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Earth Science

¨  What are four problems that might occur from too much or too little rainfall in a city?
¨  What is the prediction for the future climate of the Earth?
¨  Why is a volcanic eruption sometimes accompanied by great rains?
¨  How does the relief of a region influence the climate?
¨  How do deltas form and why do they form in the mouths of rivers?
¨  I can't find any earth science questions for my science report.  Can you help me figure one out?
¨  Which form of electromagnetic radiation is absorbed by carbon dioxide and water vapor in our atmosphere?
¨  Which came first, the rock or the sand?
¨  What special training do you have to get to become a meteorologist?
¨  How does sea water become salty?
¨  Accuracy of movie The Day After Tomorrow
¨  Information about the Río Tinto River

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QUESTION:
What are four problems that might occur from too much or too little rainfall in a city?

ANSWER from Michelle Mock on 26 January 2006:
This sounds like a homework question.  Think about it.  Many areas suffer from droughts (lack of rain).  What do you think that affects?  Imagine that you get too much rain.  What problems might that cause?  I can think of many more than 4 problems for either scenario.  Now... think about something else.  Imagine living in a place that rarely gets rain (i.e., the desert).  What happens in places like that if they get a heavy storm?  Also, imagine living in a place where rain is a frequent occurence.  What would happen if they went through a long stretch with no rain at all?  Sometimes the problems associated with weather are much more severe if the area is not used to the specific type of weather.  Extremes in weather (severe storms or severe droughts) cause more extreme problems.  Think about the situation.  Imagine these extremes in your city.  I am guessing that you are expected to write an essay type answer and not just list four problems.  So... think about it and come up with a great answer!  We'd like to see it when you do!  So... when you answer the question, if you would like, send your answer to us.  Reference this question so we know why you are sending us your answer.  Good luck in your investigation!

Michelle Mock
Imagiverse Educational Consortium

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QUESTION:
What is the prediction for the future climate of the Earth?

ANSWER from Silvia Larocca TRANSLATED by Michelle Mock on 18 November 2005:
"To predict is very difficult, especially when one is referring to the future" says a Chinese proverb.  And this is the dilemma in which scientists find themselves at the moment with respect to the effects of global warming on future climate.  Here is a link [in Spanish] to ongoing studies on this subject: http://usuarios.netgate.com.uy/carlosfleitas/calglo.htm

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QUESTION:
Why is a volcanic eruption sometimes accompanied by great rains?

ANSWER from Silvia Larocca TRANSLATED by Michelle Mock on 18 November 2005:
Because in a volcanic eruption great amounts of water steam are released.  The water steam is condensed, forming clouds, and these precipitate.

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QUESTION:
How does the relief of a region influence the climate?

ANSWER from Silvia Larocca TRANSLATED by Michelle Mock on 18 November 2005:
The relief, according to its form and direction, acts on the temperatures and precipitations.  It works as a barrier to winds, produces insulation differences according to the exposed slope and modifies the regime of precipitations, whether that be on windward slopes (exposed to the action of the wind) or leeward slopes (protected from the wind).  When an air mass moves on a mountainous chain, it is forced to ascend and flow over it.  When ascending the air cools off and the water steam that it contains condenses, forming clouds.  The clouds then precipitate the moisture in form of rain or snow.  This happens on the windward side (the side from where the wind blows).  When the air mass crosses the tops of the mountains, it loses a large percentage of the moisture.  As the air begins to descend on the opposite side, it is compressed, warmed and dried out.  For this reason that on the leeward side of mountains (opposite side of where the wind blows) there are many deserts.  This is what it is known as the rain shadow effect.

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QUESTION:
How do deltas form and why do they form in the mouths of rivers?

ANSWER from Silvia Larocca TRANSLATED by Michelle Mock on 18 November 2005:
A delta is a group of islands (a triangular zone) which is formed by sediments dragged by a river and deposited in its opening.  As the sediments are deposited in the opening, the river is forced to divide itself in diverse channels.  It is due to his triangular form (similar in shape to the Greek character) that it is called a delta.

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QUESTION:
I can't find any earth science questions for my science report.  Can you help me figure one out?

