why ecology?. thesis: understanding how ecological systems work is necessary for the flourishing of...
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Why Ecology?Thesis: Understanding how ecological systems work is necessary for the flourishing of human societies.
At least 1,836 people lost their lives in Hurricane Katrina and in the subsequent floods.
The storm is estimated to have been responsible for $81.2billion (2005 U.S. dollars) in damage, making it the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history.
Okso how is this related to scientific understanding of how ecological systems work (i.e., Ecology)?
Keeling Curve: Measured on Mauna Loa
Global warming and tropical cyclones are naturally linked by the storms' appetite for heat. Tropical storms are heat engines that draw their energy upward from warm ocean water to drive their winds before expelling waste heat to the upper atmosphere. So warming the tropical oceans--in effect throwing more wood on the fire--might be expected to spawn more frequent or more intense tropical cyclones.Science Magazine , 2005
Science 16 September 2005:Vol. 309. no. 5742, pp. 1844 - 1846
Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration, and Intensity in a Warming Environment
P. J. Webster,1 G. J. Holland,2 J. A. Curry,1 H.-R. Chang1
We examined the number of tropical cyclones and cyclone days as well as tropical cyclone intensity over the past 35 years, in an environment of increasing sea surface temperature. A large increase was seen in the number and proportion of hurricanes reaching categories 4 and 5. The largest increase occurred in the North Pacific, Indian, and Southwest Pacific Oceans, and the smallest percentage increase occurred in the North Atlantic Ocean. These increases have taken place while the number of cyclones and cyclone days has decreased in all basins except the North Atlantic during the past decade.
Premise: Hurricane Katrina was devastating (more are expected)Premise: (At least) two factors that are directly related to storm impact are ecological/resource issues: 1) proportion of the coast in wetlands, and 2) sea water temperature (i.e., climate change).Conclusion: Hurricane Katrina is an example of humans suffering the consequences of our collective failure to adequately understand how ecosystem alterations feedback directly into human/societal well being.Update: Even now, we are doing essentially nothing to address either issue.Assertion: This cycle will continue until we have a critical mass of (relatively) powerful people in this society who demand that we assess ecosystem services before we wreck ecosystems. Question: Who are those leaders going to be??
Do not drink the water. Melani Amato Ohio Department of Health Why ecology?
Generate food plants to adapt and grow sustainably in changing environments
Understand and sustain ecosystem function and biodiversity in the face of rapid change
3. Expand sustainable alternatives to fossil fuels
4. Understand individual healthYou are living in the Era of Biological Science
According to the National Academy of Sciences (in association with a bunch of other national groupsthe 4 most pressing scientific goals for the 21st century are:A New Biology for the 21st Centuryhttp://www.nap.edu/catalog/12764.html