Sample Geology Coursework Paper on Hurricanes

Hurricanes

  1. Describe how the use of a tall smoke stack might improve air quality near a large industrial facility.

Most industries utilize smoke stacks to scatter smoke, vapor, and harmful gases out of their facilities. When the discharge that contains harmful chemicals is released through tall smoke stacks, it is blown away by the wind and fall far away from the facilities. Inversion, or the process that determines the formation of clouds, plays a crucial role in maintaining pollutants high in the atmosphere. During the night when the atmosphere is cold, gaseous emissions may be trapped near the ground if they are discharged from shorter stacks. Thus, tall smoke stacks are capable of releasing pollutants high above the ground, leading to improved air quality within the industrial facility. If the pollutants are not released above the inversion cap, they tend to linger near the ground, leading to air pollution within the industrial facility.

  • How can topography contribute to pollution in a city or region?

Topography is one of the factors that contribute to pollution problems in most cities. This is because most cities are built in valleys where the level of inversion is quite low. Valleys are prone to pollution due to the surrounding mountains acting as barriers to the prevailing wind (Ahrens, 2013). The cold air in valleys can hardly rise over the warm air on top of the valleys. The presence of smog within cities is due to polluted air lacking an escape as the warm air creates a barrier in the valley. Hence, the same polluted air will keep on circulating within the city region due to its topography.

  • From where do hurricanes derive their energy? What factors tend to weaken hurricanes? Would you expect a hurricane to weaken more quickly if it moved over land or over cooler water?

Hurricanes obtain their energy from the warm water vapor, which develops when the ocean’s surface becomes hot. The higher the ocean’s surface temperature, the higher the strength is available to generate high intensity storm (Stearns, 2015). Heat energy is transformed into wind energy as the water vapor condenses while the latent heat gathers inside the convective clouds, causing the storm. Hurricanes tend to get weak when they pass over cooler water, since their energy depends on the temperature of water vapor. Encounter with dry air reduces the power of hurricane due to loss of heat. Land may weaken hurricanes faster than cooler water due to the rugged terrain that blocks wind movement. Additionally, land has the capacity to absorb the moisture from the storm, hence, contributing to further weakening of the storm.

Where is the Bermuda High located during the summer and fall? How might the path of a hurricane, moving toward the west from Africa, be affected by the Bermuda High, as the hurricane approaches the United States?

Bermuda High is usually located around the southeastern region of the US during the summer, but during the fall, it moves further to the south. Its location is essential in determining the path that the hurricane assumes. During the fall, the Bermuda High pushes hurricane towards the Gulf of Mexico or towards Cuba, as it applies pressure that pushes air downward. When Bermuda High is situated at the northwestern side of the US, it directs the hurricane that originates from West Africa towards the northeastern US, causing a landfall (Morisawa, 2013). During the summer, hurricane moving westwards increases its intensity owing to the formation of the Bermuda High over the Atlantic Ocean.

How do you think pollutants are removed from the atmosphere? Does this occur quickly or slowly?

Pollutants are usually eradicated from the atmosphere through precipitation. When water vapor condenses in the atmosphere, it traps some particles, which are later dropped to the earth’s surface when it rains. Planting trees can also assist in removing pollutants from the atmosphere through the reduction of air temperature and transpiration. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide in the atmosphere during photosynthesis, and maintenance of natural environment could enhance high absorption of pollutants. The speed of removing pollutants from the atmosphere depends on temperature, as well as pressure within the atmosphere. The speed would be high in case of high temperatures since condensation will occur faster than during low temperatures. Planting more trees can also boost the rate of absorption.

References

Ahrens, C. D. (2013). Meteorology today: An introduction to weather, climate, and the environment. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.

Morisawa, M. (2013).Geomorphology and Natural Hazards: Proceedings of the 25th Binghamton Symposium in Geomorphology, Held September 24-25, 1994 at SUNY, Binghamton, USA. Burlington: Elsevier Science.

Stearns, B. (2015). The Hurricane Preparedness Handbook. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing Inc.