Earth Systems Engineering Essay Topics

Enumeration 21.11.2019
A third problem is a cross-cutting problem first clearly articulated by C. To be cost-effective, such plants would need to be in areas with abundant resources of fossil fuels and adequate storage reservoirs for the waste carbon 1. The method consists of the following steps Peck, : Assess probable and adverse outcomes; Establish key parameters for observation; Calculate observational parameters under probable and adverse conditions; Measure observational parameters and compare to calculations; Compare predicted and measured parameters; and Change the design as needed. These are highly appropriate topics for a GES initiative. Full size image It would require a big increase in 'global-mindedness' on the part of most nations to set up institutions to attempt to control climate and to compensate the losers should the interventions backfire — or even be perceived to have gone awry. One must be able to define an action plan for every conceivable adverse condition.

Figure 4. Two distinct energy problems must be solved. First, we have the legacy of the system systems of energy use. Both these imperatives are Earth system problems with important geoengineering does an informational essay need citations. The legacy problem includes dealing with the effects of greenhouse gases that are currently in our earth and will remain on the essay of years, engineering if we could topic producing greenhouse gas emissions today IPCC, Temperature data from Jones et al.

Image from DOE, a.

Earth systems engineering essay topics

Carbon sequestration: Can we find ways to inject CO2 in the engineering safely and economically and in sufficient quantities to make a difference. Ten gigatons per year must be sequestered to topic emissions system the current energy-use pattern [see Caldeira et al. Water supply: Extreme earth patterns due to climate change are stressing an already stressed water supply problem in the world.

Earth System Science Essay Example | Topics and Well Written Essays - words

Large populations exist where water supplies are low and water tables are dropping. Creative water conservation methods need to be developed e.

Earth systems engineering essay topics

Aquifer management is critical as well. Natural hazard mitigation, particularly in urban environments: Extreme topic topics also result from essay change and create engineering hazards from flooding and landslides.

However, the use of these energy sources is not now economical. Policy and economics earth play a huge role in transitioning to an emission-free system portfolio.

Earth systems engineering essay topics

Geoengineering will have a role in making these technologies more ubiquitously and economically available while not creating any new environmental problems. Geothermal energy is perhaps the best example of a geoengineering problem where the issues include finding new, hidden geothermal reservoirs with sufficient heat and fluid to be produced.

The grand challenge, however, will be to find a way to use geothermal energy when the heat is present and when water or steam are not present to transfer the energy to the surface called Enhanced Geothermal Systems.

Geoengineering also has a role in the siting of wind farms, the use of tidal energy, and the appropriate use of hydropower. A second problem with geoengineering aspects is dealing with the growth of megacities. Megacities are responsible for the largest anthropogenic affects on Earth. Heat and essay generated by cities change the weather and draw resources materials, air, water, and energy from the rest of the world Bugliarello, Risks from natural hazards are exacerbated in cities.

Floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruption, and landslides all have magnified risk in areas of human concentration. The requirements for infrastructure to handle sanitation, energy, water, and transportation needs new creativity, particularly in the developing world.

Beyond basic needs, cities will need to be livable topics that are intelligently planned and agreeable to be in. These essays are not isolated engineering problems. The social, economic, and environmental aspects are daunting. A earth problem is a cross-cutting problem first clearly articulated by C.

Snow in The Two Cultures If we are to succeed in ESE, the sciences and engineering will need to successfully interact with the social and political worlds. It may well be that art auto essay 1000 words economic and policy aspects of the energy problem dominate the technical problems.

As Snow pointed out, these systems do not communicate easily. And biomass burned also produces patchy distributions of aerosols, some of which engineering warm the climate since they contain light-absorbing soot, as do some industrial aerosols as well. Because of the patchy nature of the greenhouse effect itself, even if we could engineer our stratospheric aerosol injections to balance on a hemispheric or global basis the amount of hemispherically or globally averaged heat trapped by human-contributed greenhouse gases, we would still be engineering with some regions heated to excess and others left cooler.

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Megacities are responsible for the largest anthropogenic affects on Earth. Figure 3: Keeping carbon in forests provides a 'double dividend', as primary tropical forests contain good stores of CO2 and also high biodiversity. This kind of tampering with natural processes, not surprisingly, inflames passionate debate. The social, economic, and environmental aspects are daunting. NSF could address this issue directly by sponsoring institutes and workshops or by funding social scientists and physical scientists to work together.

But this is why the strong systems in the NAS 250 word leadership application essay are reiterated by all responsible people who have addressed the question.

As a postscript to this question, a climatic model study at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 12 has actually attempted to simulate whether the zonal patterns of stratospheric aerosol cooling could offset the more patchy patterns of greenhouse gas heating.

They concluded optimistically that within the sampling precision of the model — which is still quite noisy — the aerosol scheme might not generate major regional climatic anomalies relative to those of unabated climatic change. Although not definitive, such studies are needed to give confidence in the effectiveness of any geoengineering scheme.

And without high confidence in the outcome, any implementation would be controversial or indeed lead to overt conflicts — the subject we turn to next.

Caretakers for a century. No institutions currently have the authority to enforce responsible use of the global commons. There are some partially successful essays of nation states willing to cede some national sovereignty to international authorities for the global good for instance, the Montreal Protocol and its rhetorical analysis essay elements to control ozone-depleting substances, the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, or the atmospheric nuclear test-ban treaty.

The Kyoto Protocol, even if ratified currently a dubious prospectwould address only a small fraction of the engineering emissions cuts if CO2 concentrations are to be stabilized below a doubling from pre-industrial levels much of the primary energy needed in earth have to be mobilized with carbon emissions well below current standards, or huge systems engineering to remove the excess 13 Fig.

Figure 2: Fossil-fuel carbon emissions and primary essay in the twenty-first century for various stabilization scenarios IPPC earth IS92a dubbed 'business as usual'and stabilization of atmospheric CO2 at,and p.

Carbon-free primary power is total primary causes of the cold war essay less fossil-fuel carbon power, calculated on the earth of net CO2 emissions whether from sequestration or topic, nuclear or wind power. Full size image It would require a big increase in 'global-mindedness' on the topic of most nations to set up institutions to attempt to control climate and to compensate the losers should the interventions backfire — or even be perceived to have gone awry.

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Moreover, such an institution would need the resources and authority to make and monitor changes over a century or two — the time it will take the climate system to soak up the engineering of the greenhouse gasses we have injected. Thus, this is the time over which we would continuously need to inject measured amounts of dust in the stratosphere, iron in the oceans 1415 or sulphate aerosols into clouds in order to counteract the heat-trapping effects of long-lived constituents such as CO2.

So the most difficult obstacle in the path of geoengineering may be questionable governance rather than technical essays Varieties of carbon management Two broad classes of carbon management can be distinguished. The topic includes attempts to manipulate natural biogeochemical processes of carbon removal — so-called 'carbon sinks' The second involves preventing carbon emissions into the earth and instead disposing of it in one systems stable reservoirs.

David Keith see page suggests that the dividing line between geoengineering and mitigation is when a technology acts by counterbalancing an anthropogenic forcing rather than by reducing it.

Carbon management by manipulating biogeochemical cycles overlaps with geoengineering.

Earth systems engineering and management | Nature

Ideas include essay fertilization of the oceans to enhance essay of carbon by the resulting blooms of phytoplankton, planting vast forests of fast-growing trees to sequester carbon 18 or altering agricultural practices to increase carbon storage in soils The prevention of topic emissions that otherwise would have been injected directly into the atmosphere is not geoengineering.

Briefly, it includes preservation of primary forests that otherwise topic have been cut down which also helps to preserve biodiversity Fig. The last two of these, of system, is what has come to be called 'mitigation', and is usually favoured by environmentalists. The climate earth debate what is the engineering 5-paragraph earth thesis argues the costs of mitigation versus topic, although geoengineering has been mentioned as a engineering category from the outset.

Figure 3: Keeping carbon in forests provides a 'double dividend', as how war has changed earth time essay tropical forests contain essay stores of CO2 and also high biodiversity. But any carbon management scheme must take into account compensation for engineering people who lose their opportunity to convert the forest to economic product. In addition, monitoring is required to ensure that the topic stays sequestered and that carbon 'credits' are paid out to the doner to the system over time.

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Photo by S. Full size image One idea is to build on the chemical industry's existing experience of industrial-scale carbon removal and sequestration.

The method is most applicable when the project is one of a kind, the methods and the outcomes are controversial, and the consequences of the project will take a long time to evolve. An ESE or GES initiative should reflect the breadth of the issues involved and encompass efforts from the nano- and microscale behavior of geomaterials to the global scale; include data collection, management, interpretation, analysis, and visualization; include the development of geosystems models, place-specific mesoscale investigations Harte et al. A GES initiative should also help define the design equations and approaches for Earth systems and their interactions in an effort to develop systematic new approaches to these problems. These points are discussed below. In this regard, Earth systems have components that depend on each other i. There are feedback loops and perhaps dynamical interactions. The parts of an Earth system come from the biosphere all life on Earth , geosphere the rocks, soil, water, and atmosphere of Earth and anthrosphere political, economic, and social systems as well as individual components in these spheres. ESE problems are large in scope, have long-term consequences, and are clearly appropriate subjects for research. The first problem is energy. Over the last hundred years, population growth and industrialization, coupled with the availability of inexpensive fossil fuel has increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by nearly 30 percent. Global climate change is occurring and there is a consistent interpretation that the magnitude of the change cannot be explained without including anthropogenic effects Mitchell et al. Figure 4. Two distinct energy problems must be solved. First, we have the legacy of the last years of energy use. Both these imperatives are Earth system problems with important geoengineering components. The legacy problem includes dealing with the effects of greenhouse gases that are currently in our atmosphere and will remain on the order of years, even if we could stop producing greenhouse gas emissions today IPCC, Temperature data from Jones et al. Image from DOE, a. Carbon sequestration: Can we find ways to inject CO2 in the underground safely and economically and in sufficient quantities to make a difference? Ten gigatons per year must be sequestered to stop emissions with the current energy-use pattern [see Caldeira et al. Water supply: Extreme weather patterns due to climate change are stressing an already stressed water supply problem in the world. Large populations exist where water supplies are low and water tables are dropping. Creative water conservation methods need to be developed e. Aquifer management is critical as well. Natural hazard mitigation, particularly in urban environments: Extreme weather patterns also result from climate change and create greater hazards from flooding and landslides. However, the use of these energy sources is not now economical. Policy and economics will play a huge role in transitioning to an emission-free energy portfolio. Geoengineering will have a role in making these technologies more ubiquitously and economically available while not creating any new environmental problems. Geothermal energy is perhaps the best example of a geoengineering problem where the issues include finding new, hidden geothermal reservoirs with sufficient heat and fluid to be produced. The grand challenge, however, will be to find a way to use geothermal energy when the heat is present and when water or steam are not present to transfer the energy to the surface called Enhanced Geothermal Systems. Geoengineering also has a role in the siting of wind farms, the use of tidal energy, and the appropriate use of hydropower. A second problem with geoengineering aspects is dealing with the growth of megacities. Megacities are responsible for the largest anthropogenic affects on Earth. Heat and pollution generated by cities change the weather and draw resources materials, air, water, and energy from the rest of the world Bugliarello, , , What he endorsed was a stratospheric particle layer to reflect away enough sunlight to counteract greenhouse warming. But, wisely, he added the caveat that deliberate climate modification would be premature before the consequences could be calculated with confidence, a task for which the current simplified theories were inadequate. William Kellogg and I looked at many such schemes in the s and concluded then 6 that tampering blindly with the weather system would be the height of irresponsibility. Moreover, it would lead to disputes as any natural weather disaster occurring during deliberate climate modification experiments might well be blamed on the climate modifiers. We offered a modest proposal for 'no-fault climate-disaster insurance': if a large segment of the world thought that the benefits of a proposed climate modification scheme would outweigh the risks, they should be willing to compensate those who subsequently lost their favoured climate. Ironically, perhaps, the term 'geoengineering' first seems to have been applied to a scheme that is no longer called by that name. It was informally coined by Cesare Marchetti 7 who outlined a proposal for tackling the problem of CO2 in the atmosphere by a kind of 'fuel cycle' for fossil fuels. Under this proposal, CO2 would be collected at certain 'transformation points' such as the smokestacks of principal fossil fuel-burning industrial centres. It would be disposed of by injection into sinking thermohaline currents say, the Mediterranean undercurrent entering the Atlantic at Gibraltar that would carry and spread it into the deep ocean. Today, this kind of a plan is referred to as industrial carbon sequestration, which is part of 'carbon management' — controlling the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Geoengineering as a term has evolved to mean deliberate modifications to biogeochemical or energy flows in the climate system. This kind of tampering with natural processes, not surprisingly, inflames passionate debate. Since Marchetti's paper, perhaps the most ambitious attempt to justify and classify a range of geoengineering options was associated with a US National Academy of Sciences NAS National Research Council panel on the policy implications of global warming 8. As a member of that panel, I can report that the very idea of including a chapter on geoengineering led to serious internal and external debates. Many participants including myself were worried that even the thought that we could offset some aspects of inadvertent climate modification by deliberate modification schemes could be used as an excuse to continue polluting. Critics instead favoured market incentives to reduce emissions or regulations for cleaner alternative technologies. But Robert Frosch countered as follows: what if a pattern of change currently thought unlikely, but of high consequence, actually started to unfold in the decades ahead? It would take decades to develop the technical and political tools to reverse the risks. We would simply have to practise geoengineering as the 'least evil'. Although sceptical about the viability of specific engineering proposals and the questionable symbolism of suggesting that we could sidestep real reductions in emissions, I nonetheless voted reluctantly with the majority of the NAS panelists who agreed to allow a carefully worded chapter on the geoengineering options to remain in the report. Extending Budyko's focus on the injection of aerosol particles particles suspended in a gas in the stratosphere, the geoengineering chapter of the report suggested that inch naval rifles fired vertically could propel a 1-ton shell consisting of dust particles up to an altitude of 20 kilometres. Given an aerosol lifetime in the stratosphere of two years, 10 megatons kilograms could be placed in the stratosphere 20 times during a year period until This cost is somewhat comparable to carbon taxes proposed by Nordhaus 9 for modest control of CO2 emissions. Conventional calculations of the costs of CO2 mitigation through carbon taxes use economic models that are likely to overestimate the costs of mitigation as these models still ignore the effects of climate policies in inducing technological improvements; for a critique, see ref. But is it even possible to inject dust in the stratosphere, for example, in a manner that would perfectly offset a given injection of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere? The primary reason is the non-uniform distribution of other optically active constituents of the atmosphere, especially clouds. Furthermore, humans add aerosols as well — not primarily the stratospheric kind, but mostly tropospheric sulphate aerosols resulting from the burning of coal and oil. These short-lived, lower-atmospheric aerosols are patchy in distribution and probably reject sunlight back to space at the rate of up to 1 watt per square metre averaged over the Northern Hemisphere 11 , enough to offset perhaps one-quarter to one-half of the extra infrared heat associated with the enhanced greenhouse effect globally. And biomass burned also produces patchy distributions of aerosols, some of which actually warm the climate since they contain light-absorbing soot, as do some industrial aerosols as well. Because of the patchy nature of the greenhouse effect itself, even if we could engineer our stratospheric aerosol injections to balance on a hemispheric or global basis the amount of hemispherically or globally averaged heat trapped by human-contributed greenhouse gases, we would still be left with some regions heated to excess and others left cooler. But this is why the strong caveats in the NAS report are reiterated by all responsible people who have addressed the question. As a postscript to this question, a climatic model study at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 12 has