Biogeochemical Cycles Alexander arrowood

The Water Cycle

97% of the Earth's water is stored in the ocean's of the world. Sublimation is the process of solids turning into gasses. Evaporation is the process of water turning into gas. Evapotranspiration is the process by which water is transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil & transpiration from plants. An acre of corn transpires 4,000 gallons of water a day. A large oak tree transpires 40,000 gallons a year. There are 5 factors that affect transpiration rate: temperature, relative humidity, wind and air movement, soil-moisture availability, and type of plants. Our freshwater supply is found in 68.7% Glaciers, 30.1% Ground water, 0.3% Surface water, and 0.9% other. When it comes to surface water storage, the majority of it is held in the Great Lakes with over 5,500 cubic miles.

The Carbon Cycle

In the atmosphere carbon is found as a gas called carbon dioxide. Carbon moves from the atmosphere to plants, and then from plants to animals through food chains. Carbon moves from plants and animals to the ground when the animals die. Carbon moves from living things to the atmosphere through the process of exhalation. 5.5 billion tons of carbon is released each year from burning fossil fuels. The ocean then sucks up this carbon. Greenhouse gasses are important to the survival of life on Earth because they help trap heat in the atmosphere. Without it the Earth would be frozen. The planet is 0.6 degrees warmer today than it was 100 years ago.

Effects of Global Warming

Sea level Rising

Arctic sea ice is melting

Glaciers and permafrost are melting

Sea surface temp is rising

Heavier rainfall

Extreme drought

Ecosystems changing

Hurricanes have changed in frequency & strength

Most frequent heat waves

Warmer temperature affects human health

Seawater is becoming more acidic

The Nitrogen Cycle

Nitrogen is a component of 3 building blocks of life, DNA, RNA, and proteins. Molecules are inert, or unrelative, whereas organisms need reactive nitrogen to be able to incorporate it into cells. This makes nitrogen in the atmosphere unavailable for use by living organisms. Nitrogen fixation: Nitrogen is created into ammonium. Denitrification: Nitrate reduction that may ultimately produce molecular nitrogen. Nitrification: Transformation of ammonia to nitrite. Nitrogen Uptake: Ammonium produced by nitrogen-fixing bacteria is usually quickly taken up by a host plant, the bacteria itself, or another soil organism. 3 ways that humans have impacted the nitrogen cycle are; synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, fossil fuel burning, and population growth.

Phosphorous Cycle

Phosphorous is an important chemical for plants and animals. It is part of DNA, certain fats in cell membranes, bones, teeth and shell of animals. Phosphates are a critical part of life. The phosphorous cycle is different from other biogeochemical cycles because it does not include a gas phase. The largest reservoir of phosphorus is in sedimentary rock. When it rains, phosphates are removed from the rocks. Plants take the phosphate from the soil. Herbivores eat the plants. Carnivores & Omnivores eat the herbivores. This is how phosphorus travels through the cycle from rock to omnivores. Excessive concentrations of phosphorus suffocate marine life and block available sunlight to bottom feeders. This is why excessive concentrations are considered a pollutant. Humans contribute to these excessive levels of phosphorus by cutting tropical rain forests, agriculture fertilizers, and agricultural runoff. Phosphorus is mainly stored in the Earth's crust.


Created with images by James St. John - "Storr's Lake (eastern San Salvador Island, Bahamas) 3"

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