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The Earth's Spheres

Lithosphere, Atmosphere, Hydrosphere, Biosphere

Rachel Jasso

on 13 September 2012

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Transcript of The Earth's Spheres

Atmosphere, Lithosphere, Hydrosphere, and Biosphere The Earth's Spheres Important Ideas: The lithosphere is made up of the Earth's crust and solid upper mantle. It is broken up into tectonic plates. The movement of these plates shapes Earth's surface. New crust is made when plates spread apart. Crust folds into new mountain chains where continental plates collide. Earthquakes and volcanoes often occur at plate boundaries. Weathering and erosion tear down Earth's surface. Particles of rock and decayed plant and animal life form Earth's soil. Lithosphere (Quick Review) Important Ideas: The world's oceans cover 70% of our planet's surface area. Currents, caused by winds and differences in water density, move the ocean's waters around the planet. Water is also moved between the atmosphere, oceans, and land surfaces through the water cycle. Hydrosphere One of the most important processes of the Hydrosphere is the water cycle. Solar energy heats the surface of oceans, seas, and lakes. This causes some of the surface water to evaporate into the atmosphere. The water vapor rises until it becomes cooler. It then condenses into tiny droplets small enough to float in the atmosphere as clouds. When the droplets grow larger and heavier, they fall back to Earth's surface as precipitation - rain, snow, or hail. Some returns to the ocean, while some falls on land and is absorbed, or forms lakes, streams and rivers. The Water Cycle Earth's ocean waters are in constant motion. This can be seen in the movement of their tides and currents. Tides and Currents Around Earth is an envelope of gases known as what? Atmosphere How might geography affect weather? The Geography of Weather The Earth tilts on its axis as it revolves around the sun. This tilt gives us the seasons. Seasonal differences are greatest at the poles and least at the equator.
What does this mean? Earth's Seasons "Review" Climate Zones are most affected by latitude and elevation. Distribution of Climate Regions The Biosphere refers to all life on Earth. Weather patterns and climate influence what kinds of plants and animals can successfully live in a particular geographic location. Based on the interaction of climate, landforms, bodies of water, and soils, scientists have identified several different biomes, or distinct geographic regions with their own particular types of plant and animal life. Biosphere Everyday the level of the ocean rises and falls during high and low tide. Tides are caused by the gravitational pull of the moon on Earth's ocean waters. Ocean waters directly facing the moon bulge toward it, creating high tide. On the opposite side of Earth is another high tide, caused by the force of Earth's spin where the moon's pull is weakest. Sea levels become highest when the moon and sun are both lined up on the same side of Earth, and lowest when they are on opposite sides. Tides What are ocean currents? Currents Currents at the surface are mainly caused by the spinning of Earth and winds. At the Equator, the spinning of Earth and winds push surface water towards the west. Water heated by the sun moves away from the Equator, carrying heat energy toward the poles. The Gulf Stream carries warm water toward Great Britain, making the country warmer than it would be otherwise. This transfer of energy helps maintain a balance -- carrying warm water from the tropics to colder regions, and cold water from the polar regions toward the tropics Below the ocean's surface, waters actually separate into different layers based on their density. Cold, salty water is more dense than warm, less salty water. At the poles, cold, salty water sinks. It then slowly moves towards the equator, pushing warmer water away. During this process, this cold water gradually warms up as it absorbs heat from layers of water above it. This slow but steady circulation of the ocean's deep waters takes hundreds of years. Have you ever been swimming in an ocean or maybe the Gulf?
What do you notice as you swim further and further out into the water? Quick Review... What is weather? It refers to conditions in the atmosphere closest to Earth, humidity, winds, precipitation...short periods of time. What is climate? Average weather conditions of a place over long periods of time... Weather is affected by latitude (how far a place is north or south of the Equator),
elevation (height above sea level),
wind patterns,
ocean currents, and
mountain barriers. Which of these do you think affects our weather the most? Why? Temperatures are generally warmer closer to the Equator and cooler at the higher latitudes. At higher elevations temperatures are cooler, such as on mountains. Vertical climates are different climates at different altitudes in the same area. Winds are influenced by Earth's spin. Depending on te location of a place, the winds may bring moist air and rain, such as monsoons; or they may leave an area dry. Distance from major bodies of water also affects climate. Because air cools as it rises over a mountain barrier, the ocean side of a mountain often has heavy rainfall. The air loses moisture and is drier when it reaches the other side of the mountain. Tropical Hurricanes occur in tropical reagions in late summer/early fall when ocean water is very warm. The warm ocean water evaporates so quickly that it creates an area of low pressure. Air around a rising column begins to spiral at high speeds. The hot air rises until it cools and condenses -- releasing energy and causing heavy rains, strong winds, and dangerous lightning strikes. How is our area affected by the threat of Hurricanes?
How do we adapt to living with this threat? The area around the Equator is not affected by Earth's tilt, so areas near the Equator are always warm from the Sun's direct rays. The two poles are very different. In the summer, each pole has 24 hours of sunlight, while in winter the sun never rises in areas around the poles. High-Latitude Climates - The North and South poles have similar "polar climates" with very cold winter temperatures.
Mid-Latitude Climates - Places in the middle latitudes with low elevations generaly have warm summers and cool winters. These are also known as "moist mid-latitude climates," with either mild or cold winters, or as "temperate climates"
Low-Latitude Climates - Central Africa, Central America, Northern South America, South Asia and Southeast Asia have warm and humid climates. These are sometimes called "tropical moist climates." North Africa, the Middle East, Western Australia, and Asia have warm and dry climates. In these areas, the evaporation of water can be greater than precipitation. Which one do we fit into? Quick Review...
Temperate Deciduous Forest - develop in mid-latitude regions where there is ample rain and moderate temperatures with cool winters. There is a wide range of plant and animal life. What happens to these types of trees in fall and winter?

Tropical Rain Forests - develop in tropical areas near the equator where there is ample rainfall and warm temperatures year-round. Large trees cover the area with their leaves forming a canopy. Despite the rapid growth of trees, the topsoil is actually very thin. Tropical rainforests are marked by a great abundance of animal and plant life, displaying greater biological diversity than any other biome. Grasslands and Savanna or Steppes - areas that exist where the climate is drier and there is not enough rainfall to support large amounts of trees. Instead, grasses dominate these areas with large grazing animals, like cattle, antelope or bison. Savannas are grasslands with some trees.

Deserts - are regions that receive less than 10 inches of rainfall annually. Deserts in the tropical latitudes, such as the Sahara Desert, have their own special forms of plant and animal life, which have adapted to the lack of water and extremes of temperature. Cacti, for example, store water in their stems. Tundra - Tundra is found closer to the polar regions. The soil is sold cold that trees cannot grow. Much of the ground is frozen part of the year. Tundras constitute a distinct biome, with their own plant and animal life, including grasses, small shrubs, large mammals and birds that migrate to these regions in the warmer spring and summer months. Applying what you have learned:
Choose one of the biomes described in your notes. Use the Internet, library or other resources to find a specific place where that biome is found. Then write a brief description of the landforms and climate distinguishing that place, and the plants and animals found there.
In what way are climate regions and biomes related?
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