24 votes

Could the extraction of energy by wind turbines be harmful to the environment?

The short answer is yes, it's possible. And it can also reduce harm. Summary of the changes Here's a brief summary of the changes that happen when electricity is generated from a wind turbine, rather ...
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  • 4,090
16 votes

What is the difference between climate change and global warming?

Is "Climate Change" a derived theory within "Global Warming", or vice versa? Is "Climate Change" a reiteration of an earlier theory, "Global Warming"? Are these terms in fact synonymous? In ...
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  • 20.4k
8 votes

Will a country that cares for its environment be affected by climate change due to other countries' pollution?

The main driver for anthropogenic climate change is carbon dioxide because it is very long-lived and hence relatively evenly distributed within the atmosphere. And even if you'd somehow manage to keep ...
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  • 994
7 votes

How old is Earth's groundwater?

The age of groundwater can vary over a large span. The moment a drop of rain enters the ground it becomes groundwater and when it reaches the groundwater table, the water starts to flow towards a ...
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  • 5,896
7 votes
Accepted

Why don't we feed the plastics to the termites?

Many animals can eat through plastic to get to what they really want to eat. Among them: termites, mice and myself when battling against a candy wrapper. However, as far as I understand, none of them ...
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  • 17.1k
7 votes

Is pure "heat" harmful to the environment?

As with the answer to most things that involves consumption or absorption it's a question of degree, quantity and duration. Heat is energy that is being transferred. All life forms require a certain ...
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  • 21.8k
7 votes

Could the extraction of energy by wind turbines be harmful to the environment?

Taming hurricanes with arrays of offshore wind turbines Nature Climate Change 4, 195–200 (2014) It finds that large turbine arrays (300+ GW installed capacity) may diminish peak near-surface ...
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6 votes

What does 5,000,000 tonnes of CO2 look like?

The question is hard to give a definitive answer to, as it depends on the pressure at which the gas is kept in the tank. But to try to give an intuitive sense of how much gas this is, let's work out ...
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6 votes

Do solar panels reduce the amount of suns rays reflected back into the atmosphere? Therefore reducing global warming

Whether solar panels reduce the amount of suns rays reflected back into space depends on their albedo and the albedo of the surface that they cover. Desert sand, for example, is fairly reflective and ...
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  • 5,727
5 votes

How old is Earth's groundwater?

Groundwater ages vary enormously across the globe and with depth: from hours in parts of Florida and areas with Karstic geology, to tens of thousands of years in the American breadbasket, all the way ...
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5 votes
Accepted

Regeneration rate of nature after environmental catastrophes

It sounds like you are asking about plants taking up carbon at different stages of Ecological Succession that occur after some catastrophic event (e.g. a wildfire or lava flow). If the prior ...
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  • 12.7k
5 votes

Will a country that cares for its environment be affected by climate change due to other countries' pollution?

If no-one does anything the result will be bad for everyone. If only a small number of countries (or global regions) do something and the rest of the planet does nothing the effect will be minimal or ...
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  • 21.8k
4 votes
Accepted

What is the difference between climate change and global warming?

Note: As the OP, it's not quite fair to say this is "my" answer, but a synthesis of the many comments provided. -- Thank you. Question Restatement: Given the many representations of "Global ...
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4 votes

Is pure "heat" harmful to the environment?

Changes to temperature are harmful to the environment - or, to use a perhaps-less-contentious wording, changes to temperature change the environment. The important thing here is to understand how heat ...
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4 votes
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Mud bricks with shale

Your idea has merit. Shale is classified by geologists as being a mudstone. It is composed of silt and clay sized minerals. According to this geology website, shales can be crushed to produce a clay ...
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  • 21.8k
4 votes

Removing agricultural plastic film waste after 10+ years degradation

One issue that you've got is the area will be contaminated with fragments of plastic that are microscopic in size to large pieces and they will be at varying depths throughout the soil. To most ...
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  • 21.8k
4 votes
Accepted

Traits of invaded ecosystems? Are my compost worms a threat to New York?

The native worms are not good at competing for some reason. There's a reason for that. There are no native earthworms in New York. Still, before the most recent glaciers there were worms in these ...
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  • 20.4k
4 votes
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Why is reverse osmosis desalination the dominant method used and not heat-based methods? Also why is brine being dumped back into the ocean?

Starting with question 2): you can use heat to evaporate the water but you need some sort of energy or thermal exchange to cool and condense it back to liquid. My understanding is that reverse osmosis ...
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  • 4,319
4 votes
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Is the maximum human population carrying capacity of Earth higher or lower than the current total human population?

The FAO estimate that we use 11% of the Earth's surface area for agriculture, and that that represents approximately a third of the land that 'could' be used (http://www.fao.org/3/y4252e/y4252e06.htm)...
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  • 1,606
3 votes
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Was this reef protected?

The caption under the image on the Digital Globe website identifies the location as Fiery Cross Reef. Multiple sites identify what's going on as the Chinese government building an airstrip and ...
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  • 3,130
3 votes
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The influence of special emissions (possibly coal mining activity) on particulate matters

The first thing to consider is, if it is not the adjacent coal mine, what other nearby sources could produce such a result. Is there a coal fired power station or a factory nearby. If there are no ...
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  • 21.8k
3 votes

Do solar panels reduce the amount of suns rays reflected back into the atmosphere? Therefore reducing global warming

The way I understand the basics of global warming is we are putting to much Co2 into the atmosphere which increases the size / density of atmosphere shell, sun rays enter the atmosphere then there is ...
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  • 20.4k
3 votes

What control the atmospheric lifetime of different metals in aerosols?

You could say that metals and aerosols reside in the atmosphere but I'm struggling to call that "atmospheric lifetime", which I've only heard in reference to gases. The residence time of particulate ...
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  • 12.7k
3 votes

Calculate flow rate of wetland for gray water treatment

What you're really looking at is a fairly basic groundwater flow problem. What you need are hydraulic conductivity values for the "gravel" sediment in question. Given the fixed 1% grade, what you want ...
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3 votes

Mud bricks with shale

Adding to Fred's answer, there are two points you have to take into consideration: Whether the "shale" is actually composed of clay minerals, or is it something else. You said it's what they took out ...
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  • 22.2k
3 votes
Accepted

Regarding car exhaust and its possible carcinogenic effects

Yes almost definitely. Its not just gas, but additives, lubricants/oils, coatings, coolant (some of which leaks into the combustion chamber) etc. The full list of known carcinogens is available here. ...
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  • 2,361
3 votes

Why don't toilets use saltwater?

This question has tenuous links to Earth Sciences, but the answer is simply that, historically, freshwater has been used to flush toilets, and hence the sewage treatment plants have been developed to ...
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3 votes
Accepted

How many BTU per cubic meter does typical paper waste yield when burned in a modern domestic fireplace

About 12 million BTU, or 3.5 MWh. I searched for paper btu and got loads... of... hits. Seems like 7000 BTU/lb is a decent starting point, or $1.6 \times 10^7\ \mathrm{J/kg}$. If we say a ream of ...
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  • 10.8k
3 votes

Solution for the coexistence of overpopulated human species with nature

It's important to understand that this problem is a bit more nuanced. Population growth in every species is exponential (as much as exponential growth can exist, in reality almost nothing is proven to ...
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