1. Describe how the use of a tall smoke stack might improve air quality near a large industrial facility. 2. How can topography contribute to pollution in a city or region? 3. From where do hurricanes derive their energy? What factors tend to weaken hurricanes? Would you expect a hurricane to weaken more quickly if it moved over land or over cooler water? 4. Where is the Bermuda high located during the summer and fall? How might the path of a hurricane, moving toward the west from Africa, be affected by the Bermuda High as the hurricane approaches the United States? 5. How do you think pollutants are removed from the atmosphere? Does this occur quickly or slowly?
1: The smoke coming from a tall smoke stack doesn’t mix with the pollutants below it. When a temperature inversion comes in at night, the smoke from the tall smoke stack is above the top of the inversion and doesn’t get trapped with the air below. The air below doesn’t get polluted as it would with a much shorter smoke stack, and doesn’t affect the air quality. 2: Topography plays a major role in trapping pollutants. Cities like Denver and Los Angeles, that lie in a valley or between mountains get better temperature inversions. Cold air mixing with the polluted air sinks to the bottom of valleys and low-lying basins. The top of these inversions creates a blanket-like effect and traps the pollutants so that they mix with the cold air below. In these poorly ventilated areas winds can’t mix and carry out the cold air or polluted air. In cities like Los Angeles, mountains surround the sides of the city, but the cold air from the Pacific Ocean comes onto land and helps trap pollutants.
3: Several factors are required to create a hurricane. Hurricanes often start off as a Tropical wave from the west coast of Africa. The diverging air moves from east to west with storms behind it with the converging air. Hurricanes come from 5-20 degrees north or south of the Equator and move with the coriolis effect. These storms must have a light wind shear in the upper atmosphere, warm ocean waters (26.5 degrees celsius +), instability in the atmosphere and a trigger (like a tropical wave). They form into a cluster of rotating thunderstorms around a low pressure system and release latent heat from the waters. However, strong vertical wind shears, cold water and land will dissipate a hurricane quickly. A hurricane moving over land will weaken a hurricane more because hurricanes need the warm moist air that it cannot get from land.
4: Through the summer and fall the Bermuda high is located in the Atlantic, close to Bermuda. Since hurricanes are attracted to the heat and high pressure, the Bermuda high creates a perfect environment for the storm to form. Since the diverging air moving west from the African coast moves in an anticyclonic motion, it moves into the area of the Bermuda high before strengthening. The east coast of the US is very likely to receive hurricanes or the strong storms from the hurricanes rain bands. Hurricanes normally move from west, to north west to northeast. 5: Pollutants can be slowly removed from the atmosphere by various methods. Growing trees naturally filter the air. There are man-made machines to do so as well. These machines filter the air using scrubbers, house filters and other methods. These can also be installed in home air conditioning systems. After the filters are cleaned, they can be easily disposed.