Biogeochemical Cycles HAnnah Mahoney

The Water Cycle

97 % of earth's water is stored in the oceans, making only 3% of earth's water drinkable. Sublimation is the process of a solid turning directly into a gas, skipping the liquid phase. Evaporation is the process of water turning into a gas, or water vapor. Evapotranspiration is the process of water being transferred from the land to the atmosphere by evaporation from the soil and transpiration from plants. Temperature, relative humidity, wind and air movement, soil-moisture availability, and the type of plant all affect the transpiration rate.

Freshwater Stored

Glaciers and Ice caps: 68.7%

Ground water: 30.1%

Surface water: 0.3%

Other: 0.1%

Humans affect the water cycle from pollutants when runoff occurs. Some of these pollutants are gas, oil, pet waste, fertilizers, pesticides, salt and treated human waste from sewage treatment plants.

The Carbon Cycle

Carbon is in the form of a gas in the atmosphere, it is mostly called carbon dioxide when referring to it. Carbon moves from the atmosphere to plants and animals through the food chain and moves to the ground when animals die and decompose. When you exhale is when carbon is moved from living things to the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas and it is helpful to the planet because it keeps the heat trapped in the atmosphere, without it Earth would be frozen over.

Effects of Global Warming

Sea level rising

Arctic sea ice melting

Glaciers and permafrost are melting

Sea surface temperature is rising

Heavier rainfall

Extreme drought

Ecosystems changing

Hurricanes have changed in frequency and strength

Most frequent heat waves

Warmer temperature affects human health

Seawater is becoming more acidic

The Nitrogen Cycle

Nitrogen is a component of the 3 building blocks of life, DNA, RNA, and proteins. Living organisms need reactive nitrogen to be able to incorporate it into cells, therefore the nitrogen in the atmosphere is unavailable for use by living organisms.

Nitrate: NO3-

Nitrite: NO2-

Ammonium: NH4

Nitrogen fixation: nitrogen is created into ammonium

Denitrification: nitrate reduction that may ultimately produce molecular nitrogen

Nitrification: transformation of ammonia to nitrite

Nitrogen Mineralization: process by which organic nitrogen is converted to plant-available inorganic forms

Nitrogen Uptake: ammonium produced by nitrogen-fixing bacteria is usually taken up by a host plant, the bacteria itself, or another soil organism.

Synthetic nitrogen fertilizer, the burning of fossil fuels, and population growth are all ways humans have impacted the nitrogen cycle.

The Phosphorus Cycle

Phosphorus is an important chemical for plants and animals, as it's part of DNA, certain fats in cell membranes, bones, teeth and the shells of animals. The phosphorus cycle differs from the other biogeochemical cycles because it does not include a gas phase. The largest reservoir of phosphorus is in sedimentary rock. Phosphorus is mainly stored in earth's crust. When it rains, phosphates removed form the rocks. Plants take the phosphate from the soil. Herbivores eat the plants, then carnivores or omnivores eat the herbivores. Excessive concentrations of phosphorus is considered a pollutant because it can suffocate marine life and block available sunlight to bottom feeders. The cutting of tropical rain forests, use of agricultural fertilizers and agricultural runoff are ways humans contribute to the excessive levels of phosphorus.

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