Why Soil Erosion is a Cause Of Thermal Pollution?


Last Updated on May 24, 2020 by arkadmin

Soil erosion is the displacement of the upper layer of soil, it is one form of soil degradation.

This natural process is caused by the dynamic activity of erosive agents, that is, water, ice (glaciers), snow, air (wind), plants, animals, and humans.

In accordance with these agents, erosion is sometimes divided into water erosion, glacial erosion, snow erosion, wind (aeolean) erosion, zoogenic erosion and anthropogenic erosion.

soil erosion

Soil Erosion and Thermal pollution

Thermal pollution, sometimes called “thermal enrichment,” is the degradation of water quality by any process that changes ambient water temperature.

A common cause of thermal pollution is the use of water as a coolant by power plants and industrial manufacturers.

Other causes of thermal pollution include soil erosion,this will elevate water and expose it to sunlight.

soil erosion leading to thermal pollution

When water used as a coolant is returned to the natural environment at a higher temperature, the sudden change in temperature decreases oxygen supply and affects ecosystem composition.

Fish and other organisms adapted to particular temperature range can be killed by an abrupt change in water temperature (either a rapid increase or decrease) known as “thermal shock.”

Consistent soil erosion causes water bodies to rise, making them more exposed to sunlight. The high temperature could prove fatal for aquatic biomes as it may give rise to anaerobic conditions.

As sunlight is constantly shining on the water surface, it could rise anaerobic conditions for the aquatic biomes as the comparatively high temperature from the sun flows from one water molecule to another.

This process is similar to deforestation, which is a condition in which the trees and plants are no longer protecting the rivers or lakes from surplus radiation.

The Effects of Thermal Pollution:

The effects of thermal pollution are diverse, but in short, thermal pollution damages water ecosystems and reduces animal populations. Plant species, algae, bacteria, and multi-celled animals all respond differently to significant temperature changes. Organisms that cannot adapt can die of various causes or can be forced out of the area. Reproductive problems can further reduce the diversity of life in the polluted area.

However, thermal pollution can be beneficial to some species. Bacteria and algae tend to benefit from the excess heat. Some larger animals also benefit from the warmer water. In Florida, manatees spend the winter near power plants, where the cooling water they use warms up the shallow salt water.  On balance, thermal pollution is a negative force for many reasons.

Decreased Dissolved Oxygen:

Warm water holds less oxygen than cool water. If the oxygen level drops animals that cannot move to another area may begin to die. In deeper bodies of water, the injection of warm water can keep oxygen from dispersing into deep water, which is potentially good for bacteria but dangerous for aquatic animals. The decreased oxygen can cause algae blooms that pose a threat to aquatic plants and animals. This algae bloom problem is probably the most common and best-known side effect of thermal pollution.


Fish and amphibians may move away from the warm water to a more-suitable location, disrupting the ecosystem for animals that remain. Birds may also be forced to leave in search of areas with more food. Plants and certain animals will be stuck in the area, which can lead to huge losses. Migration away from the polluted area contributes to a dramatic loss of biodiversity at sites where thermal pollution happens.

Increased Toxins:

Toxins in the water are more a side effect of dumping waste water than a direct effect of thermal pollution. Chemical pollution is an almost inevitable side effect of using water for cooling. Solvents, fuel oil, and dissolved heavy metals end up in the lake or river where the cooling water gets dumped. Nuclear power plants can also release slightly radioactive cooling water. The chemicals may have a range of toxic effects on plants and animals, from fatal poisoning to mutations and sterilization.

Loss of Biodiversity:

The sudden heating can kill off vulnerable organisms or drive them away. This is one of many serious issues for threatened and endangered animal species. This loss can come from organisms dying from the hot water, being unable to reproduce as effectively as before, or simply leaving the area. We usually think of animals as casualties of water pollution, but multi-celled aquatic plants are also at risk when thermal pollution changes the local aquatic ecosystem.

Ecological Impacts:

The local aquatic ecosystem can be damaged by thermal pollution, especially if it is dramatic, as in copious amounts of warm water being dumped into a chilly pond or bay or river. “Thermal shock” can kill off insects, fish, and amphibians. This sudden loss of life causes further issues with the ecosystem. Key food sources are no longer adequate. A threatened or endangered local population may be wiped out or put under even more pressure. Coral reef bleaching has also been observed when a power plant or factory is dumped into coastal water. Coral bleaching happens when the coral organisms die.

Reproductive Effects:

A significant temperature increase in the water can cause reproductive problems. Warmer water can reduce the fertility of some organisms. Other species may suffer birth defects or lay deformed eggs because of chemical changes in the body caused by warmer water. Defective eggs and birth defects hurt the overall reproductive fitness of the animal population and can reduce the population. Thermal pollution can change the biology of aquatic organisms in a variety of ways.

Increased Metabolic Rate:

Warmer water may be good for cold-blooded fish and amphibians, but only for a limited time. One of many real problems that warm water may cause is faster metabolism, which means animals need more food. The local ecosystem may not be able to support a significant increase in food consumption. Worse still, the warmer water gives an advantage to certain organisms while it puts stress on others. The more-adaptable organisms may unbalance the ecosystem simply by out-competing other organisms and by eating them or driving them to starvation.




Ephraim Iyodo 1 year 0 Answers 2214 views 0

Leave an answer

Brilliantly Safe & Student-Centered Learning Platform 2021