Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

c43c8edba820850813fb5d8fe3520108jpe.jpg gulf of mexico oil spill may 2010 image by jenniferpeep
c43c8edba820850813fb5d8fe3520108jpe.jpg gulf of mexico oil spill may 2010 image by jenniferpeep

The question was answered on April 20th, 2010, when a massive oil spill occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, and by the looks of the spill, it just might be bigger than the spill in the past.

A sufficient amount of life was lost during the oil spill, and even now as we speak. The oil began to reach places like Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi. The oil spill is directly affecting biomes, such as the tropical rainforest biome, as the oil is an abiotic component that is ruining the ecosystems and habitats in the biomes. The oil will affect plant life; in a wetland ecosystem like in Louisiana and Alabama, the oil will reduce the amount of oxygen for plants, and even living organisms. The oil spill is killing many living organisms, which affects the symbiotic relationships between two different species, and it also affects the predator-prey population.
external image moz-screenshot-3.jpg

OilSpillWildlife3.jpg Gulf of Mexico - Oil Spill image by gavin021025
OilSpillWildlife3.jpg Gulf of Mexico - Oil Spill image by gavin021025



Living organisms in a food chain are harmed or affected as well; if a producer is removed or its population is lessened, primary consumers will slowly diminish, and will continue to affect other species as the food chain goes. Because oil is a fossil fuel, it changes the carbon cycle significantly. The oil in the water may discontinue the life of coral communities, which is an important link to the carbon cycle. The ecosystems surrounding the affected area and its inhabitants are quite susceptible to bioaccumulation. The chemicals in the oil might accumulate in an organisms body to a point where it becomes dangerous, for example, the fish and other marine life in the gulf. Dangerous chemicals may also be passed to humans, in consideration of contaminated fish being caught, sold, and eaten by humans.

OilSpillWildlife2.jpg Gulf of Mexico - Oil Spill image by gavin021025
OilSpillWildlife2.jpg Gulf of Mexico - Oil Spill image by gavin021025




In relation to the plants, micro-organisms and animals living around the gulf, adaptation may either be slow or quick to come, depending on the organism. Slow adaptation to the current surroundings will affect an organisms ability to survive in its current habitat, and with slow adaptation and fast-changing surroundings, an organism may find its population down the drain.

The oil spill appears to be slowing down, as the the gushing oil has just been capped. The problems do not stop there, as there are long-term effects in addition to short-term ones. However, the US is making clean-up plans, closing off affected waters, and limiting fishing areas. They're also in the process of salvaging wetland communities, and saving habitats that may or already are affected by the spill. We can only look up and hope that this spill will only make us more aware and more concerned about our ever changing, ever surprising world.

Bibliography:


http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/05/02/gulf-oil-spill.html
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/06/01/1657702/even-gulf-oil-spill-attracts-investment.html
http://media.photobucket.com/image/oil%20spill%20in%20gulf%20of%20mexico/jenniferpeep/c43c8edba820850813fb5d8fe3520108jpe.jpg?o=10


How Natural Phenomena Can Affect Climate

It's true that humans have empacted our climate in a bigg way, but it's also a fact that "Mother-Nature" also plays a huge role in shaping our climate. Tsunamis, typhoons, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions are all natural phenomena's that take place in our world almost everyday beilive it or not! Those listed were just a lets say a few pedals from a whole flower of "natural disasters". Even though some natural phenomena might seem extremely dangerouse to humans and other organimisms, there are also some that can be beneficial to the planet, such as volcanic eruptions. Volcanoes can leave behind new land, like islands. Hopefully what's listed below may help you obtain a better understanding of how natural phenomena can affect climate!


Affects Locally,Nationally, & Globally

Locally: Each year there is around a 1000 earthquakes recorded and located in Western Canada. Unfortunately the Pacific Coast is the most earthquake-prone region of Canada. More than 100 earthquakes of 5+, which is large enough to cause some major damage if closer to land, have occured in the past 70 years. As you all may know about plate tectonics, the west coast of Canada is one of the few areas in the world where all three of these types of plate movements take place, which result in significant earthquake activity. Earthquakes in BC occur along the faults in the offshore region, within the subducting ocean plate, and within the continental crust. Lucklily Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the least likley to endure an earthquake in Canada. (Picture Example) http://gtalumni.org/Publications/techtopics/win99/images/earthquake.jpg

A Couple Major Earthquakes: - Queen Charlotte Island (1949) Magnitude 8.1
- Central Vancouver (1946) Magnitude 7.3

Nationally: An earthquake equiped with a magnitude of 9.0 sent a massive tsunami at the Pacific Northwest in 1700. There were waves up to 60 ft. tall. Even though this event took place quite along time ago, it's very important for North American't to know that this type of thing can happen again and be aware. U.S. Gelogical Surveyers rated that the odd of a major earthquake hitting the Pacific Northwest is between 5% - 10% in the next 30 years. (Picture Example) http://www.planetperformance.org/tsunami.jpg

Globally: Even though the Iceland volcanoe resides in North America, it very well is a global phenomena. Reason being, flights from all over Europe to North America are all being cancelled due to the amount of smoke that covers the skys in which pilots fly. A foul grey haze spreading across Europe, from Helsinki to Naples, from Heligoland to Mallorca, and reaching eventually to Aleppo and Damascus – and all of it caused by clouds of ash from the volcanic actvitities across the sea (in Iceland). (Picture Example) http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~islwgw/Heat/eruption.gif



What about the future?

Due to the enormous complexity of the atmosphere, the most useful tools for gauging future changes are 'climate models'. These are computer-based mathematical models which simulate, in three dimensions, the climate's behavior, its components and their interactions. Climate models are constantly improving based on both our understanding and the increase in computer power, though by definition, a computer model is a simplification and simulation of reality, meaning that it is an approximation of the climate system. The first step in any modeled projection of climate change is to first simulate the present climate and compare it to observations. If the model is considered to do a good job at representing modern climate, then certain parameters can be changed, such as the concentration of greenhouse gases, which helps us understand how the climate would change in response. Projections of future climate change therefore depend on how well the computer climate model simulates the climate and on our understanding of how forcing functions will change in the future.
The IPCC Special Report on Emission Scenarios determines the range of future possible greenhouse gas concentrations (and other forcings) based on considerations such as population growth, economic growth, energy efficiency and a host of other factors. This leads a wide range of possible forcing scenarios, and consequently a wide range of possible future climates.
According to the range of possible forcing scenarios, and taking into account uncertainty in climate model performance, the IPCC projects a best estimate of global temperature increase of 1.8 - 4.0°C with a possible range of 1.1 - 6.4°C by 2100, depending on which emissions scenario is used. However, this global average will integrate widely varying regional responses, such as the likelihood that land areas will warm much faster than ocean temperatures, particularly those land areas in northern high latitudes (and mostly in the cold season). Additionally, it is very likely that heat waves and other hot extremes will increase.
AR4 Figure SPM.5
AR4 Figure SPM.5

Precipitation is also expected to increase over the 21st century, particularly at northern mid-high latitudes, though the trends may be more variable in the tropics, with much of the increase coming in more frequent heavy rainfall events. However, over mid-continental areas summer-drying is expected due to increased evaporation with increased temperatures, resulting in an increased tendency for drought in those regions.
AR4 Figure SPM.7
AR4 Figure SPM.7

Snow extent and sea-ice are also projected to decrease further in the northern hemisphere, and glaciers and ice-caps are expected to continue to retreat.

Bibliography:

http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/globalwarming.html
http://www.crew.org/region/bc.html
http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2004-12-28-america-tectonic_x.htm