Drilling mud (DM) is a suspension of clay particles in water. When a well is drilled, DM is injected into the hole to lubricate the drill. After this use, the DM is brought back up to the surface and then disposed of by spraying it on adjacent land areas.
A cover of DM on plants and soil can affect the albedo (proportion of the total incoming solar radiation that is reflected from a surface), which in turn can affect the soil temperature. The effect of a cover of DM on the albedo and the soil temperature of an unsloped, semiarid grassland area was studied from July 1 to August 9 of a particular year.
On June 30, 3 plots (Plots 1−3), each 10 m by 40 m, were established in the grassland area. For all the plots, the types of vegetation present were the same, as was the den- sity of the vegetation cover. At the center of each plot, a soil temperature sensor was buried in the soil at a depth of 2.5 cm. An instrument that measures incoming and reflected solar radiation was suspended 60 cm above the center of each plot.
An amount of DM equivalent to 40 cubic meters per hectare (m3/ha) was then sprayed evenly on Plot 2. (One hectare equals 10,000 m2.) An amount equivalent to 80 m3/ha was sprayed evenly on Plot 3. No DM was sprayed on Plot 1.
For each plot, the albedo was calculated for each cloudless day during the study period using measurements of incoming and reflected solar radiation taken at noon on those days (see Figure 1).
For each plot, the sensor recorded the soil temperature every 5 sec over the study period. From these data, the average soil temperature of each plot was determined for each day (see Figure 2).
1. Albedo was measured at noon because that time of day is when solar radiation reaching the ground is:
F. 100% reflected.
G. 100% absorbed.
H. least intense.
J. most intense.
2. Why was the study designed so that the 3 plots had the same types of vegetation present and the same density of vegetation cover? These conditions ensured that any variations in albedo and soil temperature would most likely be attributable only to variations among the plots in the:
A. amount of DM sprayed.
B. type of soil present.
C. plot area.
D. plot slope.
3. Based on Figure 1, on August 3, what percent of incoming solar radiation was NOT reflected from Plot 2 ?
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