Environmental Science

A:

A windmill's function is to harness the power of the wind to generate useful energy for humans. In the past, people used this energy to grind grain or pump water. More modern windmills turn wind energy into electrical power.

See Full Answer
Filed Under:
  • How long does it take for leather to decompose?

    Q: How long does it take for leather to decompose?

    A: It takes leather between 25 and 50 years to completely decompose. Leather that has been tanned can take significantly longer to decompose because of the chemicals used to tan it.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What are the effects of ozone depletion?

    Q: What are the effects of ozone depletion?

    A: The main consequence of a depleted ozone layer is a reduction in the protection it affords against harmful ultraviolet radiation (UVB) emanating from the sun. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), increased UVB radiation damages human health, plant life, marine ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is the desert ecosystem like?

    Q: What is the desert ecosystem like?

    A: There are two types of deserts: temperate, or cold, and subtropical, or hot, which gives deserts more than one type of ecosystem. There are similarities as both get less than 10 inches of rain a year, and the air is generally dry in both types of biomes. The lack of water in either type of desert makes them harsh for people or creatures living there.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What are the types and functions of primary rain forest consumers?

    Q: What are the types and functions of primary rain forest consumers?

    A: In the rain forest, primary consumers are generally the smallest on the food chain and include insects and small mammals, such as chipmunks, mice and squirrels. Primary consumers are found in terrestrial areas and in aquatic habitats, and they are generally located on the forest floor or in low levels of the canopy. In rivers, streams and other bodies of water running through the rain forest, primary consumers include fish such as salmon that feed on water organisms and insects.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What are the effects of desertification?

    Q: What are the effects of desertification?

    A: Desertification causes a high-risk of crop failure, low economic returns on crops, a build-up of salt in the soil and the accidental burning of semiarid vegetation. This process turns usable desert land into unusable land due to poor land management.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is the world's most dangerous tree?

    Q: What is the world's most dangerous tree?

    A: The manchineel tree offers a notorious three-pronged self-defense strategy: it can choke you with its fruit, poison you with its sap, and blind you with its smoke. Literally every part of the tree is poisonous. Native to Florida, the Caribbean and Central America, the manchineel has gained an infamous reputation, and throughout history it has been both vital and deadly to humans.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What are pelagic zone animals?

    Q: What are pelagic zone animals?

    A: According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the pelagic zone, or open ocean, includes animals classified as either zooplankton or nekton. Zooplankton are small organisms that drift in the ocean currents and make up an enormous portion of the ocean's food supply. Nekton are larger animals that swim independently of current.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What caused the hole in the ozone layer?

    Q: What caused the hole in the ozone layer?

    A: The gaping hole in the ozone layer of the atmosphere over the Antarctic was caused primarily by high concentrations of ozone-depleting chemicals called CFCs. The vast hole in the ozone was discovered by scientists in the 1980s, who upon discovering the dramatic loss in ozone cover, set to work determining a primary cause. They found excessive concentrations of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the area of concern; CFCs were frequently used as additives in spray cans and refrigerants, but are now banned in most areas of the world.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What are the main parts of an ecosystem?

    Q: What are the main parts of an ecosystem?

    A: The main parts of an ecosystem are soil, water, heat from the sun, sunlight, the atmosphere and living organisms. An ecosystem is a community of non-living and living things that work together.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • How many plastic bottles are thrown away each year?

    Q: How many plastic bottles are thrown away each year?

    A: According to a 2009 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, 632,655 to 999,001 tons of plastic water bottles were discarded in 2006. This analysis calculated the total as 76.5 percent of the plastic bottles produced in the United States.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What are advantages of solar energy?

    Q: What are advantages of solar energy?

    A: Some of the benefits of solar energy include the fact that it is entirely renewable and unlimited, produces low emissions, is economical and provides jobs. Like all forms of energy, it has benefits and drawbacks.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Why are coral reefs endangered?

    Q: Why are coral reefs endangered?

    A: Coral reefs are endangered due to rising global temperatures, pollution and overfishing. It is estimated that about 1/5 of all coral reefs on the planet have been destroyed. The remaining ones could potentially vanish by 2050.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What causes the greenhouse effect?

    Q: What causes the greenhouse effect?

    A: Heat energy comes to the Earth as sunlight and leaves in the form of infrared radiation, but greenhouses gases trap some of the radiation before it can escape the atmosphere again, leading to the "greenhouse effect." This gives the atmosphere a great deal of its ambient warmth. However, as greenhouse gases have increased their presence in the environment, the temperature of the Earth has risen as a result.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Why do we need rain?

    Q: Why do we need rain?

    A: Rain is needed as a source of fresh water, which is essential for the survival of humans, plants and animals. Rain fills aquifers, lakes and rivers, maintaining the lives of living organisms. Rain maintains natural features, such as forests.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is carbon dioxide?

    Q: What is carbon dioxide?

    A: Carbon dioxide is a colorless, non-organic compound that is a gas at room temperature and comprises about 0.03 percent of Earth's atmosphere. It is produced when materials that contain carbon are combusted, and it is one of the most prevalent greenhouse gases that trap heat within the Earth's atmosphere.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What causes acid rain?

    Q: What causes acid rain?

    A: Acid rain is caused by the mixing of moisture in the atmosphere with sulfur dioxide and nitrous oxides, forming sulfuric acid and nitric acid in the precipitation that falls to the earth. In the Northern Hemisphere, the most common source of these chemicals in the atmosphere is air pollution from industry, generation of electricity and automobiles.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • Why are landfills good?

    Q: Why are landfills good?

    A: One reason that landfills are good is because they allow the government to monitor waste disposal. Although the thought of a landfill of garbage and waste does not sound appealing, they're quite beneficial to society.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What is the definition of "greenhouse effect"?

    Q: What is the definition of "greenhouse effect"?

    A: The greenhouse effect is the trapping of heat by a layer of gases surrounding the Earth. The heat is trapped by atmospheric gases such as carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and nitrous oxide.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • How does reforestation help the environment?

    Q: How does reforestation help the environment?

    A: Global reforestation in an important issue of growing concern. Forests are a natural carbon sink and absorb much of the emissions from burning fossil fuels.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • What factors affect soil fertility?

    Q: What factors affect soil fertility?

    A: The presence of nutrients, minerals, organic matter, microorganisms, and the texture and structure of the soil affect soil fertility. Fertility refers to the ability of soil to provide plants with the nutrients they require to grow and fight disease.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under:
  • How do homologous structures support evolution?

    Q: How do homologous structures support evolution?

    A: Homologous structures, such as the fins of whales and the hands of monkeys, demonstrate that while a species may use structures for different purposes, the species shared a common ancestor. By definition, homologous structures refer to those that were derived from ancestrally similar structures. The natural world is full of examples of homologous structures, which the theory of natural selection predicts should be the case.
    See Full Answer
    Filed Under: