New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina, & Warming Earth
There are three parts to this assignment. Part 1 sets the overall stage for problems in coastal Louisiana, Part 2 focuses on Hurricane Katrina, and Part 3 is a quick look at recent climate/weather phenomena. FYI, looking ahead, the nature of climate change, its causes and human impact will be addressed in both Assignment 2 and Chapter 12. When you submit your answers, please make sure that your answers are numbered. Missing numbers typically occurs when you “autoformat” numbers in Word and then cut and paste answers
Part 1. The following film is the best I have seen on the many problems within southern Louisiana, including hurricanes, flooding, oil spills and a host of other issues. You’ve all probably seen the slick BP commercials on TV that glow about how the Gulf of Mexico is coming back after the BP oil spill. This film presents the real story, not the one BP and Exxon-Mobil would paint. In fact, the BP oil spill is only the tip of the iceberg, as you’ll see in this video. In addition to the science and politics behind some of these disasters, the film is exceptionally well done, with extraordinary scenery and photography, good music, and a look into the culture of coastal Louisiana. Try not to rush through the video… grab a cup of coffee and sit back and enjoy an excellent documentary! Open the following web link and sign up with your email.
1. Why did people originally choose the mouth of the Mississippi River as a place to settle?
2. What two natural disasters prompted the construction of the flood control (or river) levee system and later the hurricane levee system?
3. Why were canals cut through the wetlands?
4. What effect has the logging of cypress trees in the swampland had?
5. What “untruth” did Governor Bobby Jindal say about oil spills in Louisiana?
6. Why is the area in the “twilight” of its fishing industry?
7. What causes the toxic “dead zone” that suffocates marine life in the Gulf of Mexico?
8. How many such “dead zones” exist around the world?
9. Where is Cancer Alley? What caused (causes) Cancer Alley?
10. How much money does Louisiana’s oil and gas industry generate? Does much of this money from Louisiana’s resources filter back to the people of Louisiana, roads schools? What is Louisiana’s poverty rate?
11. The oil industry dug 100,000(+) pits for their wastes. What did they do to these pits when they were done dumping waste into them?
12. What is “client capture”?
Part 2. Conduct an Internet search for scientific information regarding Hurricane Katrina. Answer the following questions:
13. Where do hurricanes get their power?
14. Over Florida, Hurricane Katrina was only a category 1 hurricane. Why was damage in Florida so great?
15. Before the Hurricane Katrina disaster, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was taken out of the White House and placed in the Department of Homeland Security. What was the main problem with this in regard to Hurricane Katrina?
16. What role did money and the Army Corps of Engineers play in the disaster, and specifically the New Orleans canals?
17. Name four problems with the levees that led to flooding. In other words, why did the levees break?
18. Was a hurricane of this intensity expected? If yes, who predicted it?
19. What were the causes of the flooding in New Orleans? Include the role of Lake Pontchartrain.
20. Was this magnitude of a disaster expected? Please elaborate beyond ‘yes’ or ‘no.’
21. Could the damage and loss of life been prevented? If yes, how?
22. Opinion question here… Should we rebuild New Orleans? Why or why not?
23. Assuming we rebuild all of New Orleans, what steps should we take to prevent this from happening again?
24. Another opinion question… Is increased (or decreased) hurricane activity related to climate change? Why or why not?
Part 3. Open the following link: http://cpo.noaa.gov/warmingworld/glaciers.html
Some of the questions and answers here are intended to be simple; sometimes one word answers will suffice. Please do not copy the text – the purpose here is to get a basic overall view of the key factors that indicate the earth is indeed warming. (The nature of climate change, its causes, and human impact will be addressed in Assignment 2.)
25. What is the trend in air temperature over land?
26a. What is the trend in air temperature over the oceans?
26b. What natural disasters does this drive?
27. What is the trend in arctic sea ice?
28. What is the trend in mountain glaciers?
29. What is the trend in global sea level?
30. What is the trend in humidity over both land and water?
31. What is the trend in ocean heat content? (This is in top half mile of ocean, not just sea surface, and it is a huge problem, as we will see in Chapter 12).
32a. What is the trend in sea surface temperatures?
32b. What natural disasters does this drive?
33. What is the trend in snow coverage on land (snow different system than glaciers, which are more permanent).
34. What is the trend in temperature of the lower atmosphere? (This is through miles of atmosphere, not just earth surface, and it is also a huge problem, as we will see in Assignment 2 and in Chapter 12 when the greenhouse effect is covered).
35. This question is related to # 25 above. Here is a link to absolutely amazing video (“Chasing Ice”) showing the melting of ice in Greenland: https://www.youtube.com/embed/hC3VTgIPoGU?rel=0
a) How high are the chunks of ice shooting out of the water?
b) How does the size of the calving event compare to the size of Manhattan?
c) How far did glacier retreat from 1902 to 2001?
d) How far did glacier retreat from 2001 to 2010?