest the earth’s surface; temperature and pressure both decrease with increasing atmosphere
Primary Pollutants
Chemicals releases directly into the air in a harmful form (e.x: smoke stacks, car emissions)
Secondary Pollutants
Chemicals modified to a hazardous form after entering the air or that are formed by chemical reactions as component of the air mix and interact
Weather
The physical conditions of the atmosphere (temperature, pressure, moisture, wind)
Unconventional Pollutants
Toxic or hazardous substances (asbestos, benzene, beryllium, mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls, vinyl chloride) not listed in the original Clean Air Act
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