Earth's Systems

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Within this book the authors will address the following required North Carolina Standard Course of Study goals and objectives:

Competency Goal 1: The learner will conduct investigations to build an understanding of the interdependence of plants and animals Objectives

  • 1.01 Describe and compare several common ecosystems (communities of organisms and their interaction with the environment).
  • 1.02 Identify and analyze the functions of organisms within the population of the ecosystem:
    • Producers.
    • Consumers.
    • Decomposers.
  • 1.03 Explain why an ecosystem can support a variety of organisms.
  • 1.04 Discuss and determine the role of light, temperature, and soil composition in an ecosystem's capacity to support life.
  • 1.05 Determine the interaction of organisms within an ecosystem.
  • 1.06 Explain and evaluate some ways that humans affect ecosystems.
    • Habitat reduction due to development.
    • Pollutants.
    • Increased nutrients.
  • 1.07 Determine how materials are recycled in nature.

Competency Goal 2: The learner will make observations and conduct investigations to build an understanding of landforms Objectives

  • 2.01 Identify and analyze forces that cause change in landforms over time including.
    • Water and Ice.
    • Wind.
    • Gravity.
  • 2.02 Investigate and discuss the role of the water cycle and how movement of water over and through the landscape helps shape land forms.
  • 2.03 Discuss and consider the wearing away and movement of rock and soil in erosion and its importance in forming:
    • Canyons.
    • Valleys.
    • Meanders.
    • Tributaries.
  • 2.04 Describe the deposition of eroded material and its importance in establishing landforms including:
    • Deltas.
    • Flood Plains.
  • 2.05 Discuss how the flow of water and the slope of the land affect erosion.
  • 2.06 Identify and use models, maps, and aerial photographs as ways of representing landforms.
  • 2.07 Discuss and analyze how humans influence erosion and deposition in local communities, including school grounds, as a result of:
    • Clearing land.
    • Planting vegetation.
    • Building dams.

Anthroposphere[edit]

The anthroposphere is one of the many "spheres" of the planet Earth. The Anthroposphere is the people on our Earth. The Earth is home for many humans. (Over 6 billion.)

The population on Earth increases at a dangerous rate. Imagine the construction workers and the architects all over the world who have to make and sell houses to most of them! That would be very stressful, don't you think? Well, soon we will out grow our Earth, and the world will be too small! Scientists are trying to make an alternative planet for us to live on when we outgrow our big, blue, mid-sized planet.

Atmosphere[edit]

The Earth from approximately 100,000 ft (30,000 m) above Oregon, United States.

An atmosphere (from Ancient Greek ἀτμός (atmos), meaning 'vapour', and σφαῖρα (sphaira), meaning 'ball' or 'sphere) is a layer or a set of layers of gases surrounding a planet or other material body, that is held in place by the gravity of that body. An atmosphere is more likely to be retained if the gravity it is subject to is high and the temperature of the atmosphere is low.The atmosphere of Earth is composed of nitrogen( 78%), oxygen (21%), argon (about 0.9%), carbon dioxide (0.04%) and other gases in trace amounts.Oxygen is used by most organisms for respiration; nitrogen is fixed by bacteria and lightning to produce ammonia used in the construction of nucleotides and amino acids; and carbon dioxide is used by plants, algae and cyanobacteria for photosynthesis. The atmosphere helps to protect living organisms from genetic damage by solar ultraviolet radiation, solar wind and cosmic rays. The current composition of the Earth's atmosphere is the product of billions of years of biochemical modification of the paleoatmosphere by living organisms.

Biosphere[edit]

The biosphere ( also known as the ecosphere ), is the worldwide sum of all ecosystems. It can also be termed the zone of life on Earth, a closed system (apart from solar and cosmic radiation and heat from the interior of the Earth), and largely self-regulating. This layer ranges from heights of up to ten kilometres above sea level, used by some birds in flight, to depths of the ocean such as the Puerto Rico trench, at more than 8 kilometres deep.These are the extremes; however, in general the layer of the Earth containing life is thin: the upper atmosphere has little oxygen and very low temperatures, while ocean depths greater than 1000 m are dark and cold. In fact, it has been said that the biosphere is like the peel in relation to the size of an apple.

Cryosphere[edit]

The cryosphere is a very important part in the world. The cryosphere is all of the ice on planet Earth. The hydrosphere has a huge impact on the cryosphere, because without water, you can't have ice! Ice plays a huge role on our environment's health. The ice is home for many animals such as the penguin, the seal, the walrus, yes... and even the polar bear. The cryosphere has such a huge impact on our environment.

Hydrosphere[edit]

Why is planet Earth nicknamed “The Blue Planet”? Well, that all has to do with the hydrosphere.

The hydrosphere is all the water on planet Earth. Not in the water bottles, but all the water in lakes, rivers, oceans, and all other water sources in the ground. The hydrosphere takes up 71% of Earth. The other 26% is land, or as we call them, continents. Then there is only 3% of fresh water on earth.

Earth cutaway from center to surface, the lithosphere comprising the crust and lithospheric mantle (detail not to scale)

The water on Earth stays in its liquid state because of sun. We are close to the sun, so we have a good climate for water. Most of our water is not frozen, except near the North and South Poles.

On other planets where scientist “claimed” there is water on, is frozen. We are 3rd in line of the sun, so other planets are much colder than us, which makes Earth a perfect place to live at (temperature/climate-wise.)

Lithosphere[edit]

The outer part of the solid earth composed of rock essentially like that exposed at the surface, consisting of the crust and outermost layer of the mantle, and usually considered to be about 60 miles (100 kilometers) in thickness.Although the rocks of the lithosphere are still considered elastic, they are not viscous.