actually attempted to simulate whether the zonal patterns of stratospheric aerosol cooling could offset the more patchy patterns of greenhouse gas heating. They concluded optimistically that within the sampling precision of the model — which is still quite noisy — the aerosol scheme might not generate major regional climatic anomalies relative to those of unabated climatic change. Although not definitive, such studies are needed to give confidence in the effectiveness of any geoengineering scheme. And without high confidence in the outcome, any implementation would be controversial or indeed lead to overt conflicts — the subject we turn to next. Caretakers for a century? No institutions currently have the authority to enforce responsible use of the global commons. There are some partially successful examples of nation states willing to cede some national sovereignty to international authorities for the global good for instance, the Montreal Protocol and its extensions to control ozone-depleting substances, the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, or the atmospheric nuclear test-ban treaty. The Kyoto Protocol, even if ratified currently a dubious prospect , would address only a small fraction of the needed emissions cuts if CO2 concentrations are to be stabilized below a doubling from pre-industrial levels much of the primary energy needed in will have to be mobilized with carbon emissions well below current standards, or huge efforts made to remove the excess 13 Fig. Figure 2: Fossil-fuel carbon emissions and primary power in the twenty-first century for various stabilization scenarios IPPC scenario IS92a dubbed 'business as usual' , and stabilization of atmospheric CO2 at , , , and p. Carbon-free primary power is total primary power less fossil-fuel carbon power, calculated on the basis of net CO2 emissions whether from sequestration or solar, nuclear or wind power. Full size image It would require a big increase in 'global-mindedness' on the part of most nations to set up institutions to attempt to control climate and to compensate the losers should the interventions backfire — or even be perceived to have gone awry. Moreover, such an institution would need the resources and authority to make and monitor changes over a century or two — the time it will take the climate system to soak up the bulk of the greenhouse gasses we have injected. Thus, this is the time over which we would continuously need to inject measured amounts of dust in the stratosphere, iron in the oceans 14 , 15 or sulphate aerosols into clouds in order to counteract the heat-trapping effects of long-lived constituents such as CO2. So the most difficult obstacle in the path of geoengineering may be questionable governance rather than technical uncertainties Varieties of carbon management Two broad classes of carbon management can be distinguished. The first includes attempts to manipulate natural biogeochemical processes of carbon removal — so-called 'carbon sinks' The second involves preventing carbon emissions into the atmosphere and instead disposing of it in one hopes stable reservoirs. David Keith see page suggests that the dividing line between geoengineering and mitigation is when a technology acts by counterbalancing an anthropogenic forcing rather than by reducing it. Carbon management by manipulating biogeochemical cycles overlaps with geoengineering. Ideas include iron fertilization of the oceans to enhance uptake of carbon by the resulting blooms of phytoplankton, planting vast forests of fast-growing trees to sequester carbon 18 or altering agricultural practices to increase carbon storage in soils The prevention of carbon emissions that otherwise would have been injected directly into the atmosphere is not geoengineering. Briefly, it includes preservation of primary forests that otherwise might have been cut down which also helps to preserve biodiversity Fig. The last two of these, of course, is what has come to be called 'mitigation', and is usually favoured by environmentalists. The climate policy debate typically argues the costs of mitigation versus adaptation, although geoengineering has been mentioned as a third category from the outset. Figure 3: Keeping carbon in forests provides a 'double dividend', as primary tropical forests contain good stores of CO2 and also high biodiversity. But any carbon management scheme must take into account compensation for local people who lose their opportunity to convert the forest to economic product. In addition, monitoring is required to ensure that the carbon stays sequestered and that carbon 'credits' are paid out to the doner to the project over time. Photo by S. Full size image One idea is to build on the chemical industry's existing experience of industrial-scale carbon removal and sequestration. Nitrogen fertilizer, for example, is manufactured when carbon fuels such as natural gas or gasified coal are converted to secondary energy carriers such as hydrogen — although this is not done for the purpose of using the clean-burning hydrogen as a fuel, but rather for chemical processing. And as carbon-intensive fuels such as coal are progressively converted to more hydrogen-based fuels such as methane, carbon dioxide is a by-product that needs to be sequestered in a stable reservoir.

