Environmental Oceanography: Topics and Analysis
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Issues Questions

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1:  The mid-year 2008 world population was 6.8 billion and was growing at a rate of 1.17%. Project what the world population would be in 2025 and 2050 at this constant growth rate. Use either N (r N0 the number of years) N0, or the compound growth equation from Appendix 1.

2:  Given a 1987 world population of 5 billion and a 2008 world population of 6.8 billion, calculate the average annual growth rate over the 21 year period. Use either r [(N N0) N0]/# years, or the compound growth equation (Appendix 1).

3:  Use the doubling time formula to estimate how long it would take a population of 6.8 billion to double in size given an annual growth rate of 1.17%.

4:  Does a population growth rate of 1.17% sound large? Explain then why it might be cause for concern. Be as specifi c as you can and cite examples if possible.

5:  In our calculations, we have thus far ignored the impact per person. In what ways does your impact on the planet as a U.S. resident differ from your perception of the impact of a resident of a developing country? Think of your diet, and focus especially on impacts on the marine environment.

6:  In light of your answer to Question 1-5, what do you think would be most effective in minimizing the impacts of humans on the planet: controlling population growth in developing countries (where most growth is in fact occurring) or curbing consumption of resources in developed countries (where the impact per person is highest)? Cite evidence for your answer. Identify the assumptions you used to answer this question.

7:  Upholding and improving women’s rights and interests (including educational, reproductive, economic, and healthcare) have been called the most important actions to control population growth. Explain how this might work. Do you agree or disagree with the statement? Give evidence for your answer.

8:  Summarize the main points in this Issue.

9:  List the ten countries with the most people in the low coastal areas.

10:  List the countries with the largest share of their population living in low elevation areas.

11:  Which countries are on both lists?

12:  What steps do you think these countries could take to lessen the impact of rising sea level?

13:  Go to https://www.cia.gov, and search for “CIA World Factbook.”2 Determine the present population and population growth rates for the three countries on both lists.3 Fill in the appropriate spaces in Table I 1-1.

14:  Calculate the doubling times for each country’s population based on the published growth rates, and place them in Table I 1-1. Doubling time is calculated using t 70/r.

15:  Use the doubling time equation to roughly estimate their populations by the year 2100, at which time sea level is projected to have risen 60 cm (2 ft). [Alternatively, use the compound growth equation (Appendix 1) to project their populations by 2100.]. Fill in Table I 1-1.

16:  How do these calculations change your assessment of the threat of sea level rise to these countries?

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