This module introduces a variety of meteorological and hydrological products that can improve the quality of heavy rainfall forecasts and assist with hydrological management during extensive precipitation events in Southern Africa. Among the products are the satellite-based ASCAT, SMOS, and ASAR GM soil moisture products and the hydro-estimator. The products are presented within the context of a case, the flooding of South Africa's Vaal Dam region in 2009/2010.
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In 2012, water managers in Fredericktown, Missouri, saw their city's main source of water dwindle. They used the EPAs Climate Ready Water Utilities program to consider options and develop plans to protect their water source.
Students learn about the differences between types of water (surface and ground), as well as the differences between streams, rivers and lakes. Then, they learn about dissolved organic matter (DOM), and the role it plays in identifying drinking water sources. Finally, students are introduced to conventional drinking water treatment processes.
Students learn that dams do not last forever. Similar to other human-made structures, such as roads and bridges, dams require regular maintenance and have a finite lifespan. Many dams built during the 1930-70s, an era of intensive dam construction, have an expected life of 50-100 years. Due to inadequate maintenance and/or for environmental reasons, some of these dams will fail or be removed in the next 50 years. The engineers with Splash Engineering have an ethical obligation to remind Thirsty County of the maintenance and lifespan concerns associated with its dam.
In this lesson students create a laboratory simulation of the water cycle. Indicating the change in states of matter and the flow of energy. Students also compare and contrast the cycle of matter with the flow of energy. This lesson was created as part of the 2016 NASA STEM Standards of Practice Project, a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center.
This brief presentation provides an overview of the COMET Basic Hydrologic Sciences course including: goal and target audiences, structure of the course and adapting it to your needs, and a brief description of course components.
This ZOOM video segment shows how to create a self-contained environment and explores evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. ***Access to Teacher's Domain content now requires free login to PBS Learning Media.
- Environmental Science
- Life Science
- Forestry and Agriculture
- Material Type:
- PBS LearningMedia
- University Corporation for Atmospheric Research
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- PBS Learning Media: Multimedia Resources for the Classroom and Professional Development
- Teachers' Domain
- National Science Foundation
- WGBH Educational Foundation
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The city of Fort Collins, Colorado, found a win-win solution to problems it faced with 100 acres of abandoned property. The city now enjoys new green space, improved floodwater management, and a boosted economy.
Bottled water, popular among students, is big business even though issues surrounding it related to health and safety as well as its environmental impact have stirred up controversy. Designed for an introductory non-majors environmental science course, this discussion/dilemma case explores the environmental effects associated with the production, consumption, and recycling of bottled water while touching on health and safety issues. Students also learn about government regulations regarding the extraction of ground water and labeling of bottled water; recycling laws and how states circumvent the recycling process; and the economic and ecological costs of drinking bottled water.
This dilemma case explores the controversy over introducing non-native oysters to the Chesapeake Bay as a means of improving its ecological and economic health. Developed for use in an interdisciplinary doctoral program in energy and environmental studies, it could be adapted for undergraduate courses ranging from ecology and biology to political science and geography. The case introduces students to the various stakeholders and their positions from the point of view of a senator who must cast the deciding vote on whether or not to introduce Suminoe oysters (Crassostrea ariakensis) into the bay. Students read the case, then work in small groups to develop a stakeholder position, which they later role-play in class in a simulated public hearing.
Students construct three-dimensional models of water catchment basins using everyday objects to form hills, mountains, valleys and water sources. They experiment to see where rain travels and collects, and survey water pathways to see how they can be altered by natural and human activities. Students discuss how engineers design structures that impact water collection, as well as systems that clean and distribute water.
This activity has students create a Cartesian diver, which will act in some ways like a submarine. Students will adjust the amount of air and water in an inverted test tube (the "diver") so that it at first barely floats in a water-filled bottle. Then, they will squeeze the closed bottle to create higher water pressure, causing the diver to sink. Releasing the bottle allows the diver to float again. Written instructions, a list of materials, and illustrations are included.
