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Weather and the Built Environment Presented by (YOUR NAME HERE) Produced by the COMET ® Program in partnership with the National Environmental Education.

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Presentation on theme: "Weather and the Built Environment Presented by (YOUR NAME HERE) Produced by the COMET ® Program in partnership with the National Environmental Education."— Presentation transcript:

1 Weather and the Built Environment Presented by (YOUR NAME HERE) Produced by the COMET ® Program in partnership with the National Environmental Education Foundation

2 Weather and the Built Environment Program Building up America Population and growth trends today History of growth in America How our buildings affect water How our buildings affect air The Urban Heat Island Air Quality What you can do to help

3 U.S. population is growing What is the projected population for 2040? a. 315 million b. 385 million c. 400 million d. 475 million

4 Where we are building We are growing along the coasts and in the west – areas prone to tropical storms, hurricanes, fires and droughts.

5 Land use is accelerating Even in areas with little or no population growth, the rate of land use is accelerating.

6 Bigger is better But it also means more land and resources are consumed. Homes, stores, and yards have all been getting bigger. Average home sizes through the years in square feet: 1950s…900 1972…1400 2000…2000

7 Industrialization and the birth of suburbs How did we get here? It began with the urge to escape dirty cities. Trolley lines made a new concept possible: the commute to the suburbs.

8 Inventions that changed the world: The car Mass production of cars and homes by ex- war assembly lines after World War II further encouraged remote suburbs.

9 Inventions that changed the world: The air conditioner Air conditioning made the south much more livable year- round – and it sure beat hauling ice! But AC and central heating also come at a price: energy.

10 If all the hard surfaces in America were smooshed together, how much land would they cover? A. California (163,395 square miles) B. Florida (65,755 square miles) C. Ohio (44,825 square miles) D. Rhode Island (5,544 square miles) How cities affect water Hard surfaces Impermeable surfaces like roads, buildings or compacted soil force more water to run off the land, rather than sinking into it and replenishing underground aquifers, major water sources for drinking and irrigation.

11 How cities affect water Pollution Water that runs off built-up surfaces frequently picks up pollutants like chemicals, bacteria, organic matter, and heat. All of these can cause problems both in your neighborhood and downstream.

12 How our buildings affect watersheds Flooding Much more stormwater runs off more quickly over built areas. Flash flooding becomes more common and dangerous, potentially overwhelming sewage systems.

13 How cities affect water Urban design Factors that contribute to weather-related runoff problems include downspouts routed to driveways instead of lawns, required setbacks, compacted soil, and overly large parking lots. How much water can be collected off of a roof measuring two thousand square feet -- a typical size -- during a one- inch rainfall event? A. 55 gallons B. 100 gallons C. 500 gallons D. 1000 gallons

14 How cities affect air The Urban Heat Island In cities, the built surfaces absorb heat better than surfaces like grass and trees in the countryside. As a result, cities are measurably warmer than their surroundings.

15 How cities affect air Factors that create the heat island * Building materials and urban design. * Plants transpire, or breathe water, and displacing them removes an important source of natural air conditioning by evaporation. * Cities produce more waste heat.

16 How cities affect air How UHI affects our weather UHI is most noticeable at night and during high pressure, light winds, and clear skies. The effect is so consistent it raises average temperatures in cities. But it is not the same effect as global warming. UHI can also increase precipitation downwind from cities and fog or haze in them.

17 How cities affect air Air pollution and health Smog and particle pollution created by and trapped around cities sickens and kills tens of thousands of people with asthma, lung and heart disease each year.

18 How cities affect air Sources Vehicles and power plants are obvious, but less obvious are lawnmowers, fertilizers, pesticides, paints, varnishes and cleaning agents. Natural sources include wildfires, sand and dust storms, pollen, and volcanic eruptions.

19 How cities affect air Ozone *Ground-level ozone, unlike beneficial stratospheric ozone, harms human health by damaging lung tissue. *Ozone is worse in summer, as its formed by a reaction between exhaust fume chemicals and sunlight.

20 How cities affect air Particle pollution This pollution is made up of ultra-fine particles that are dangerous because of their size: they are small enough to pass from your lungs into your bloodstream.

21 How cities affect air Greenhouse gasses Air pollution sources also generate greenhouse gasses. These gasses are changing Earths climate and landscape in ways that may be detrimental to humans.

22 How cities affect air Finding out about air quality in your neighborhood EPAs AIRNow site puts up-to-date air quality data on PM 2.5 (particulates) and ozone for your region at your fingertips.

23 How you can help Watersheds and Water Quality Plant a tree. Sweep driveways and sidewalks with a broom instead of hosing them off. Let part of your landscape go wild. Add or replace sidewalks with gravel, grass, mulch, or permeable pavement. Capture runoff with plants and rain gardens

24 How you can help Watersheds and Water Quality Properly dispose of oil, antifreeze, paint, and yard wastes. After heavy rains, wait to run the dishwasher or washing machine to prevent sewer overflows. Stabilize the soils your yard with grass and mulch. Cover exposed dirt during construction projects. Encourage your city and county to take action, too.

25 Rain gardens and permeable pavement Permeable asphaltImpermeable asphalt

26 Buffer zones and native vegetation

27 For the really adventurous A green roof

28 How you can help Air quality – Save energy (and money) Plant a tree. Unplug small appliances when not in use. Insulate your water heater. Switch to compact fluorescent bulbs. Seal leaks around doors and windows. Turn down the thermostat 10-15 percent while asleep or away. Look for the Energy Star label on new appliances. Have your cooling and heating systems inspected annually.

29 How you can help Protecting air quality in other ways Combine errands into fewer trips. Buy electric or battery-operated garden equipment. Avoid engine idling whenever possible. Walk, bike, bus or carpool to work/school when possible. Keep your vehicles engine maintained and tires properly inflated. Fill up gas tanks early in the morning or late in the evening. Make sure wood-burning chimneys/stoves are clean and properly vented and use only dry wood.

30 Thank you!

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