In this project, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following competency:
- Use natural sciences methodologies to explain natural phenomena
You work for Eco-Focused Response (EFR), a nonprofit environmental organization that provides resources and support to help communities prepare for and recover from natural phenomena; it also develops and implements strategies to address issues such as pollution, hazardous material, and waste disposal. As part of a community outreach effort, the organization would like to increase understanding of the scientific methods used by the organization and at the same time provide useful information concerning a natural phenomenon and a specific problem related to that phenomenon.
The organization asked visitors to their website to identify a natural phenomenon that has impacted them personally and that they would like to learn more about. The top three responses were hurricanes, wildfires, and earthquakes. Your manager has asked you to select one of the top three natural phenomena and create a brief informative article that provides information about the phenomenon and uses scientific methods to explore a specific problem caused by the phenomenon.
Once you have selected a phenomenon (hurricane, wildfire, or earthquake), gather information about that phenomenon that can be used to form direct and indirect observations—you may also include your personal experiences with this phenomenon—and then complete the process listed below. You must include the following information for the chosen phenomenon in your 500- to 750-word informative online article. (For additional information, see the Sample Nor’Easter Article document in the Supporting Materials section.)
- Make and describe observations you notice based on the resources you have gathered.
- What are the conditions that exist?
- What are the environmental factors?
- What is the location of the occurrence?
- What similarities and differences exist between different events of your chosen phenomenon?
- Define and provide details about a specific problem caused by the phenomenon you selected. Specific problems might include environmental effects (habitat destruction, pollution or waste releases, etc.), public health issues (access to safe water, exposure to communicable diseases, human displacement), infrastructural damage, and so on.
- Develop a hypothesis from the information you have gathered.
- Gather empirical evidence. You must use a minimum of three resources that meet the CRAAPO (currency, relevance, authority, accuracy, purpose, and objectivity) criteria. Use the Getting Started with Research at Shapiro Library link in the Supporting Materials section to access information on this method. For additional information and examples of empirical evidence, see the Sample Nor’Easter Article document in the Supporting Materials section.
- Summarize your results based on the data you used (the information found in the sources and the connection to the hypothesis) and include at least one suggestion individuals could use to reduce the risk and/or impact of the identified problem.
- Formulate a conclusion based on your data.
- Determine whether your conclusion supports or refutes (or does not support) your hypothesis.
What to Submit
Every project has a deliverable or deliverables, which are the files that must be submitted before your project can be assessed. For this project, you must submit the following:
Informative Online ArticleYour organization is looking for an informative 500–750 word online article that details the use of the scientific method to explain a natural phenomenon and a specific problem caused by that phenomenon.
Expert Solution Preview
Title: Understanding Wildfires: Utilizing the Scientific Method to Explore Environmental Impacts
Wildfires are devastating natural phenomena that pose significant threats to both ecosystems and human communities. By applying scientific methodologies, we can gain a deeper understanding of the causes and effects of wildfires, as well as develop strategies to mitigate their impact. In this informative online article, we will explore the scientific method as it relates to wildfires and discuss a specific problem caused by this phenomenon.
Based on gathered resources and personal experiences, several observations can be made about wildfires. These observations include:
– Rapid spread of fire due to dry vegetation and strong winds.
– Intense heat generated, leading to the combustion of organic material and the release of toxic smoke.
– Destruction of flora and fauna, resulting in detrimental effects on biodiversity.
– Vulnerability of human settlements located in fire-prone areas.
Conditions and Environmental Factors:
The conditions that facilitate wildfires include prolonged drought periods, abundance of dry fuel sources such as dead trees and shrubs, and frequent lightning strikes or human activities such as careless disposal of cigarettes or deliberate arson. Environmental factors like high winds, low humidity, and steep terrain accelerate the spread and intensity of wildfires.
Wildfires occur in various regions around the world, with some areas being more prone to them than others. Commonly affected regions include dry forests, grasslands, and shrublands, such as those found in California, Australia, and the Mediterranean.
Similarities and Differences:
While wildfires share common characteristics, there are variations in their behavior and impacts. Factors such as climate, vegetation type, and human interventions influence the severity of wildfires. For instance, wildfires in Mediterranean ecosystems tend to have shorter durations but higher intensity compared to those in temperate forests.
Specific Problem: Environmental Effects
One specific problem caused by wildfires is the destruction of habitats and the subsequent loss of biodiversity. As fires consume vegetation, it disrupts the delicate balance of ecosystems and affects the survival of flora and fauna. Habitats provide shelter, food, and breeding grounds for numerous species, and their destruction can result in long-term ecological imbalances, contributing to declines in populations and even local extinctions.
Based on gathered information, a hypothesis can be formulated: “The increased frequency and intensity of wildfires will lead to a decline in biodiversity in affected ecosystems.”
To support the hypothesis, it is crucial to gather empirical evidence from credible sources. By considering the CRAAPO criteria, three relevant resources were utilized to establish a strong foundation for this informative article.
Results and Suggested Risk Reduction:
Summarizing the data collected from various sources, it becomes evident that the hypothesis is supported. Wildfires indeed lead to a decline in biodiversity. To reduce the risk and impact of this problem, individuals can:
1. Support controlled burns to reduce fuel loads and prevent large-scale uncontrolled wildfires.
2. Promote reforestation efforts to restore habitats and increase biodiversity.
3. Educate the public about fire-safe practices in fire-prone areas, emphasizing responsible fire use and prevention.
Based on the gathered data and analysis, it can be concluded that the increased frequency and intensity of wildfires contribute to significant environmental problems, including habitat destruction and loss of biodiversity. By employing the scientific method, we have gained a greater understanding of wildfires and the need for proactive measures to mitigate their impact on ecosystems and human communities.
Does the Conclusion Support the Hypothesis?
Yes, the conclusion supports the hypothesis. The evidence collected and analyzed confirms that increased wildfires lead to a decline in biodiversity, thereby supporting the initial hypothesis.
Overall, understanding wildfires through the lens of the scientific method enables us to address the associated problems and make informed decisions for the protection of our environment and communities.