Answer each of the following questions. Each question is worth 2 pts.
1) Global forests are considered a sink for atmospheric carbon because large trees can sequester carbon as they grow and hold the carbon in woody biomass (i.e. the mass of the tree itself) for centuries.
2) A recent study in Global Change Biology (Kautz et al., Glob. Change Biol. 2018, 24:2079-92) investigated the effects of insects, disease, and forest fires on the U.S. forest carbon reservoir. They found that insects and disease cause a net loss (or flux out of the forest reservoir) of 13.2 Mt C/yr and forest fires cause a net loss of 7.8 Mt C/yr. The U.S. carbon reservoir is approximately 8.7 Gt C.
3) The warming of artic regions in Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia have the potential to expand boreal forests which currently have a carbon reservoir of 272 Gt C. As the boreal forest expands, inflow into the forest increases as outflow remains the same.
Extra credit: The warming of the artic regions affects planetary energy balance in a number of ways. The expansion of the forests increases carbon sequestration as described above, but it also impacts albedo. Explain how albedo might be affected by the expansion of the boreal forests in the Artic. Taking into account the additional carbon sequestered and the changes in albedo, what do you think the overall impact of the expansion of the boreal forests would be on Earth’s climate? Justify your answer.
4) Venus is 67 million miles from the sun compared with Mercury which is 36 million miles from the sun. How much more solar flux does Mercury receive relative to Venus?
5) The average surface temperature of Mercury is 440 K (167o C), while the average surface temperature of Venus is 735 K (462o C).
6.) Observations of the Martian surface strongly suggest that Mars once had a much warmer climate with liquid water. Because there is no reason to believe that solar radiation and surface albedo has changed drastically since the formation of the planet, warming must be attributed to an early greenhouse effect. To explain the hypothesis of an early warm Mars, scientists have attempted to reconstruct the composition of the early Martian atmosphere. Carbon dioxide and water vapor are two greenhouse gases that are believed to have played a large role in the early greenhouse effect on Mars.
Nitrogen Cycle. In the Midwest, agricultural run-off is often high in nitrogen and being able to reduce nitrogen loading through natural processes such as denitrification can help to reduce eutrophication and hypoxic conditions. A 2006 study by David et al. (Ecol Appl. 16:2177-90) investigated the role that Lake Shelbyville, Illinois, played in reducing nitrogen loading to rivers within the Mississippi River watershed. They found that the influx of nitrogen from agricultural run-off was 9000 Mg N/ yr, while the average denitrification rate was 5200 Mg N/ yr.
7) What is the difference between the nitrogen inputs and denitrification rate in Lake Shelbyville? This is the amount of Nitrogen that leaves Lake Shelbyville and is exported to nearby rivers. Draw a diagram with Lake Shelbyville as the nitrogen reservoir and all the inputs and outputs from the reservoir.
8) The residence time for nitrogen in Lake Shelbyville is 0.40 years. What is the total size of the nitrogen reservoir in Lake Shelbyville (assuming that it is at steady-state)?
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