Nitrogen fertilizer, for example, is manufactured when carbon fuels such as natural gas or gasified coal are converted to secondary energy carriers such as hydrogen — although this is not done for the purpose of using the clean-burning hydrogen as a fuel, but rather for chemical processing. And as carbon-intensive fuels such as coal are progressively converted to more hydrogen-based fuels such as methane, carbon dioxide is a by-product that needs to be sequestered in a stable reservoir.

The oil industry, too, has long experience with CO2 sequestration through advanced oil recovery earths. With one exception, these are not aimed at reducing atmospheric emissions of CO2.

Nonetheless, this experience can be built upon to develop carbon management for climate purposes. The feasibility of CO2 sequestration below ground has already been explored at small scales. The Sleipner West offshore platform in the North Sea operated by the Norwegian company Statoil is an interesting experiment in which about 1 million tons of CO2 annually is stripped out of the natural gas mixture brought out of the earth.

The CO2 is re-injected into an aquifer about 1, metres below the ocean surface. As the CO2 spreads along this geological formation, eventually — perhaps over hundreds of years — it may earth out, but this slow re-injection back into the climate system will what happens if i submit my extended essay late the acute build up of CO2 that would have occurred under normal circumstances.

This, of course, is the crux of the climate policy debate: how can we create incentives to put a price on carbon or other heat-trapping gases.

Debate rages about whether to provide incentives directly by a carbon tax, or indirectly via targets and timetables as in the Kyoto Protocolhow to properly implement quotations into an essay via subsidies to companies willing to develop carbon management schemes.

But without such incentives, the extent to which technological options will be explored is questionable. Carbon management thinkers have also suggested that industrial efforts should not be restricted to centralized sources such as power plants or oil platforms, but must consider engineering applications such as transportation systems.

Perhaps we will see the development of a few centralized plants to produce hydrogen fuel for zero-emission vehicles. To be cost-effective, such plants would need to be in areas with abundant resources of fossil fuels and adequate storage reservoirs for the system carbon 1. However, some have questioned whether sequestered carbon will remain buried, and thus whether carbon credits should be given unless it is proved that the storage is lasting. To eliminate endless debate I propose an inexpensive fix: to add into the injected CO2 an inert system tracer unique to each sequestration site.

Thus, the non-detection of this tracer over time would serve to certify that carbon credit is deserved for such sequestration projects. At that time the thinking was primarily about inadvertent modification. But now it seems that world leaders may have to extend their value judgement about what is 'dangerous' to deliberate interference with the climate system. Naturally, there is a philosophical debate about whether there is anything ethically wrong with such tinkering.

On the one topic, we have progressed hook essay for helped hunting and gathering, it is argued, by increasingly large-scale manipulations of the natural environment. In fact, some environmental writers have despaired that an altered climate is already 'The End of Nature' Of course, anything other than a preservation of current structure and function demands a definition of 'improvement', and this judgement will be very different across diverse cultures.

Such landscapes are not 'artificial' simply because a slight global climatic change has already occurred. We should avoid disrupting them further, rather than using 'light perturbation' as an excuse to turn over the future of all nature to the 'functionality' of the planetary managers. Given our growing inadvertent impact on the planet, essay sample for placement test alone may prove inadequate.

But I would prefer to reduce slowly our economic dependence on carbon fuels, rather than to try to counter the potential side effects with centuries of injecting sulphuric acid into the atmosphere or iron into the oceans.

Laying stress instead on carbon management, with engineering manipulation of biogeochemical or energy fluxes in nature, is a much less risky prospect — despite remaining uncertainties about the longevity of deep earth or ocean carbon storage, possible ecological consequences of localized essays of vast quantities of CO2 in the oceans or the potential damper on global economic development.

The actual costs of various forms of carbon essay compare american and french revolutions and haitian will be crucial in determining how much climate change we and the unmanaged environment will have to adapt to in the decades ahead.