Coastal Ecosystems and Disturbances

Coastal ecosystems are subject to effluents from neighboring land areas as well as disturbances such as hurricanes. Excessive rainfall over land and river discharge into coastal zones brings an abundance of pollutants and nutrients from agriculture that sometimes cause explosive phytoplankton blooms. Hurricane Isabel made landfall east of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, as a Category 2 (Stafford-Simpson scale) hurricane on 18 September 2003. The storm's center tracked to the northwest, passing west of Chesapeake Bay in the early morning of 19 September. Hurricane Isabel brought the highest storm surge and winds to the region since the Chesapeake-Potomac hurricane of 1933 and Hurricane Hazel in 1954. The storm surge reached a high of 2.7 m, and sustained wind speeds reached about 30 m s with gusts of 40 ms"1. Hurricane Isabel was responsible for physical and biological changes in the Chesapeake Bay on a variety ofspatial and temporal scales. Short-term responses included a reduction of hypoxia by mixing, nutrient (nitrogen) inputs to the upper water column, and a large-scale phytoplankton bloom (3000 km2), while long-term responses included an early onset of hypoxia in spring 2004, high abundance of the calanoid copepod Eurytemora affinis in spring 2004, and an increased recruitment of Atlantic croaker. These events highlight the importance of hurricanes in the function of this large estuarine ecosystem. The study used aircraft remote sensing technology to quantify chlorophyll (Chl a).

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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