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Introduction to Earth and
Environmental Engineering
3. Surface Systems
Akane Miyazaki
3. Surface Systems
â–¡ Types of environmental problems
・Protection and regulation
・Trend of environmental problems
â–¡ Why some environmental problems
are global issue?
・Surface processes
Environmental problem has two aspects…
One is protection.
John Muir (1838-1914)
Father of the National Parks
There was a plan to make a huge dam in Yosemite.
Muir tried to protect the nature untouched. His
activism helped to preserve the Yosemite Valley and
so on.
In 1892, Muir founded Sierra Club, which
is a prominent American conservation
Other NGOs were founded, too.
1905, National Audubon Society,
1935, Wilderness Society
1936, National Wildlife Federation
In US and Europe, environmental
problem started with protection.
The other aspect is regulation.
Minamata disease was discovered in 1956
The disease was caused by methylmercury, which was
formed by mercury sulfate contained in waste of
Chisso Cooperation. However, it had taken long time
to identify the relation and many victims have suffered.
Four big pollution diseases of Japan
1912, Itai-itai disease (Cd)
1956 Minamata disease (Methylmercury)
1965 Niigata Minamata disease (Methylmercury)
1961 Yokkaichi Asthma
Environmental Agency was created
in 1971, and regulation started.
Today both of US and Japan have government
agency which deal with environmental issues.
Ministry of the
United States
Protection Agency
Types of environmental problems
Climate Change
Air pollution
Urban pollution
Industrial pollution
Today, environmental problems tend to be
more and more global issue and agreement
among many countries is needed to tackle
the problems.
Why some environmental problems are
global issue?
CO2 emission varies among countries.
However, the nations that emit huge amount CO2
are not the same to the country where people
suffer a lot from the effect of climate change.
(1)Vunidogoloa, one of the first in the world to be entirely
re-located because climate change made their previous
location uninhabitable.
Coastal communities from the South pacific to North
America face relocation. Thousands of Fijians lost
their homes to Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016, the
strongest storm to ever reach land in the southern
hemisphere. Many now live in informal settlements
without access to adequate sanitation, making them
vulnerable to waterborne diseases, such as cholera.
The storm cost Fiji $US1.4 billion, more than a
quarter of its GDP.
(2 )Norway
In northern Norway, Indigenous Sami reindeer
herders. They told me that climate change is
making reindeer herding much more difficult,
undermining an activity at the heart of their culture
and their economy.
Dominica, a small island state in the Caribbean,
where Hurricane Maria damaged over 90% of
homes in 2017, inflicting losses more than 2.5
times larger than the country’s GDP.
Why some environmental problems are
global issue?
Because pollutants tend to diffuse.
CO2 emitted from some countries diffuse
all over the world and affect global air
Because ocean and river connect countries,
(Marine litter found in Japan had package had
foreign letters.)
waste is transported to other countries.
(Donau River flows through 10 countries.)
Mechanism for movement of materials
“flow” and “diffusion”
Gradual movement of concentration within a
body, due to a concentration gradient, with
no net movement of matter
For the same matter, proportional to
concentration difference
For different matter, decided by diffusion
Diffusion coefficient varies a lot depending
on phase
Gas (the speed of gas molecule is close to
speed of sound)
Liquid (1/10,000 of gas)
Solid (much smaller than gas and liquid)
Flow Matters move together with flow
Mobility is controlled by viscosity
Both diffusion and flow are controlled by phase:
Gas > Liquid >> Solid
Most of global environmental problem is gas
issue, such as climate change caused by
CO2 emission.
There are flow of global scale in atmosphere
and hydrosphere.
Local air movement: Wind
Sun has temperature of
6000℃ and emits mainly
visible light.
The energy of Sun light is
absorbed on the surface of
Earth and emits as heat
The air close to the ground
is warmer and lighter.
Warm Air
Low pressure
Warm Air
Cool air
Low pressure
High pressure
While warm air makes updraft, cool air come
down to the ground making high pressure.
Warm Air
Cool air
Low pressure
High pressure
Pressure gradient
On the ground pressure gradient is formed and
wind blows.
Coriolis force
High pressure
Low pressure
The Earth is a spinning globe where a point at
the equator is travelling at around 1100
km/hour, but a point at the poles is not moved
by the rotation. This fact means that projectiles
moving across the Earth’s surface are subject
to Coriolis forces that cause apparent
deflection of the motion.
Global air movement: Atmospheric Circulation
Trade wind: permanent eat-to-west
prevailing winds that flows in the Earth’s
equatorial region (between 30°N and
30°S latitudes).
Columbus used trade wind to sail to America.
George Hadley proposed the atmospheric
mechanism by which the trade wind was
Sun light
Sun lihgt
Solar light per area is
less at higher latitude
Updraft around ground is
biggest around equator.
At tropopause, air sprit and flow to north and
south, and downdraft around 30°N and
30°S. Then, blow back to equator.
Today, the circulation is known as
“Hadley Circulation.”
Today, it is known that atmospheric circulation
is consists of 3 cells, including Hadley
Horizontal water movement: Circulation by wind
Seawater is layered.
Oceanic current is formed by friction of air,
which circulates global scale.
Vertical water movement: Circulation by density
Wind-driven surface currents travel
polewards from the equatorial.
En route, it becomes denser because
warm water evaporates.
The dense water flows into the ocean
basins, while bulk of it upwells.
Wallace S. Broecker (1931-2019)
He developed the idea of Global conveyor belt.
He studied carbon cycle and used chemical
tracers and isotope dating in oceanography.
He found it takes ca. 4000 years to cycle the
He also popularized the term “global warming.”
The water in these circuits transport both energy
(in the form of heat) and mass (dissolved solids
and gases) around the globe. As such, the state
of the circulation has a large impact on the
climate of the Earth.
Dr. Wallace S. Broecker
in 2010. His research
into the oceans, the
atmosphere and the
planet’s ice gave him a
deep understanding of
global warming — a term
he helped establish in
the popular imagination.
From The New York Times
Feb. 19, 2019
Because of the circulation of atmosphere and
hydrosphere, environmental problems are
global issue today. How can we tackle them?
We see it next week.
Report for today’s class
Today, we learned surface processes
substances and cause international
environmental problem. As one of such
global environmental problem, let’s think
about depletion of ozone layer. Answer the
following questions in your report.
(1) What is the chemical substance
responsible for depletion of ozone layer?
(2) Why depletion of ozone layer is problem?
Explain the function of ozone layer.
(3) Explain the mechanism how ozone has
been damaged.
(4) How have we tackled to this problem?
(5) How is the problem today?
*Report should be within a sheet of A4 paper.

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