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Algebra Study Problem

ALGEBRA STUDY PROBLEM

Global Warming: If the global climate were to warm significantly as a result of the greenhouse effect or other climatic change, the Arctic ice cap would start to melt. This ice cap contains the equivalent of some 680,000 cubic miles of water More than 200 million people live on land that is less than 3 feet above sea level. In the United States several large cities have low average elevations. Three examples are Boston (14 feet), New Orleans (4 feet), and San Diego (13 feet). In this exercise you are to estimate the rise in sea level if the Arctic ice cap were to melt and to determine whether this event would have a significant impact on people living in coastal areas.

(a) The surface area of a sphere is given by the formula 4pi r^2, where r is its radius. Although the shape of Earth is not exactly spherical it has an average radius of 3960 miles Estimate the surface area of Earth

b) Oceans cover approximately 71% of the total surface area of Earth How many square miles of Earth s surface are covered by oceans"

c) Approximate the potential rise in sea level by dividing the total volume of the water from the

ice cap by the surface area of the oceans. Convert your answer from miles to feet.

d) Discuss the implications of your calculation. How would cities such as Boston New Orleans

and San Diego be affected

e) The Antarctic Ice cap contains some 6 300 000 cubic miles of water. Estimate how much the sea level would rise if this ice cap melted (Source: Department of the Interior Geological survey)

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