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Midterm 2 Study Guide

Page history last edited by dmjepson 9 years, 4 months ago

 Midterm #2 Study Guide (All my content will be uploaded by Monday night)

This is still in the works, but is mainly all the terms we have gone over, quizzed on and emphasized in classes and labs. If you can add things (or correct things that I may have misunderstood/completely false), please do!

Good Luck :)


Xenobiotic- A substance foreign to living systems, not required by any living organism.

Anthropogenic- human caused

Toxicology- Interaction between (living organism) biotics and chemicals.

Chemicals- Organic and Inorganic

Organic Chemicals- molecules that contain carbon. Can be broken down by microbes and other organisms. Originally a toxic pollutant that can be turned into a non-toxic pollutant.

Inorganic Chemicals- No carbon, consists of heavy metals (Pb,Cd,Hg,Cu*,Co, Ni, Zn*,Se,As; * indicates micronutrients). Cannot be broken down.

Matter- Pure Substances (ie; elements and compounds) and Mixtures (split/fraction A,B,C etc, can be filtered)

3 States of Matter- Solid, liquid, vapor (gas)

3 Environmental Media- Air, Water, Soil (the media that is alive)


**This is the model we learned in class**

Environmental Chemistry is composed of; Chemistry of the Environment and Chemicals in the Environment


In ascending order:

-Chemistry of the Environment

-Air, Water, Soil (Environmental Media)


-Ecosystem Functioning



In ascending Order:

-Chemicals in the Environment

-Fate and Transport


-Environmental Toxicology


Composition of Dry Air at Ground: (gas is is percent by volume/ppm)

Nitrogen (N2) 78.08/780,840ppm

Oxygen (O2) 20.94/209,440ppm

Argon (Ar) 0.93/9,340ppm

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) 0.04/370ppm

All other gases 0.01/10ppm


Leverage Points

In Increasing Order of Effectiveness

12 Constants, Parameters, Numbers (such as subsides, taxes, standards)

11 The size of the buffers and other stabilizing stocks, relative to their flows

10 The structure of material stocks and flows (such as transport networks, population age structures)

9 The length of delays, relative to the rate of the system change

8 The strength of negative feedback loops, relative to the impacts they are trying to correct against

7 The gain around driving positive feedback loops

6 The structure of information flows (who does and does not have access to what kinds of information)

5 The rules of the system (such as incentives, punishments, constraints)

4 The power to add, change, evolve or self organize system structure

3 The goals of the system

2 The mindset or paradigm out of which the system-its goals, structure, rules, delays, parameters arises

1 The power to transcend paradigm



Resistance Time- in atmospheric gases this describes the average amount of time one of its molecules spends in the atmosphere. 

Molarity (M)- Moles of solute/liter of solution

PPM (parts per million)- milligrams of solute/Liter of water.

PPB (parts per billion)- micrograms of solute/Liter of water.


Mole- 6.022 X 1023

Negative Feedback Loop- Self correcting

Positive Feedback Loop- Self Reinforcing

Primary Pollution- from a direct source; ie tailpipe exhaust

Secondary Pollution- created from a reaction; ie, ozone created from NO2 and O2.

Aerosols- Particles that are less than 10 nanometers (PM2.5), above 10 nanometers is a particle (PM10)

Troposphere- layer of atmosphere where particulate air pollution is found

Carbon Sequestration - The process of removing carbon from the atmosphere and depositing it in a reservoir. "Carbon capture and storage" this is used to slow the atmospheric and marine accumulation of greenhouse gases which are released by burning fossil fuels.

Bioremediation- Break down of components from organisms

Phytotechnology- The utilization of plant functions for environmental management.

Ecosystem Service- Ecosystem provides it to benefit humans

Ecological Engineering- Goal is to harness ecosystem services to solve a problem, System should be self regulating.

Phytoremediation- cleaning contaminants in the environment with plants (poplar trees are commonly used, fast growing, can take in metals)

Rhizosphere-highly enriched environment on roots (with microbes)

Rhizoremediation- using roots to clean up contaminants;has a high surface area, affinity for metals, promotes microbes

Radiative forcing- to assess the effect each greenhouse gas exerts on the atmosphere, the relative is a unit used to compare the relative contribution to the infrared absorption per molecule added to the atmosphere. Three factors determine radiative forcing

Phytovolitization- Taken in as a liquid, turned into a gas; sunlight breaks down

Volitization- gas state

Phytodegredation- breaks down by biological processes (usually microbes or like organisms) only releases Carbon Dioxide and Water

Phytohydraulics- Controlling the flow of groundwater with the use of plants, method used to prevent groundwater contamination. Sites that are hydrologically downgradient from contaminated sites are at risk for groundwater contamination, this method creates a buffer or wall so that it does not become affected by contaminants.

Storm Water Pollution- caused by impervious surfaces (asphalt, concrete). Water is not allowed to perculate through soils in order to filter out contaminants that can be broken down by microbes before entering into groundwater/watersheds. Huge issue in cities. Water is not filtered due to these surfaces, and usually this runoff goes untreated directly into lakes and streams, elevating the amount of contaminants, in result ecologically damaging.

Green Roofs- Are soil and plant communities built on rooftops (mainly in urban type settings) can be intensive and extensive. Intensive requires more soil and maintenance. These roofs promote use of impervious surfaces to clean storm water, filtered by the soils and plants, then drainage systems can be used to water lawns and garden. Cleans air, can be used as an insulator. Said to maintain roofs for up to 5 times longer due to lack of damages by acidic rain and harmful UV.

VOC- Volatile Organic Compound, wants to be in gas phase, contains mainly Carbon and Hydrogen, product of incomplete combustion; Hydrocarbons and fragments

TSS- Total Suspended Solids; the quantity of solid particles in a given amount of liquid, pertaining to anthropogenic waste water. Filters through a vaccum filter, gind the mass of the filtered solids,

CEC- Contaminants of Emerging Concern; persistant, bioaccumulate, toxic, occur in large quanitites, and have localized accumulation with a likelihood of exposure.

PPCPs- Pharmacueticals and Personal Care Products; get through waste water treatment plants in usually ppt (nanogram/liter) in drinking water. Endocrine system is disrupted due to elevated, accumulated levels in body.

EDCs- Endocrine Disruptor Chemicals

BOD- Biological Oxygen Demand; determes the amount of oxygen required to be dissolved in water to maintain levels of biological activity. If oxygen levels are below the BOD, biota will not be supported to natural levels within the water-body and the ecosystem with be negatively affected causing for the loss of eco-diversity.

AEES- Advanced Ecological Engineering Systems

Water- H2O; polar molecule, more dense in liquid state than solid state

Most of the freshwater on the planet is found on ice caps and glaciers.




Comments (1)

Samantha Wolf said

at 11:31 pm on Mar 29, 2011

this is great, D, thanks so much!

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