Questions for ‘Ponds made to control floods can spew climate-warming gases, study finds’

an aerial view of a suburb shows ponds built between housing developments

This Florida community built ponds to collect water from storms, which should limit flooding. But a new study finds such ponds can have unintended impacts: They can spew the greenhouse gases that foster global warming — itself a driver of extreme storms and flooding.

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To accompany ‘Ponds made to control floods can spew climate-warming gases, study finds


Before Reading:

  1. Think about a particular small lake or pond at which you’ve passed some time. Briefly describe the water’s appearance. Give one example of a plant living in or near the water. Give an example of an animal or insect there. If you had to guess, do you think it’s a natural or man-made body of water? Do you think it’s more than 20 years old or younger? If you answered “older,” how might this lake or pond have changed as it aged? If you answered “younger,” how do you think it might change in the next 10 or more years?
  2. Imagine rainwater running off a city street into a ditch and from there into a lake. What other substances besides water might show up in this runoff? List five different substances. Now choose either an agricultural field or an animal farm and list five substances other than just water that might run off of them during a storm. What impact might these substances have on life in that lake?

During Reading:

  1. How do the ponds in this study help to limit urban flooding? How many of these stormwater ponds have been built in Florida?
  2. How did the composition of samples taken from the bottom of older ponds compare to those from newer ponds? How did releases of carbon-based chemicals compare in older ponds to those in newer ponds? 
  3. List five substances that often get carried into stormwater ponds besides just water. 
  4. What are two greenhouse gases that ponds can spew into the air? 
  5. Older ponds often have less of which gas that can slow the breakdown of tissues by microbes? 
  6. According to Trisha Moore, what type of ponds should researchers study in the future? 

After Reading:

  1. Imagine you are a researcher studying emissions of greenhouse gases by ponds. After focusing on the ponds from this study, think about where you might go next to study ponds. Give three locations. What different types of ponds might you study? Come up with one new thing you might hope to learn about greenhouse-gas emissions by studying the water at these locations.
  2. Use what you’ve learned from reading this story to draw a side view of two lakes — one old lake and one young lake. Draw three distinct differences between your two lakes. Use arrows to point out these differences and label them. Then, as a class, discuss how non-age-related factors might work to make some young lakes look older or some old lakes seem more youthful. (For example, you could think about the impact of temperature, rainfall — or whether that lake is in an urban area or a rural one.) Pick one non-age-related factor from this discussion and in one or two sentences explain its possible impact.