“What are those tiny solid and liquid drops in the air?”
When we think of the Earth’s atmosphere, we probably imagine that it is completely gaseous. But this is not the case, and in fact, it is impinged by tiny droplets of solid and liquid known as particulate matter. Particulate matter originates from sources such as construction sites, unpaved roads, fields, smokestacks or fires, and are usually have diameters that range from 2.5-10 micrometers. This small size allows for particulate matter to be inhaled and cause serious health problems in the lungs and bloodstream. However, with the help of a little bit of government regulation, particulate matter can be reduced!
Low-cost air pollution sensors
“How can we produce low-cost air pollution sensors?”
Air pollution sensors are absolutely necessary for policy making. But for many developing countries, such technology is often too expensive. So how can we make the costs less prohibitive? Well, let’s use our engineering mindset to figure this out. We know that the main cost of monitoring air pollution comes from deploying sensors. But humans all over the world are already carrying advanced sensors with them, smartphones! A team at the University of California San Diego have developed a series of sensors that can communicate with a user’s smartphone using an app called CitiSense to perform real-time pollution monitoring. The goal of this project is to eventually to create a system in which entire communities can use to gather pollution data
Air pollution sensors
“How can we monitor air pollution?”
With the advent of industrialization, air pollution has become a significant issue in many parts of the world, inducing grievous health issues and productivity impairments. As such, governments and independent organizations are taking action to reduce this nefarious trend. However, before we can take steps to eliminate pollution, we must first know how much needs to be eliminated. To do this, engineers have developed air pollution sensors which can analyze the atmosphere for certain elements (ozone, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrous oxide) for human analysis
What would happen if Earth’s core cooled down?
“What would be the effects if the Earth’s core cooled down?”
The core of the Earth contributes substantially to the operation of the planet. But what would happen if it were to cool down greatly? Well, let’s think about it. Not only does the core’s high internal temperature (with levels matching the surface of the sun) keep the exterior of the Earth can stay warm in the void of space, but it also serves to sustain the terrestrial magnetic field that shields the Earth from harmful radiation. So if the Earth were to cool down, it would become much like the moon, lacking an electromagnetic shield and being subject to the whims of intense temperature swings.
The Paris Agreement
“What is the Paris Agreement?”
Ever since some particular orange haired man decided to pull out of the Paris Agreement, people have been wondering what exactly it is and what a pull out what mean. Well, as I always say, let’s use our scientific mindsets to find out.
Ever since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the climate of the Earth has been rising at an exponential rate, so much so that we have come to the point that immediate global policy must be taken. Back in April 2016, nations from all over the world convened in the city of Paris to sign a treaty that stipulates the following:
- Keep the future global average temperature below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels
- Aim to limit this temperature below 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid environmental catastrophes
- Curb global emissions as much as possible
- For all nations to come together every 5 years to set more ambitious targets as required by science
- Report to each other and the public on how well they are doing to implement their targets,
- Track progress towards the long-term goal through a robust transparency and accountability system.
- For developed countries support and assist developing countries in implementing such policies and curbing emissions
By withdrawing from this agreement as one of the heaviest global polluters, the United States will become a dead weight that will slow the rest of the world to achieving all of these goals. If you are reading this and are an American citizen, please, call your senator to urge the president to rescind their previous statement regarding withdrawal.
“How do we account for plants and ground bodies in the atmospheric water cycle?”
For every terrestrial object in the universe with a moisture filled atmosphere, there must be an exchange of water between the ground and the air. So how can we account for the water given back by ground-based objects? Well, let’s use our scientific mindsets to find out. We know that water present in soil and aquatic bodies can evaporate into a gaseous. And we also know that water from plants can transpire through its stomas. Since these two phenomena are highly similar, how about we combine these two processes in our model to form evapotranspiration? Well, it turns out that professional researchers do exactly this to simplify the water cycle model, and is one of the reasons why life can be sustained on the planet.
The cause of ocean currents
“What exactly causes ocean currents?”
When someone says the word ocean, what do you picture in your mind? Most people probably think of deep blue waves crashing against a beach with more grains of sand than stars in the universe. However, a scientist will think just a tad bit differently. Instead of being limited by immediate sensory perception, they will try to understand the underlying reason of what causes the ocean currents. If this scientist gives in to this curiosity, then they will find out that such disturbances in fact have two possible causes, one form the winds and the coriolis effect and another from internal temperature differences.