Running Head: Physical Science
Northern Virginia is well equipped in physical features that are used to describe its environment. The mountains and rivers in this area form an important part of the environment. The major features are the Blue Ridge Mountains that are a sight to reckon in this area (Olson, 1998). The mountains in this area also rise to about 1200 meters. Another sight is Lake Anna, which serves as a park. It is accessible to tourists and local families for fishing, picnicking and hiking. Northern Virginia is also known for the various species of flora and fauna found in this area. Many species of trees can be found here, for example the White Oak, Virginia Pine, American Beech and American Holly among others (Huffacker, 1999). Shrubs and vines, wildflowers and weeds can also be found in the mountainous regions. In the more swampy places, water plants, ferns and mosses can also be found. Different types of fungi and lichen are also found here.
On the other hand, different types of animal life are also found in this area. Diverse kinds of fish are located here for example, The American eel, Channel Catfish, Yellow Perch among others. Reptiles of different types also form the ecological system of this area. Snakes, for example the Black rat snake and the poisonous Copperhead can be found here. Turtles can also be seen here. In the waters, toads, frogs and salamanders are seen. Birds of different types and sizes are a specialty in this area. Examples include the American crow, American Goldfinch, Bald eagle and Downy woodpecker (Huffacker, 1999). Varieties of arachnids, crustaceans, annelids, mollusks and nematodes can be found here. Insects and microscopic organisms also characterize the environment in this area. The ecological systems of Northern Virginia can be distinguished from other areas due to the different species that have to live together and have a mutual relationship.
The population of Northern Carolina has a huge effect on the ecology and environment in this location. In this context, ecology is the study of the relationship of organisms in a particular environment. Human activities have largely affected the ecological systems and environment. First, industrial emissions have polluted the air and water thus affecting the life of the organisms that are in these areas (Freer, 1991). Industrial plants that emit carbon dioxide greatly affect the fight against global warming. The transport sector in Northern Virginia is a major cause of pollution to the environment. Vehicle emissions have risen due to an increase in population, which means an increase in the number of vehicles in the area. Emissions from vehicles pollute the air and even water in the areas surrounding. This threatens the life of the people and all animal life in the affected area. In a bid to control the emissions, authorities in Northern Virginia have ensured that vehicles are fitted with emissions control equipment (Paulson, 1974).
The gradual increase in human population has led to clearing of land, for construction of living quarters for the people. This has affected ecological systems in that some organisms have been displaced from their natural habitats. This has thus disrupted life of most creatures, whereby some have become extinct. Use of fossil fuels as sources of energy has also affected the ecological systems and environment. Industries, homes and vehicles depend on non-renewable sources of energy, which release dangerous gases into the environment. The alternative would be to use renewable sources of energy like solar and wind, which are environmentally friendly. This would have a positive effect on the environment as opposed to non-renewable sources. The world has become conscious of the effects of using fossil fuels as a source of energy. This has led to a campaign encouraging the use of renewable or natural sources of energy. The same case applies to Northern Virginia; authorities from the department of environment are trying hard to educate the public on the importance of changing their sources of energy.
Global warming has led to climate change, in particular, temperatures have risen significantly, the sea level is also on the rise globally and snow cover has decreased. Global warming could adversely affect the ecosystems of Northern Virginia in that, a change in climate may lead to increased amounts of rainfall therefore leading to floods. This would mean that the people and animals living in this area could be in danger. Plant life that is not well adapted for such climatic conditions could be endangered. The increase in temperatures may affect the animal and plant life in that in case of drought, food resources will be diminished hence they may starve to death. This would also mean that predators would increase their preying actions thus some species would be reduced significantly.
In general, extreme weather has negative effects on the ecosystems. In addition, it is a threat to the lives of all kinds of flora and fauna. Global warming may also lead to decreased food and water resources (United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, 1997). The different living creatures would have to fight for the dwindling resources. Those organisms that do not have the skills or strength to survive would eventually be eliminated from the ecosystem. Every organism is important in the environment, therefore this would be a negative impact on the ecosystem.
In comparison to other parts of the world, Northern Virginia may feel the effects of global warming in a more adverse way. This is because of its closeness to other parts of the United States, which are major polluters of the environment. This close proximity means that the effects of pollution are felt in a much tougher way than in other parts of the world. The health of the people of Northern Virginia could be in danger if nothing is done to curb global warming. This would also mean that more animals and plants would die in the event of extreme weather. This would eventually lead to an imbalance in the ecosystem, which is dangerous to some species.
Freer, R. S. (1991). Virginia Journal of Science, Volume 42. Sterling, VA: Virginia Academy of Science.
Huffaker, C. B. (1999). Ecological Entomology (2nd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.
Olson, T. (1998). Blue Ridge Folklife. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi.
Paulson, G. L. (1974). Environment U.S.A.: A Guide to Agencies, People, and Resources. New Providence, NJ: Bowker.
United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water. (1997). Protecting Natural Wetlands: A Guide to Stormwater; Best Management Practices. Washington, DC: Diane Publishing.