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Topic please, thanks.

  1. Dec 9, 2006 #1
    I need to write an essay by the end of this month and it can be on anything to do with environmental physics, which i don't know too much about.

    any ideas would be appriciated, thanks.

    ps, i don't really want to write about global warming because most people wil be doing that, i want something unique, e.g. el nino affect on whale migration? (not sure what the el nino is either, something to do with the varying temperature of the water in the pacific, but whats so special about the temperature variation in that particular region anyway?)

    would comets/ meteor impacts on earth be under environmental physics? I could talk about that and its consequences, and chances, plus i could mention that new crater they found in antarctica which is very interesting.
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 9, 2006 #2


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    How about the interaction of the Sun's sunspots, flares and coronal mass ejections with the Earth?

    - Warren
  4. Dec 10, 2006 #3
    The effect of the Earth magnetic field reversals on migration patterns. Are pigeons using a magnetic compass?
  5. Dec 10, 2006 #4
    Geophysical hazards - what environmental disasters do we face and what is the likelihood of them occuring within this lifetime?
  6. Dec 10, 2006 #5


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    How about the Black Sea deluge theory? If that counts as environmental physics that is. I can give you some links if you like. Mostly they need a journal subscription I'm afraid.
  7. Dec 11, 2006 #6
    There have been some doubt raised about that event recently.
  8. Dec 11, 2006 #7


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    And I'm among the doubters. It makes an interesting topic to explore, particularly with there being so many conflicting views.
  9. Dec 11, 2006 #8
    it will realy be nice if some one will clear off our doubt. some times back i had that part of the african continent is breaking away: specifically the region called "the horn of africa" . how about relating it to plate tectonic, birth of ocean or even the movement of the earth. I can relate some reference if you are interested.
  10. Dec 11, 2006 #9
    hmm the black sea buldge theory sounds interesting,

    i don't want to do the northern lights/solar flares one because someone else is doing that, i want somthing differnent, prephaps linking to some recent events...

    by the way im a physics student with no knowlege on environmental physics things, so i'll have to do a lot of reseach and learn things while im writing this, so simple yet not too simple topics, lol

    thank you for replying.
  11. Dec 11, 2006 #10
    Energy transport in the thermosphere during solar storms, maybe. (ie, how does earth's atms get rid of the deposited energy by energetic solar particles)
  12. Dec 11, 2006 #11
    Great. I have always been very sceptical of envirnoment and physical system response; for instance the inertia of the oceans. If the thermohaline current takes ..oh.. some 1500 years from subduction in the North Atlantic along the ocean floors around the Pacific to emerge again somewhere in the south, how long would it take for the complete ocean to notice a change at the surface and how long would it take to complete equilibrium (say a sudden imput of some tera tonnes of salt, just to give an idea and to avoid climate issues like a sudden warming). Obviously such a problem is a higher order, partial lineair open loop system.

    Don't look at the oceanic proxies. We would like to compare a pristine result with the harsh reality.
  13. Dec 12, 2006 #12

    El Nino/ La Nina among other things affects upper level air flow in the United States which can influence whether or not hurricanes develop. El Nino involves high sea surface temperatures and La Nina cooler temperatures. The past hurricane season for the U.S. was a bust because upper level winds prevented potential storms from getting organized. If you're interested in doing anything about hurricanes you might want to check
    The site also carries a good picture of sea surface temperatures and histories of hurricanes.

    Hurricanes themselves might be an interesting topic for a physics related paper. Hurricanes are heat engines that if they get organized can "speed up" quickly because the water droplets in the hurricane lubricate the winds.


    I'm not sure to what extent the physics of hurricanes has been studied. Looking at the physics involved might provide some useful insights.

    You might want to check my thread on Earth's energy system and deal with the subject of how water's peculiar heat characteristics influence the atmosphere.

    there's an interesting theory about the possibility that cosmic rays influence cloud development which in turn affects whether solar energy reaches the earth's surface (warmer temperatures) or is reflected back into space (cooler temperatures). The frequency of cosmic rays hitting earth varies as earth moves through the galaxy.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2006
  14. Dec 12, 2006 #13
    No meaningful relationship is found between cosmic ray intensity and cloud cover over tropical and extratropical land areas back to the 1950s. The high cosmic ray-cloud cover correlation in the period 1983–1991 over the Atlantic Ocean, the only large ocean area over which the correlation is statistically significant, is greatly weakened when the extended satellite data set (1983–1993) is used. Cloud cover data from ship observations over the North Atlantic, where measurements are denser, did not show any relationship with solar activity over the period 1953–1995, though a large discrepancy exists between ISCCP D2 data and surface marine observations. Our analysis also suggests that there is not a solid relationship between cosmic ray flux and low cloudiness as proposed by Marsh and Svensmark [2000 ].

    "JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH, VOL. 107, NO. D14, 4211, doi:10.1029/2001JD000560, 2002 "
  15. Dec 14, 2006 #14
    Thanks. I'm a little skeptical of the theory because it seems to based on statistical claims which may be a necessary approach in biology or the social sciences. Physics should involve a more direct experimental approach showing how the effect occurs.
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