ANSWER from Jenny Alvarez on 6 November 2005:
The best way to get ideas and questions for your earth science report is to first look to you text book.  Flip through your book until you find something that really interests you, and then look it up on the Internet.  You can go to google.com or askjeeves.com for some great websites.  Finding a question that you'll be able to really enjoy finding an answer for, starts by finding a topic you really enjoy.

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QUESTION:
Which form of electromagnetic radiation is absorbed by carbon dioxide and water vapor in our atmosphere?

ANSWER from Roger Herzler on 31 October 2005:
This website has an extraordinary amount of information about what in our atmosphere acts as a radiation filter:
http://hosting.soonet.ca/eliris/remotesensing/bl130lec3.html

It might help you find the information you're looking for.  I found that using google.com and putting in a search for 'electromagnetic atmosphere filter' returned a terrific set of results.  You should try it:
http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&q=electromagnetic+atmosphere+filter&btnG=Search

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QUESTION:
What came first the rock or the sand?

ANSWER from Vicky Hamilton on 19 October 2005:
The rock came first.  Sand is made when rocks get broken down into smaller pieces in a process called "weathering".

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QUESTION:
What special training do you have to take to become a meteorologist?

ANSWER from Imagiverse on 4 October 2005:
Claire has also answered several questions which are archived under Earth Science, Science and Careers in our Q&A archives.  You can use the Google.com search (which is located on our home page http://imagiverse.org/) to search for Claire Martin to find answers from her.

If you understand Spanish, we have several answers from meteorologist Silvia Larocca:
http://imagiverse.org/espanol/questions/archives/

Silvia's interview is at:

http://imagiverse.org/espanol/interviews/silvialarocca/silvia_larocca_01_06_03.htm

The requirements for a meteorologist vary from one country to another. Depending on the job, different education, training and experience may be required.

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QUESTION:
How exactly does sea water become salted?

ANSWER from Stephanie Wong on 17 July 2005:
Sea water is salty because of all the salt (sodium chloride) that is dissolved in it.  The ground contains many minerals and salts, many of which are soluble in water.  Since all the water on the Earth eventually flows to the sea, any salt (particularly sodium chloride) that is in the water will flow out to sea, where it accumulates.  If enough accumulates, the water becomes salty.

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QUESTION:
I have recently watched the movie The Day After Tomorrow, and I was amazed and somewhat scared about the weather that can happen so fast.  Can you give your profesional opinion, can such weather happen?  Is it realisitc that it can happen that quickly, and can we expect something like that to happen in near future?

ANSWER from Claire Martin on 22 December 2004:
Movies like The Day After Tomorrow are made to build on all of our fears.  Luckily movies are simply just that - movies, not generally factual.

Our climate is changing - and there are many dramatic ramifications of global climate change - but the sheer speed and absolute volume of weather changes shown in that movie are simply not likely to happen.  Our climate will change at a much more manageable pace - we will notice longer, hotter summers, later starts to the winter, etc.  And we may see the number of hurricanes gradually increasing over the next decade or so.  All this is not to say that we shouldn't stay on top of the situation, and that we shouldn't try our hardest to mitigate the social and economic damages to our world from the changes.  But we will not see the kind of change in the weather that is portrayed in the movies.

Phew!

Claire Martin
Meteorologist

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QUESTION:
I am student of Geography, and am making a report on the Río Tinto River.  I would appreciate material sent to me on the physics and chemical characteristics of this river.

ANSWER from Michelle Mock on 29 October 2004:
Have you read the articles about the Río Tinto at Imagiverse?
English: http://imagiverse.org/resources/exploration/mars/articles/riotinto.htm
Spanish: http://imagiverse.org/resources/exploration/mars/articles/riotinto_es.htm

The articles contain links to archived webcasts which likely contain the information that you are looking for:
http://robotics.nasa.gov/courses/fall2003/webcast_info.php
http://robotics.nasa.gov/courses/fall2003/sp/webcast_info_sp.php

The material on those pages is excellent!  Every other broadcast was in Spanish and there is a Spanish transcription of the broadcasts which were in English.

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Last Updated:
20 December 2005
 

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