The physical world is facing lots of issues today due to various activities of human beings. These environmental issues are directly related to various laws of physics. Some of the laws indicate that fossil fuels are not 100% efficient, and there are various technologies that can enhance the overall performance of these fuels.
There has been lots of discussion regarding the relationship between environment and its social issues and physics and its application. Several environmentalists are trying to find out how sensor developments, management and storage of radioactive materials, energy conservation and energy saving developments are affecting the environment.
What all problems are we going to face in the future due to the use of non-renewable sources of energy, whether renewable forms of energy can make our life better or not, what are their physical constraints in the environment, are some other points extensively discussed worldwide. Hence, it’s very important for us to understand how physics is related to the environmental problems and deals with them.
Why is the study of Earth’s environment important?
The environment we live in is called the natural world. But with nuclear bombs, spacecraft, toxic chemicals and other human activities the natural world is no more ‘natural’ in any sense. Then why is the study of Earth’s environment so important?
Well, then let me tell you that we, the human beings, still live in the environment of planet Earth and these humans are foremost criteria. Whatever is happening to the planet has got the direct effect on us. Even if you are not bothered about animals, plants and other species of the environment, but for the existence of human beings the study of an environment is so important.
How does physics help us to study the environment?
There are various ways in which physics helps us to study the environment. But here we are going to discuss only the important ones.
- Remote Sensing Equipment: With remote sensing equipment measurements can be taken from a long distance, usually from satellites or aircraft in space. Photography from the space can even be counted as remote sensing. By bouncing the laser light off Earth’s atmosphere, a lot of data can easily be gathered. This helps us to find the depth if seabeds or height of lands or even speed and directions of rivers and streams.
- Remote Sensing Satellite: With the help of infrared satellites we can directly measure the heat produced by the Earth. We can also measure the size and thickness of the ice sheets on the Earth’s surface every year.
- Spectroscopy: This is an amazing device which helps us to know about the gases that are present in different layers of the atmosphere. We can also get to know the approximate age of a dead tree.
- Fluid Dynamics: This physics principle helps us to explain and predict what happens in the seas and atmosphere. Using this physics principle of pressure, density and temperature we can easily explain why the seas and rivers move the way they do. Weather can also be appropriately predicted by this principle.
These are only a few examples. Physics principles and their relation to the environment is a huge concept.