Students learn about power generation using river currents. A white paper is a focused analysis often used to describe how a technology solves a problem. In this literacy activity, students write a simplified version of a white paper on an alternative electrical power generation technology. In the process, they develop their critical thinking skills and become aware of the challenge and promise of technological innovation that engineers help to make possible. This activity is geared towards fifth grade and older students and computer capabilities are required. Some portions of the activity may be appropriate with younger students. CAPTION: Upper Left: Trey Taylor, President of Verdant Power, talks about green power with a New York City sixth-grade class. Lower Left: Verdant Power logo. Center: Verdant Power's turbine evaluation vessel in New York's East River. In the background is a conventional power plant. Upper Right: The propeller-like turbine can be raised and lowered from the platform of the turbine evaluation vessel. Lower Right: Near the East River, Mr. Taylor explains to the class how water currents can generate electric power.
When water utility personnel recognized their groundwater withdrawals were damaging ecosystems in the Tampa Bay area, they found new ways to reduce their dependence on it.
This lesson describes a common approach used by the United States Bureau of Reclamation to scope a study on integrating climate change information into water resources management and planning. Learners will become familiar with the types of questions that must be addressed for considering climate change impacts when scoping their study. Examples are given for several different water resources mission areas. Note that this is the second of a two lesson series, the first one is titled, "Climate and Water Resources Management, Part 1: Climate Variability and Change."
In this 1-hour lecture, presented in three parts, research hydrologist Dr. Holly Hartmann discusses issues and approaches for communicating with decision-makers regarding climate change topics in water management and planning. Dr. Hartmann is a national leader in research related to the development of decision support tools for climate, water, and other resource management applications, especially linking research with the needs of decision-makers and moving research into agency operations. Dr. Hartmann is Carpe Diem West’s Director of Climate Science Applications. Previously she was Director of the Arid Lands Information Center at the University of Arizona (UA). She is a co-investigator within the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) and leads the scenario development team within the UA Science and Technology Center for the Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA). This presentation was given as part of the Integrating Climate Change into Longer-term Water Resources Planning and Environmental Compliance class, offered 2-4 May 2016, in collaboration between The COMET Program, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Students learn how the force of water helps determine the size and shape of dams. They use clay to build models of four types of dams, and observe the force of the water against each type. They conclude by deciding which type of dam they, as Splash Engineering engineers, will design for Thirsty County.
While the creation of a dam provides many benefits, it can have negative impacts on local ecosystems. Students learn about the major environmental impacts of dams and the engineering solutions used to address them.
Through eight lessons, students are introduced to many facets of dams, including their basic components, the common types (all designed to resist strong forces), their primary benefits (electricity generation, water supply, flood control, irrigation, recreation), and their importance (historically, currently and globally). Through an introduction to kinetic and potential energy, students come to understand how dams generate electricity. They learn about the structure, function and purpose of locks, which involves an introduction to Pascal's law, water pressure and gravity. Other lessons introduce students to common environmental impacts of dams and the engineering approaches to address them. They learn about the life cycle of salmon and the many engineered dam structures that aid in their river passage, as they think of their own methods and devices that could help fish migrate past dams. Students learn how dams and reservoirs become part of the Earth's hydrologic cycle, focusing on the role of evaporation. To conclude, students learn that dams do not last forever; they require ongoing maintenance, occasionally fail or succumb to "old age," or are no longer needed, and are sometimes removed. Through associated hands-on activities, students track their personal water usage; use clay and plastic containers to model and test four types of dam structures; use paper cups and water to learn about water pressure and Pascal's Law; explore kinetic energy by creating their own experimental waterwheel from two-liter plastic bottles; collect and count a stream's insects to gauge its health; play an animated PowerPoint game to quiz their understanding of the salmon life cycle and fish ladders; run a weeklong experiment to measure water evaporation and graph their data; and research eight dams to find out and compare their original purposes, current status, reservoir capacity and lifespan. Woven throughout the unit is a continuing hypothetical scenario in which students act as consulting engineers with a Splash Engineering firm, assisting Thirsty County in designing a dam for Birdseye River.