Oil Spill In the Gulf of Mexico:

The oil spill in the gulf of Mexico has now become the largest offshore spill in the US history. The whole incident started when the drill released methane gas and it exploded, and caused a fire. A well head was damaged started to release oil into the ocean. It spits out about 20,000 to 40,000 barrels of crude oil each day, and total about tens of millions of gallons spilled to date. All fail safes, well failed, and no one knows how the well blew. The bigger issues are how will this affect the gulf, the ecosystems and how much harm will result from this ?

1.1 Biomes/ 1.2 Ecosystems

The gulf of Mexico is composed of three different terrestrial biomes: desert, tropical rain forests and the grasslands, and a marine biome. This Oil Spill will greatly affect the many diverse ecosystems within the gulf of Mexico. Many marine mammals are breathing in harmful toxic vapors, sea turtles will be greatly affected and at the sea floor clams, muscles, and tube worms. Other things like the marshes and plant life will be affected for some time,by the surface oil and the seepage at the bottom.

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TOPIC 4: Describe how natural phenomena can affect climate: Volcanic Eruptions

1784, seems to be where it all started, Benjamin Franklin made perhaps the first connection between volcanoes and global climate. He observed that during the previous year the summer was unnaturally cold in Europe and the Us; the ground froze early, the first snow stayed on the ground without melting and the winter was much colder than ever. On top of that there was this constant fog that stayed over most of Europe and North America. What Benjamin had watched was in fact the result of volcanic activity, more specifically it was an enormous eruption in the Laki fissure system.

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So how exactly do volcanic eruptions effect global climate. There are two ways that are supposedly effecting the climate. One is the amount of carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere, which contributes to the enhanced greenhouse effect; but don't get me wrong though the amount of carbon dioxide volcanoes contribute is still nothing compared to what humans produce. The main concern when major volcanoes go off is how much of a cooling affect they have on the Earth. This cooling effect occurs when a volcano produces atmospheric haze. Large eruption columns inject ash particles and sulfur-rich gases into the troposphere and stratosphere and these clouds can circle the globe within weeks of the volcanic activity. The small ash particles decrease the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the earth and lower average global temperatures. The sulfurous gases combine with water in the atmosphere to form acidic aerosols that also absorb incoming solar radiation and scatter it back out into space.

There have been many cases throughout the history of time when a major eruption happens the earth experiences a cooling effect. For example the Laki eruptions, they produced close to 14 cubic km of basalt. This affected Europe by dimming the sun a lot; but mostly Iceland. The atmosphere produced acid rain destroying crops, killing a majority of the livestock and 25 percent of the humans died from famine or toxic impact. Another big eruption occurred in Aug 26, 1883, the volcano Krakatau erupted sending volcanic material 40 km high. Again darkness was one of the first signs and neighboring Indonesian islands of Java and Sumatra were the first to experience this. The fine particles circled the entire Earth several times before settling down.

It seems as though the effect volcanoes have is pretty simple, but the eruption of El Chich and Mt. St. Helen's two years before altered their view. The thing is when Mt St. Helen blew its top it lowered global climate by 0.1 degree C. El Chich, a much smaller eruption, had 3-5 times the global cooling affect. The thing here was even though the amount of ash produced was much smaller it emitted 40 times the amount sulfur-rich gases. This revealed that the amount of sulfur areosals has a much bigger effect on global climate then the volume of ash produced.

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There have been many greater eruptions Pinatubo in the Philippines which had double the cooling effect on the Earth compared to El Chich; or the Indonesian volcano Tambora that released the most ash and volcano gases ever. It particularly hit New England and Europe, with snow in August. This was known as "the year without summer." In all these cases the temperature only fell 0.2-1.0 degrees Celsius on the global climate scale. This may not seem like much but when our last ice- was happening the global climate was only 5-6 degrees less than what it is today.

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It seems as though we don't have much to worry about, but the truth is volcanoes still effect us and the Earth. The proof is the recent eruption in Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, We've seen how it"s canceled many flights from Europe because it filled the atmosphere with fine particles. You still might think "Oh but that's over now." The truth is though we could still experience something like what Benjamin Franklin experienced in 1783. We don't have to worry about this volcano; we have to worry about its neighbor, Katla. Every time Eyjafjallajökull goes off volcano Katla has gone off. This could lead to a harsh winter for the US and Europe. There also would be the problem of toxic gases spreading around and affecting people. People in Hawaii living near the volcano tend to suffer from sore throats chronic coughs, and eye irritation. Then

again nothing can be said at this time, this is the worst-case scenario.

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People have seen how volcanoes have affected Earth an us throughout time, causing many problems; While others have even said the cooling effect has kept Earth from burning up due to human activity. Volcanoes still affect us and we can see that today. They probably will affect us in the furture as well with good or bad outcomes, we cant do anything to stop them but just like before we'll have to live with it.

A video to sow you how quickly ash particles and volcanic gases can spread into the sky and atmosphere.